Rant on Comcast/Xfinity Wednesday, May 24 2017 

I’m cool as a cucumber, calm as a gentle stream. I don’t get road rage—I’m the most patient driver on the road. I rarely get rattled caring for my husband with Alzheimer’s or rambunctious grandchildren. I really am typically easy-going.

Until I had to deal with Comcast/Xfinity.

Working with them after my recent move turned me into an angry person I didn’t recognize. One day, I even lost my temper and was nasty with reps. My blood pressure rises just thinking about them.

There were problems with the cable. A second TV didn’t work, and I was repeatedly told there was something wrong with my equipment. All of it magically failed overnight while moving. Actually, after a visit, the technician said the error was on their end.

Most frustrating were all the phone issues.

  • Comcast said I’d have the same phone number I’ve had for 30 plus years. It was originally issued by Illinois Bell, so that tells you how long I’ve had it. After several HOURS on the phone with Comcast, and a week later, I was told the temporary number they issued me will be my permanent one. It happens, they say. Even moving only 2-3 miles from my last home. Had I been told of the possibility from the beginning, I wouldn’t have wasted so many hours dealing with reps who repeatedly told me it would be another 24-48 hours. I would have waited to print “Just Moved” postcards to include my new phone number.
  • It took ten days and multiple calls to get a rep to update my online info so that I could see my account online.
  • I had no voice mail for 16 days. The prompt said my number was unavailable.
  • Caller ID continues to identify me by someone else’s name. Yesterday Comcast said they aren’t responsible for that. It is the slow processing of the providers of those I call, such as AT&T.

No doubt, all this rambling and ranting sounds familiar to many of you as you’ve had the same experience with carriers. They aren’t life-threatening problems but still, intensely irritating, particularly because of the waste of time. I lost countless hours that cost me work and pay.

And it’s been unnecessarily stressful. All reps were pleasant as they read their scripts but few could reason beyond their prescribed steps. It took multiple contacts before anything was resolved.

I guess it is the sign of the times. I moved 8 times with my previous number with AT&T and it was as simple as lifting up the phone in my new home to find it all working. But today we deal with too much technology, too little employee training, and the fact that these providers are so much in demand they needn’t care how the consumer feels.

I apologize for the rant. As you know, I strive to write positive posts, so perhaps I can assist you with your next move by warning you. Perhaps if I’d known all of this was likely, I would have taken it more in stride.

Direct Sales: Your Business Your Way Monday, Apr 3 2017 

My husband, Marshall, used to say that sales is the one business that has no limits. You control your amount of income and the number of hours you want to put into your career.

When my children were young, I sold Avon and Tupperware. These companies allowed me to make some good money with the flexibility needed while caring for three little ones.

Today we have many home-based direct sales businesses to choose from. Along with some personal contact, such as home parties, most lean more toward the utilization of social media than door-to-door sales as Avon once did. But they all offer an opportunity to own a business, be your own boss, and make it as successful as you want it to be.

Every company has their own twist in this very competitive market. For example, Beautycounter offers safer cosmetics and personal care products. Pampered Chef is known for quality kitchen items. And my favorite, Young Living, carries a wide-range of pure essential oils. I promote Young Living while also pursuing my writing career, public speaking, and working as a trade rep for my publisher.  (If you decide to purchase or join Young Living, please use my full name as a reference – Mary Doyle Brodien)

Other home-based direct sales companies include Scentsy, Jamberry, Younique, tastefullysimple, 31 Bags, Norwex, Shaklee, Damsel in Defense, Stella & Dot, Rodan & Fields, Origami Owl, Lilla Rose, and Mary Kay.

Self-employment comes with as many challenges as there are rewards. If you’re interested in following the direct-sales path, here are some points to consider:

  • Will you be selling a product you personally use and value?
  • Is there a start-up fee or requirement?
  • Must you meet a certain quota?
  • Do you have friends, family members, and neighbors who you believe will be interested in what you sell?
  • Are you comfortable reaching out and talking up the products you sell?
  • Are you disciplined enough to market, sell, collect, and maintain records for tax purposes?
  • Do you want to work this business as your part-time or full-time employment?
  • If this is your sole income, can you support yourself when sales are low or non-existent?
  • Can you afford your own medical insurance?
  • Are the hours you hope to work this job doable with your current family/employment situation?

(To see my posts on topics relating to my book, go to Mary K Doyle Books.)

Essential Employee Thursday, Sep 17 2015 

Harriet Gerber Lewis, former president of a multi-million dollar company, said she followed her father’s example of knowing every employee by name. Everyone had an integral role in the success of the company, or they wouldn’t be there. She cared about each one like family.

Harriet is now deceased, but this is one of the many things I learned from this incredible woman when interviewing her for my first book, Mentoring Heroes. She took her company to impressive levels all while valuing her employees and giving generously to numerous social organizations.

My boss, Publisher Greg Pierce of ACTA Publications, is the same. He accommodates his employees’ special circumstances, which I’m sure adds stress to his life as he relieves ours. I’ve always taken pride in any work I do, but Greg’s faith in me makes me even more accountable. I never want to let him down.

There are several things we look for in a job. We want to make the most money possible or have flexibility of hours or variety of responsibilities. Mostly we seek work that we enjoy and an employer who values us. And hopefully, what we do is honest and beneficial to the world at large.

Whether you serve customers in a fast food restaurant, care for children or the elderly, or see clients in a high-rise office building, you play an important role in a company’s success. You also may be a source of joy and friendship to coworkers and the people you serve.

Take pride in what you do, and don’t hesitate to tell workers you encounter throughout the day that they matter to you, that you appreciate them. I often thank the housekeeping crew in public washrooms for keeping it so clean. They make my day better, and I am happy to let them know that.

©2015, Mary K. Doyle

Education for Life Thursday, Sep 12 2013 

The economy appears to be improving a bit, but unemployment and underemployment continues. Figuring out how to support ourselves and families is a constant challenge.

With the new school year underway, I believe there are some classes that should be mandatory in high school. Rather than simply learning information, we have to know how it can be applied to lucrative employment and life skills. Following are some classes that I’d like to be required curriculum.

  • Basic Finances. Credit card debt is easy to acquire and difficult to eliminate. It’s shocking how many people don’t understand the simple fact that you have to pay for what you charge, and the overwhelming stress of debt, until they are drowning in it. Everyone should take at least one class on budgeting, banking, credit, and investments.
  • Work Ethics. The business setting has changed drastically in recent generations. Understanding professionalism with coworkers and management is key to company and career advancement.
  • Professional Attire. Most new grads have little knowledge of acceptable work attire, and how could they? A class on appropriate dress for various professions would be valuable.
  • Educational Application. High school coursework, and for those who go on to college, the tens of thousands of dollars in tuition, is of little value if graduates do not know how to translate that investment into lucrative and rewarding employment.
  • Self-employment. Due to financial and employment challenges, most everyone will run their own part or full-time business at some point. Knowing how to market a business, run it, and manage bookkeeping is vital to its success.
  • Social Media. Social media is an important form of communication that has numerous benefits. It also has critical consequences. A class on social media etiquette, benefits, and ramifications is essential.
  • Compassion. We are not in this world alone. Treating co-workers and clients respectfully may not have a financial return but will benefit us in the long-run.
  • Environmental Consequences of Work. Learning ways to commute to work and complete our employment responsibilities with the least impact on the environment is vital to all of our futures.

©2013, Mary K. Doyle

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