My home on the web - featuring my real-life persona!

Stop the cross selling/up selling

I am honestly so fed up with this. Everywhere I go, people are trying to cross-sell me stuff I don’t want or up-sell some more expensive stuff. My last visit to the mall…

I went to Finish Line to buy a pair of sneakers and the sales kid is relentlessly trying to up sell and cross sell me. I had checked online and they were supposed to have the sneakers in a certain color in my size for $30. So I only see the different color for $60 and he said that’s all they had. I said the web site differs. He said, that means I can order them. I say it says they have the in stock. He says “Oh”, disappears and comes back with the shoes.
He immediately starts a spiel about some cushy insoles because the ones that come with the sneakers are so thin (and it’s a Saucony, so by no means a cheap shoe). I tell him I don’t want them. I try on another pair, and now he even pulls out the insole from the sneaker to show how bad they are. I tell him I still don’t want the other insoles. Then I decide on the cheaper pair and now he says they are running a sales on socks and if I need socks. I am looking at him telling him I came to buy sneakers and that’s it!

Next I went to Eddie Bauer because I had a $10 coupon. All I need is a nice white t-shirt in tall for the hubby. I am looking at the plain t-shirts and the sales lady says that they have a 25% off sale on the active performance shirts - which are still about twice as much. I say no thanks. Than she points out that they have a “buy 2, save $5″ sale. No, I just need one, I am just trying to use the coupon before it expires. She says “Well, you are buying one - you are already half there” - what kind of screwed up logic is that to get me to buy?
Next I am at the check out, and she points to the tote bag with an integrated picknick compartment and it is also 25% off and I say no thanks. Then she starts with me again on buying another t-shirt and I am about to lose it! If my coupon wasn’t expiring that day I would have just told her where she can put the shirt and that I am not buying anything at all.

I understand that times are tough and that we all have to work a little bit harder to earn our money, but I think this has gone way too far! I am starting to dread going to the store and it gets exhausting to try and hide from the sales people. I am used to this from car sale men and the furniture store, please let me shop in peace!

Survivor’s remorse - lay-off aftermath

So, yet another round of lay-offs has passed. Last week, I lost several of my nice benefits - tuition reimbursement being the one that would hurt the most and we got a pay cut. This was actually the aftermath of the “restructuring” earlier this year. Back then, they said that they may have to “do more” if business or the economy doesn’t pick up. Well, we all know, economy is still in bad shape, so yesterday we went through round 2.

I was in early because I wanted to leave early and my boss basically greeted me with the news. Believe me, this is not a good way to start you day. So, for the next few hours, you just keep your head down. You don’t move, you don’t look up. You work as hard as possible so everyone sees how busy you are - not that it matters because the decisions have been made already, but it is just my instinct. If the phone rings, your heart stops for a moment - until I saw on the caller ID that it was my husband. I told him not to call for the rest of the day or I’d need digitalis for my heart.

Either way, I survived, and today is just another day. Unfortunately, my chipper self is really down today, and when I told my husband (who is by the way allowed to call me again), he said that it sounds like “survivor’s remorse”. I looked it up and yeah, that’s pretty much it. Why were those people let go - some of them were here for 20+ years? And even more curious - why am I still here? If they were no good - why weren’t they canned before? Does performance even matter? What is the criterion?

But there is something else that bugs me today. Wherever I go, people are basically whispering and bad-mouthing the company. Hey, I still work here - AND SO DO YOU! I for one am happy to have a job right now. It is not like there is a job market out there with. Show my a similar company out there that is doing much better right now. And if you find a better company - well, maybe you should apply for a job. It’s not like I feel everything is hunky dory but right now I don’t feel like hearing all the trash-talk. I feel like curling up on the recliner with a bag of chocolate - or a bottle of something, I haven’t made up my mind.

Anyway, I guess I am still in-house…

Links:
X-Rite’s Kentwood headquarters feels brunt of about 30 job cuts
Photography Companies Provide Snapshot Of A Lousy Year
Survivor’s Remorse

What to do when you got nothing to do?

OK everyone, I need your help. I am not very busy right now and I would love to do something worthwhile to keep myself occupied. I am expecting some things coming in next week, but I am going crazy right now. The occasional hundred words that come in a couple of times a day don’t keep me busy.

So far I have cleaned up files on our documentation network drive, zipped and archived old projects, done my homework, read an extra chapter in my ASP.NET book, and hassled my boss to give me stuff.

Can anyone recommend anything for me to do? It can’t involve noise, getting off my a$$ or anything that would suspiciously like “non-work” to a person passing by. I keep hearing people talk about maintenance on their TMs but I don’t know what to maintain there. Any suggestions welcome!

This may sound like the sweet life: doing nothing all the while getting paid - let me tell you, not so much. I am ready to shoot myself if I can’t find anything worthwhile soon. I know it will come pouring any time soon, some new software coming up and a translation into Russian that will give me plenty of in-house post-processing, but for now - nada, njet, nothing, überhaupt garnix!!!

Feeling the economy

Today is one of those days, where it is uncomfortable to be an in-house translator.

From friends I have heard, that they have been approached by clients who asked them to lower (or not raise) prices because of the bad economy. I am pretty sure a lot of people just do that to increase revenue, but it is a simple fact that US companies are struggling - a lot. Here in Michigan, there are a lot of companies in the news. Of course there is the automotive industry - we all know how they are doing, but there are also a lot of small and midsized companies who are struggling. I am not a business major, and generally business/finance bores me - unfortunately, this time it affects me.

My company has announced lay-offs today - no secret, the press release is on our web site. It was actually there before they even told us about it. They had an immediate meeting at 8.30am - tough noogies for me since I usually start at 9am because I am not a morning person. Anyway, I am part of Engineering and we had a department meeting afterward, where we were told that Engineering/R&D is not affected. While it was nice to hear that, it is still unsettling. It don’t like the feeling of not being on control of my fate. There are so many more things hanging on this than just my income. We would lose health insurance - right now, my company covers the both of us. My 401k would stop - and since I only started to work here 10 years ago, I don’t have a lot of retirement savings to show for. I would have to pay back the tuition reimbursement for the last 12 months which would probably eat up any possible severance package so there goes that.

I like X-Rite. Working here is so tightly connected to living in the US, since I came here in February 1999, and started to work in June the same year. I didn’t get here on a work visa - they actually searched for a German translator right after I arrived. Big coincidence! I basically had the job before I even had a work permit but having a job offer helped to speed up the process at the INS a lot. For me, living in the US means working at X-Rite.

I also think we have great products. I work with them when I translate the software or hardware and it really confuses me why we are not doing better. I don’t know if it is our products or business and financial decisions, and I would love to know. But then, hopefully there are smarter (or better, more business-savvy) people solving this issue.

I know that a lot of freelancers deal with that uncertainty every day even if they have a little cushion to rest on - but to be honest, that is one of the reasons why I prefer employment. I am just a little chicken.

Now, the news are on to us, starting with the the local NBC station WoodTV and our local paper the Grand Rapids Press - actually, my “Google Alert” for X-Rite was longer than I have ever seen it before. I remember, after the last lay-offs in April, I left the building only to see the news crew outside. Let’s see if that happens again - in about an hour. I am almost sick to my stomach.

Oh well, before I start to sound like a teenager who got dumped, I better sign off. Thanks for listening!