IF MY DOG HAD A JOB

In honor of National Take Your Dog to Work Day, I took some precious work hours to imagine what life would be like if my dog had a job. How does she stay focused? What would she do? Would it be strictly for money, or would she actually enjoy her field? Does she have bills she has to pay? Is that why she has a job? How does she type? Does she even have a computer? Is it less of a tech-y role and more relationship building? How is she working remotely? Who taught her to use a computer and the webcam? Is she a contributor, or does she stare at her beautiful self on camera all day? How has she not been fired? What are her goals and how is she focused enough to meet that? How does she communicate with her co-workers? Do they speak dog?

I could keep going, but for the sake of time, and post length, let’s start with those and see what fun path we end up on. For starters, my dog’s attention span is negative. Unless you have food or have a squeaky toy. In both cases, she is laser focused. This poses several problems in a work environment. One being that no one could keep snacks at their desk because co-worker Dog would be at their side all day and, thus, not contributing her fair share of the work. Another one being that most people would get annoyed at the constant sound of a high pitch squeak from a questionably clean ball. The other major issue is that what happens when neither of these attention grabbers are present? She’s a loose cannon. Nobody knows. Could be sleeping on the carpet. Climbing on a desk. Begging to be pet. Sniffing a chair for the thousandth time. So many potential options.

Given the lack of productivity, what would she do? I’m thinking brand ambassador for something like pet food, pet supplies, or Windex (because there is no spatial awareness between her wet nose and the glass, let’s be honest). Clearly she isn’t in it for the money – she’s a dog. What would she do with money. Probably try and put it in her mouth which is a separate issue. Besides, being a brand ambassador comes with perks. Depending on the industry she could get free food, free squeaky toys, or free attention. Her three favorite things.

This is clearly the right title for more reasons than her attention span and ridiculous cuteness. If given a computer, she would just try to sniff it, lick it, or bite it. Again, we’re talking about a dog without opposable thumbs. Or the capacity to perform computer type tasks. I love my dog (MORE THAN I LOVE PEOPLE) and she is fairly intelligent, but imagine asking your pet to turn on a computer and open the Internet. Pets work on routine. Computer tasks are not routine. If they were, a robot would do them for us. So relationship building it is! Can’t think of a more perfect role for an outgoing pup. Meet new people … constantly. Get them to like you, and we’ll give you a treat. 

With the current situation in the world, you’re probably wondering the same thing as me. Which, of course, is how brand ambassadors are working remotely. Video calls / appearances? Probably works well for humans. But remember how we’ve been over the less than ideal scenario that is your pet using a computer, or a phone, or a tablet, or a smart watch, etc. In an alternate reality, let’s pretend that a human friend (the owner, perhaps) has set up the video call for the dog. What a nice thing to do, you may be thinking. I know my dog, though, and if she saw herself on camera it would be game over. She spends a ridiculous amount of time staring at herself in the mirror so add a bunch of unrecognizable noises coming from the reflection and her head would be in a constant curious tilt. Probably wondering how she could be so beautiful that the reflection wants to talk to her. 

Which, then would beg the question how she has not been fired? There’s only so many times you want to see a dog’s nose right up close and personal in the camera before you realize she isn’t listening to a word you’re saying. She’s in her own world. Has met zero goals. Has no strategy for changing her behaviors and getting back on track. Just a pup entranced by the sight of herself.

Out of this entire scenario, the part I find the most mind-boggling is how she would communicate with her co-workers. Do these humans have a gift I do not of reading the minds of a dog and interpreting their barks? Are they able to respond? Because as far as I know the only words she answers to currently are her name, food, walk, and outside. Seems like a limited choice for making coherent, work related, sentences. Imagine if you were trying to get through her thick skull and accidentally said a trigger word – all progress would be lost. She would be spinning in circles running back and forth to either her food bowl or her leash. And, just like that, all focus is once again lost and someone (probably the owner) would be taking a brief exercise lap around the block for the third time that morning.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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DEAR CUSTOMER SUPPORT: YES, I’VE TRIED RESTARTING IT

This is for everyone, everywhere, who has ever had to get on the phone with a customer support agent. For all the time wasted listening to one jazz song on repeat over and over and over again endlessly. For all the poor souls trying to navigate through the dizzying maze of menus with only their voice. For all the phone batteries trying to keep up with the unusual increase of constant background activity. For all the family members who will get to relive the experience whenever their loved one is set free, or hung up on. For all the unresolved issues that will endlessly sit in the AI cloud because either the speaker was not able to successfully get to a representative, or they accidentally got yeeted out of the system by the robot for too many unsuccessful attempts to speak with a human – or because they gave up. For all the doodles that are created while waiting in the queue of troubled customers. And for all the food and alcohol that is stress consumed from being “on hold”.

You are not alone. I’m here for you. Having to contact customer support is one of the worst things that can get added to your to-do list. Besides, obviously, cleaning out the gutters, vacuuming the baseboards, and killing the spider that has decided to take up residence in the bathroom. Because you never have to get in touch if everything is just peachy. It’s usually due to a problem, or a frustration, right? Which puts you in an ideal mindset to have an adult conversation where good problem solving can occur and your active listening skills are professional level. 

When you’re frustrated, what’s something that won’t make you feel better? Giving commands to an AI machine. And not just giving commands – it’s more like one of two things: being given a multiple choice question where none of the answers are correct or talking to a brick wall. The menu is a million options long and none of them involve my most basic request to see what the current exchange rate of the Yen is?! Who is in charge of this? Or when you’ve made the educational guess that you belong in zero of the available categories and would like to speak to an actual human being so you can be more detailed about your issue (a.k.a really voice ALL of your complaints at once to someone who has to listen). Why is that harder than figuring out what in the world a jackfruit is? Where did it come from? How do you cut into it? What does one eat it with / how do you prepare it? Why is the outside so bumpy? Is that its protection from predators? What sorts of animals are endangering this fruit? Why does it look like it’s having a melon identity crisis? Is it more cantaloupe or honeydew? How do they get so big? Who first saw it and thought, you know what, that looks delicious and I want to eat it? These are all the questions I’m currently waiting on hold for to ask The Jackfruit Company. This one fruit is an endless sense of distress in my food life.

Anyways … when you finally get to speak to a representative, they usually ask you all the same things the robot just tortured you with. Account verification, what the issue can be generalized as, what the issue can be sub-generalized as, what the issue can be sub-sub-generalized as, if you’re a current customer, what your favorite color is, where you got those amazing new pants that show off all the work you’ve been putting in during leg days, when was the last time you ate a fruit, or a vegetable, did you try restarting it, etc. So … what was the point of going through the automated process if you have absolutely zero of the information that I’ve already provided? Do I have to now start my whole process over? Re-explain exactly why I’m calling? Try to ask for help without a hint of sarcasm, or hangriness, or giving away how annoyed I am?

Being a customer is challenging. Probably not as challenging as the customer service representative job, though. You get to experience every personality type … and mood. Whether you want to or not! My patience levels do not make me a good candidate for those types of positions. Didn’t stop me from trying for a few years, but I can’t honestly say that I miss it. Which is why I always try to remind myself that it isn’t their fault that I had to call in. They didn’t make, or break, the product that I’m currently unhappy with. They simply got stuck having to take my call. Meanwhile, I’ve upgraded my job status to one of those employees who is directly responsible for breakage and upset customers. Wow that is prime irony. Is that like the circle of jobs? Regardless, to all customer service representatives: I sincerely appreciate you, you are the real rockstars, and I apologize for all the work I will inevitably cause you and / or have caused you.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this and want to share it with them, that would seriously mean a lot to me. I’m so grateful to all the current readers and subscribers. If you want to get these in your inbox twice weekly don’t forget to subscribe. Thanks for reading!


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WEATHERMAN JOB PERFORMANCE STANDARDS v. EVERY OTHER FIELD

Weather might be the most unpredictable thing in our lives. Well, aside from that person you really like who is sending mixed signals with their choice to say hi instead of hey! – how am I supposed to take that?! You’re only mildly satisfied to talk to me?! You didn’t think I deserved a full on exclamation point?! I mean, you get all cute and flirty, then don’t respond for 8 hours….you may be at work, but we both know you’re checking your phone. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions that’s frankly exhausting.

Full disclosure, in the middle of that tangent I forgot where I was going and was about to write a post about dating, but let’s climb that mountain another day because we have more important things to talk about – specifically, how in the world weathermen (or weatherpeople to be politically correct) don’t get fired constantly. Now, I am a young professional, wait, no that feels too mature for the way I’m approaching the work life…I have a job (that feels 100% appropriate). And in said job, there are certain performance criteria that I have to meet (over and over again, apparently, which is a separate rollercoaster of emotional pain). And if I fail to meet said criteria I will no longer have a job. Instead, I will have a lot of free time Monday through Friday between the hours of 9AM-5PM. As much as I like to believe that I’m “special” and “unique” and “going places”, and all the other things that older generations think us millennials wake up and repeat to ourselves in the mirror daily, it turns out that EVERY job has performance standards. Not only that, but in ALMOST every job, those directly correlate to whether or not you keep said job (more so said income, am I right?). Funny thing about that though, is that apparently this isn’t true for all jobs – two come immediately to mind, one of which we are about to dive into so grab your umbrella and buckle up those rain boots because it looks like full sunshine today!

Meteorologists, more commonly known as the weatherman, seem to have no clear performance standards. They give us a wildly inaccurate forecast day, after day, after day, after day, etc. and somehow end up on billboards all across the country. One of the news channels where I grew up used to brag about having the most accurate weather around – at 90%. What about the other 10% you ask? Well you’re just S.O.L. for that part of the week because no one has a freaking clue. Although to their credit, they are incredibly clever. Have you ever looked up the weather and seen a 0% chance of rain? No, you haven’t because it’s always at least 10%…just in case the sun gets sad and starts to cry. Or, have you noticed that news channels always include a weather report after a Breaking News segment? Yep, it’s because 30 minutes ago they weren’t sure if it would be raining right at this moment, but now they are 100% sure it’s not raining outside currently. So better update the public and make the meteorologist seem like they’re earning their keep.

For all this hate, though, I honestly have a ton of respect for meteorologists. Have you ever gone to a science museum, or a kids museum more accurately, and played in the exhibit where you have to read the weather map while simultaneously trying to navigate a greenscreen live on camera?! Let me just tell you, it’s not easy – so they clearly have true talent…as actors. That exhibit, however, did teach me a lot about how they read the weather. They read it off a BLANK SCREEN. No wonder it’s never right. That’s like a doctor reading a patient their diagnosis from a BLANK PAGE. Or an Uber driver navigating with a BLANK APP. Or a restaurant giving you a BLANK MENU. In my experience, some sort of guidance helps…anything really.

We’ve established that weather accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. The hourly forecast for a day is questionable at best. And yet, several popular weather sites offer services where you can pay (ACTUAL MONEY!) for a 96-hour forecast. Listen, you come talk to me when the 48-hour forecast is a sure thing. Who’s paying for that is what I want to know? Not me, because I’m smart and I have a big person job and I have big person bills so I can’t be bothered with those frivolous lifestyle additions.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If someone you know is a meteorologist please thank them for having the self-confidence to fail continuously, but look great doing it. Thanks for reading!


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