Sunday, August 26, 2012

I won't bail on you

I had the pleasure of picking up a last minute class this weekend.  Not last minute because someone or an organization forgot they needed certification until they were all expired.  No, this was last-minute because the instructor they scheduled the class with called and canceled on them just days before the class was supposed to be held.

It kinda got me thinking.... who schedules a class with a group and then cancels on them because they don't have anyone to teach the class?

Since I started my business I have only canceled a class twice, both times were due to snowstorms.  I rescheduled as quickly as possible.  The only other reason I would cancel would be if I were so ill I couldn't do the course.  But I would never schedule a course on a day or time that I couldn't be there to teach the class.

But I suppose in larger organizations this may be more common.  But as I thought of that I thought of one of the larger training organization I've become affiliated with, and they confirm they have an instructor before they book the class.  Another doesn't confirm that in advance, but they cover every course they book - even it if means travel for an out-of-the-area instructor.

Then at the class I found out that this was the 3rd time this instructor (or organization) had canceled on them. I respect that the person scheduling the class for her staff was trying to work with someone who had been providing their courses for years, but felt badly that she had to scramble to reschedule more than once.

So all I can think of is that the instructor that was supposed to provide the course just doesn't take the courses they provide, or the scheduling of those classes, very seriously.  I mean, why would you schedule a course that you knew you couldn't provide?  Or perhaps they either don't care about what they do or the people they are providing courses for.  I suppose there is a whole host of different reasons I could come up with for why someone would cancel on the same organization 3 times in a row.

I am just thankful that the organization that needed the class reached out to me.  I did have to do a little schedule-juggling to accommodate the day and time they had already scheduled their staff to attend, and I didn't confirm that I would be there until I had made sure I had someone to watch my children. 

If I booked someone to come teach a course for me I would expect them to provide the course as scheduled, or arrange for someone else to provide the class for me.  As an instructor and as a small business owner I don't schedule courses that I cannot provide.  I do provide referrals to other instructors in the area and am happy to do so.  I have met someone wonderful instructors who I know take the courses they provide seriously and would provide an great class.  But the point of my post today is that I won't bail on anyone.  If some last minute emergency came up in my household I would find another instructor to provide the course or I would be there.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

TMI - please just stick to the facts

I was thinking this morning about TMI (too much information, in case well, you didn't know what it meant, but maybe that is tmi?).

I was wondering when people call their local PD, or 911, why they feel the need to start telling all this information that isn't completely relevant to a total stranger on the phone.  And then I started thinking about some of the blogs I read, and my twitter feed, and realized maybe it's the anonymity of it all.  Perhaps we like sharing things with someone, or an audience, that we can't actually see.

Lately I've been trying to simplify my life.  Things can be so complicated sometimes.  And a bit of my simplifying is thinking about how wordy I can be sometimes, and trying to say more with less.

But back to this mornings random thoughts, which were prompted by a dispatching shift yesterday and got me thinking about several of my previous shifts.  Thankfully I'm a per diem, so I don't have to think about this stuff every day.

My co-workers and I don't really need to know your personal life story, medical history, your opinions on how intelligent or not you are, taxpayer status, how you can't read signs, or the amazing way that you managed to break into your own car after you locked the keys in it unless it is absolutely relevant to why you are calling.  Just tell us in a simple and concise manner why you need the police, fire dept, animal control officer or whomever to help you out.  Answer our questions simply.  We need to know things like what the situation is, where you are, how to call you back and who you are.  I don't need to know that you are horribly embarrassed and questioning your intelligence level because you didn't see or read the sign that the state park gate was going to be locked at 8pm and it's now after 8 and you're locked in.

We talk to a lot of people on the phone and radio.  A LOT.  That's not shouty, that's capitalized because we get a lot of phone calls and speak to potentially hundreds of people in a shift.  The more efficiently we can take your information the more efficiently we can dispatch the appropriate responder to the situation.  Getting chatty on the phone isn't an efficient use of my time and resources. 

There are some situations that do require us to keep you on the phone, sometimes just chatting, and that is for your safety or the safety of our responders.  We'll let you know when we need to do that. 

So please don't think we're rude when we ask some basic questions, try to stop you from continuing to provide us with TMI, and let you know we have help or a responder on the way.  That's just us doing our job efficiently and as simply as possible.