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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You know what they say about assuming......

My "heavy lifting" season at work is the summer.
My hardest time of year to survive is the end of summer through mid-October.

This year proved more difficult in both of those areas than in the past.
There are a variety of reasons for this, some of them were things that I could have controlled had I anticipated them and others were things completely beyond my control.
The important part of the pieces that I can control is that I have learned from my inefficiencies of this past summer and have drawn up plans to improve MANY aspects of my annual summer process. If any ONE of the changes makes a positive change to the overall result (and none make negative change) the entire summer season will be MUCH better than it was this year. If they ALL prove to be positive change then the result will be noticeable to nearly everyone in my organization.

But all of that is in the future and NOT the reason for this post.
The reason for the post is that sometimes people ASSUME that they know your job better than you do.
Often they don't even realize they are making an assumption.

This recently (and currently) happened to me.
As I have said before I work in I.T.
I manage and service computers.
I have a few options for many of my repair needs: a large-scale deployment-based repair center and a local repair center.
For warranty purposes there is nothing better than the large-scale repair center. They're fast and the warranty repairs are free. They are, however, VERY expensive for non-warranty repairs. Their non-warranty repairs are based on a tiered pricing structure at which the least expensive non-warranty repair requiring parts is tier 1 and tier 1 is $250.
The local shop, on the other hand, charges me only the price of the parts and shipping plus a fair and appropriate flat fee for each laptop that is serviced. Sometimes that fee is a great deal for them: other times it is a great deal for me. It averages out. If they get something that is a warranty repair then they do not even bill me. The least expensive non-warranty repair there is $40.95. Other repairs are more expensive, but rarely do I get a bill that approaches the tier 1 price of $250; when I do it wouldn't be covered as a tier 1 repair at the depot (usually it is a tier 3).
The last time I checked my math $40.95 is significantly cheaper than $250.
The drawback is that they are MUCH smaller and cannot handle a large volume in a timely manner.
So my process has been quite simple: anything OBVIOUSLY out of warranty goes to the less expensive repair center; anything that MIGHT be under warranty goes to the depot. If the depot wants to bill me I have them send it back and then take it to the less expensive repair center.

This one person made an assumption. Because there was a backlog of equipment that had not been repaired at the less expensive repair shop the assumption was that I had automatically sent ALL of my equipment there. The assumption was being made that since I had many repairs with bills attached that I must be making bad choices on which devices were warranty eligible and which ones were not. The assumption was being made that ALL devices that went to the local shop generated a bill even if they could have been covered under warranty at the depot.
The person assumed that I am an idiot and completely incompetent.

There was a meeting this morning. There were people there from the management of the large-program deployment. During the meeting they tried to NOT answer questions specifically, but I was having none of that.

In the end, I managed to get the people from the large-scale deployment office to answer questions specifically and according to their manual. The answers reinforced my methods and statements for the last several months. Only one answer was not in my favor and that one was accompanied by statements that they had changed their practices to the new method and did not publish their changes - meaning that I was doing what I was able to do based on their previous methodology.

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