Saturday, June 23, 2007

Application to Bank West

This was a letter of employment application to a bank by an Australian colleague of mine to express his dissatisfaction with the bank as his mortgage lender in a humorous way.

To whom it may concern,

Application for Customer Service Manager – Bank West

I noticed that Bank West was advertising for a Customer Service Manager , when I saw this advertisement I instantly became very excited as I have had some dealings with your bank and as a result believe I also have the exhibited qualities that I was so fortunate to experience.

I submit the following particulars in support of being considered for a management (customer focus) position within the Bank West Corporation.

I strongly believe that I possess all the desired and necessary qualities that will support Bank West’s demonstrated corporate mission and values.

Below is the list of my customer focus qualities that I believe best support Bank West’s service ethos and current customer practices.

1. I have an enormous passion and drive for making customers feel like they are of no importance or worth and that their constant and annoying business requests are nothing short of interruptive and are preventing me from doing something else more important.

2. I can be very direct and succinct in advising customers that I will get around to their business needs when I get the opportunity and not a minute beforehand.

3. I can be very creative in my responses to why the incompetence and unwillingness of the Bank to attend to the matters of the customer are really the customer’s fault and not the Bank’s.

4. I fully support the corporate attitude that we are too busy to attend to your needs right now and I personally don’t see any relationship with how this could be seen as being an internal management deficiency.

5. I enjoy employing and to that matter embracing arrogance as a fundamental tool when attending to any customer service matter and further believe that an aggressive and confrontational approach is a healthy building product in establishing customer relations in any business setting.

6. I can time after time commit and promise with a sincere tone to follow up on customer requests without any intention to ever do so and (wait-- get this) have no recollection of this promise or accompanying guilt when answering to customers follow up enquiries.

7. But I think the real WOW factor, hold on to your seat, Bang for Buck that is sure to impress and see me elevated quite quickly up Bank West’s corporate ranks is my true belief and passion that customer values are well overrated and that a more direct “like it or lump it” approach saves on the countless and unrewarding man-hours spent on convincing customers that we truly value their business, I mean what are they thinking? As if the bank gives two rats about them! If they don’t appreciate the bank’s service and demeanor they can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine and find another banking institute to harass with their irritating self-focused questions.

I believe that these astute attributes that I possess are very well aligned and in support of Bank West’s pursuance to achieving global recognition as the financial industry’s number one in customer dissatisfaction.

In an effort not to come across too cocky, but also knowing that any recruitment process with an ounce of integrity would certainly see me as the preferred and most suitable candidate in continuing this customer service initiative , would you kindly provide me with the start date, where and who to report to?

I look forward to beginning my dream job and showing you all what a great choice you made.


Former Customer, “Future” Customer Relations Manager.

Bank West

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Politics- perhaps some thin ice on this one-

is another blogger that I came across today. She noted a news piece or commentary that really caught me:

"Although House members lack the power to confirm military officers, they too appear willing to break from the tradition of not criticizing the military leadership. Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher said Wednesday she thought Pace was guilty of a dereliction of duty because of his support for President Bush's Iraq policy. "

Andi's comments: "Dereliction of duty? Does this mean that thousands and thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are also guilty of dereliction of duty for supporting the mission they've been called to carry out?"

Andi continues: "I'm not a military strategist, but I suppose one can make a credible case for mismanagement of the war on the part of certain officials. A cause for removal when egregious violations occur is certainly warranted, but attacks on military leaders who support our goal and who are trying their damndest to do their jobs is troubling, to say the least. "

My comments: Ms. Tauscher doesn't seem to understand some rules of engagement in military decision-making, nor what constitutes dereliction of duty. It doesn't matter what you think about decisions being made after they are made. The time to provide your input and feedback is almost always before the decision is made. After a superior makes a decision, your job is to implement it- regardless of your feelings about it.

The military is not a democracy. I was told what job I would do, and when and where. I wasn't asked "what job do you think needs to be done, and when and where would you like to do it?"

Further, the only time one should be disobeying an order in the military is when the order is unlawful. The president's policies regarding the conduct of war in Iraq can in no way be considered unlawful, or I would expect Congress would have done something about it. If I remember right, they even passed some legislation essentially green-lighting his activities. Were they derelict in their duties if they voted in favor of that legislation?

I'm not used to the lack of control that in some ways is part and parcel of the military, which is one reason I chose to be a reservist, but that's how it is. Ms. Tausher's comments reflect what to me seems part ignorance and part irresponsbility. But that's just my opinion.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Father's Day Tribute

I'll save the more personal stuff for my Dad and for my children via other means.

For the rest of you, I pass on a link shared with me by one of my mission/Hawaii friends:

The top 10 nature dads (and one bad dad).


Friday, June 15, 2007

13% through the deployment

First, this photo is a bit out of date- this was during our week of waiting at Camp Buehring in Kuwait- standing in front of our glorious tent.

Well, here I am during a break between cycles of training National Police. So I had the time to open up my Deployment countdown .xls file (someone around here with too much free time created a nice little formula and graphics interface for all of us to enjoy), and voila! I'm 13% through my "one year boots-on-ground".

Now many would find that discovery a sign of bad luck, to be right at 13% through the deployment. I can point to many other things that are greater signs of bad luck for me, but I'll just celebrate the fact that I have the distinct impression that things have moved along pretty well for my first month and a half in country.

Here are some comments about my experience given my 13% retrospective.

The super-long training at Ft. Riley wasn't very relevant, but it probably took the 3 months for me to start to believe that, yes, I am in the Army now.

I know the joy of "being away from the flag pole." When I did an internship last year, they asked me how I liked to work. I said, "tell me what you want me to do, and then leave me alone to get the work done." This job I have is about as close to that as I could ask for. They gave me a quick explanation of the role in general, and I've been at it ever since. I've talked to my immediate supervisor in person once since I came down- he had to get down here via helicopter.

I'm enjoying working with a group of professionals that in other circumstances I would have never met nor worked with. The international group of trainers and others at the facility here are an eclectic mix of law enforcement and security professionals with a smattering of other specialists. They swear even more than the folks I've worked with in the military, and most of them have biceps bigger than my thighs, but they're great fun and there's plenty of humor to accompany their understandings of the deadly serious business they are in.

I see a lot of "penny-wise, pound-foolish" types of activities.

I get the feeling there are a lot of folks just waiting us out and taking our money and resources in the meantime. The real power grab happens whenever we leave or our presence is too small to stop it.

You have to exercise a lot if you don't discipline yourself when every meal is "all-u-can-eat".

Even a psychologist can get good with a Glock and M4 if he practices at the range every Friday or so. I'm even OK with the Beretta.

This isn't a religious war, and in some ways is a reprise of the Gadianton robbers from the Book of Mormon. Secret combinations abound.

I love my country more than ever and want to serve it honorably, even if I'm not entirely excited to be here serving it. Likewise, I cannot express adequately how great is my pride and admiration of my colleagues and brothers in arms who work harder, are more enthusiastic, and take on much more dangerous missions than mine.

You don't learn arabic very well talking primarily with Aussies. They speak Aussie (I did find an Aussie slang web-dictionary to help me with my "word of the day" exercise).

Don't drink the tap water. Bottled only. You don't even want to eat the fruits and veggies if they've been contaminated by the dirty water (learned the hard way about "Saddam's Revenge"- may I have my intestines back, please?).

120 isn't hot- it'll be hot in a couple of months. When the wind blows, its a lot like standing in front of a giant hair dryer, but you can't turn it off. Thankfully, "its a dry heat." Yeah, thanks, I'll be in the Army all day! Try the veal, its delicious!

The contractors here are training some people (not all are like this) who seem to be able to on one side endure tremendous hardships, yet on the other are unwilling to do the small things which would in some ways make their lives much more tolerable, and complain incredibly about things which really don't matter.

I don't think training is the 'rate limiting factor' in getting things in order here. It does not appear to be an issue of not knowing what to do or how to do it.

There's some of my 13% worth. My fear of censure or punishment for blogging means most of my comments are off the record for at least four years (20 year letter first). Not that I have any earth shattering intelligence, but it is not outside the realm of possiblity that I could be accused of sharing sensitive information.

I'm enjoying things much more than I thought I would. I miss my family quite a bit, but am able to communicate with them enough to feel like I'm not losing touch with them entirely. I've got a good picture of what my next 4 months will look like, and then I face more uncertainty as the situation has the potential to change drastically at that point.

Thanks to friends and family who keep me in your prayers, and especially to those who have worked to support my family during my absence.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Dana's" Police Car and The Convoy Riva

The picture of me and the police car is for the family- yes, this is my primary "driving around" vehicle while on the An-Numinaya Military Training Base. Relatively safe environment, but still carry firearms.

The grey vehicle is a Toyota Riva- I don't know what the gas mileage is, but I'm guessing its not that high. I rode in one of these from Baghdad down here with our contractor friends. No hostile fire, which was nice. They mount a couple of machine guns in the two turrets, and they don't stop for checkpoints that aren't clearly US-controlled. It makes me think "Mad Max", but I don't plan on making a habit of that convoy. I'm going to push for helicopter transport if I ever leave this place.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A non-combat camouflage technique

This one really doesn't need much comment, does it?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Priorities! Family expansion crisis!

I personally believe that we work to live, we don't live to work. Apparently, some folks in another part of the world agree.
I would, however, argue that the COSATU federations are not as powerful as advertised if they have problems expanding their families.

5 June 2007
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African workers striking over pay and benefits have a new complaint -- they no longer have the energy for sex.
Monroe Mkalipi, a regional chairman of the powerful COSATU federations of trade unions, complained that work conditions are so tough workers can't perform in the bedroom.
"The harshness that we have in all our workplaces is so severe to such a point that when you get home at night it becomes a problem expanding our families," the SAPA news agency quoted him as saying.
Public sector workers are negotiating with the government to increase pay for the first time since 2004.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The month of Kramer at NNPA

As I flipped my TFDW (Task Force Desert Wolf) calendar to the month of June, I realized the moment had come.

I have declared, for the Numaniyah National Police Academy:

To all concerned, I present these greetings:

In honor of his majesty, grace and photogenic properties, and in deference to his selection as the June poster child, nay centerfold even, of the feared and revered 104th Division Nightfighting, Bowling Timberwolves,

The month of June shall hereafter and forever in the records of the illustrious Numaniyah National Police Academy be known as the month of Kramer, a month of gratitude and celebration of all that is Krameriffic.

We invite you to visit - how does Sunday sound?- to view our diorama of Kramer scenes- from the noted low crawl in the hell that was known as Fort Hunter Liggett, to other choice pieces, such as the Individual Body Armor With Extreme Dangle, the Coiffe That Just Won't Quit, and the home plate from the Ft. Riley kickball fields.

Yes, this is a time of much rejoicing in southern Iraq. If you were to convoy down, you would note the green flags waving in the 118 degree heat. Cultural snobs believe it has something to do with the faith of Islam, but insiders know- it is in reverence of our very own Army Ranger- Todd Kramer.

Please join us at the back of the academy, where the bakery construction has reached completion just in time for us to build our own pizzas, in true Kramer style. I am told it is a "can't-miss" business proposition!