Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Tuesday 5 November 2013

This Shit is Driving Me Nuts!

Not for nothing, but over and over again life is made infinitely more difficult than it needs to be because of the silly shit that people just don’t bother to do. The devil, as my grandmother would have it, is in the details!

There was a terrible saying back in the day that went something like this, “When you assume something you make an ASS out of U and ME.” Can you tell one of my first jobs was in sales? I hated all that time we spent working ourselves up to close that sale, and I hated all the daft wannabe aphorisms that were concocted to back up the hype. On the other hand...

Twice in the past twenty-four hours our time has been wasted and our schedule messed about because no one bothered to do the really bloody obvious. A couple of years ago when I was at an event that was so badly organised that all anyone could do was laugh it off, someone actually suggested that the thing was outside anyone’s reasonable control. My answer to that was that it wouldn’t have been if anyone had bothered to actually take control!

Yes, I know I’m punchy, but I’ve said it before and I’ll said it again: If freelancers don’t work they don’t get paid; if we mess up we don’t get paid, or, at the very least, we pay the price in terms of hours of extra work to make up the shortfall.

Last night, the husband was due to take part in quite a complicated conference call across two continents. It was outside our usual office hours and dinner had to be shifted to accommodate it. The American office had told the husband the UK time for the call. No call came through. No call came through because no one in the US office had checked the time in the UK, because someone had assumed that the clocks would go back in the UK the same date that they went back in the USA. 

You know what? You can’t assume something like that, especially when it takes seconds to check. You also can’t have people sitting on their arses for an extra hour at eight o’clock at night just because you couldn’t be bothered to check the time. Of course, if the US office had given us the American time for the call the husband or I would have checked the correct UK time and all would have been well, because, you know, there’s a reason to be organised!

The inevitable shrug!
This morning, after waiting several months for a new car windscreen, a man came to deliver and fit it. Someone had ordered the wrong part, because they had assumed that because our car was a certain model we would want the heated windscreen. We bought the car from the same place we ordered the windscreen; no one asked which windscreen and no one checked the car details. The poor man delivering and fitting the windscreen has now got to return tomorrow with a new part and go through the entire process again. What’s more, we’ve got to be here so the job can be done, and we’ll be inconvenienced by the process for the second day in a row.

This shit happens day in and day out. This nonsense is a regular feature of my life, day in and day out. It is expected. People shrug. No one is surprised by these mistakes, no one apologises. This is normal.

Well, I’m sorry, but if we were as disorganised as this we wouldn’t survive very long in this business.

I’m not suggesting that we don’t make mistakes. I’m not suggesting that we’re perfect. We’re not. I most certainly am not.

I do try though. I do try to be organised, and I do try to think ahead, and I do set out to do the things that I have said I will do, on time and to a standard, and I try not to put anyone else out in the process.

It really shouldn’t be this hard to get through a day without someone cocking up and then shrugging at me, should it?


  1. For the sake of a nail, the kingdom was lost...

  2. one reason why I find the science of Psychology and the study into processes so fascinating. because it sure seems like many processes are designed to create this kinda muck up, worse still, someone probably got paid to come up with the process that results in failure ...