This is in a sense a “Throwback Thursday” post. I ran across these two photos in a folder on Google + yesterday and decided to make a collage. These were both taken in 2010 from the back porch of the house I grew up in.

I could tell you that I grew up in absolute paradise but even the best of words cannot touch the beauty and pure splendor of this little spot on a mountain in Tennessee. So, I give you…my home:

Taken before and after an ice storm in December 2010.  I would give almost anything to be here again. © J. Arlene 2013

Taken before and after an ice storm in December 2010.
I would give almost anything to be here again.
© J. Arlene 2013


Favorite Thing of the Day 8/28

This is so beautiful. I can imagine a little garden decorated similarly to this where I would read and reflect every morning and evening. And on the weekend, I would throw parties. I can’t wait to own a home one day!

We are fucked.

I feel like adults give today’s kids a lot of crap and granted, I agree with most of it but my experience with today’s adults really makes me realize that some of it is unfair. Most of the time adults say that kids don’t listen, can’t pay attention, don’t follow instructions…and that deems them inflicted with Attention Deficit Disorder! On the other hand some are considered lazy, careless and so involved in technology that we think they can’t effectively communicate any way other than text messages and social networking. Well, let me tell you something about today’s adults: they have the exact same problems.

The majority of my job is to give simple instructions to adults and I can honestly say that I have never seen so many people struggle with very, very simple instructions. Every single time, whether I’m telling someone how to fill out paperwork or if I’m giving directions to my office, I am constantly repeating myself. Adults don’t listen either. They’ve filled out paperwork before so they just ignore me completely and either end up filling out 10 times more information on the form than they have to or they ask me at least twice what they’re supposed to fill out. NO ONE LISTENS.

The instructions are (this is how I state them, word for word): Please fill out the contact information in the box. You don’t have to worry about the rest of the page, just the box at the top. 95% of people fill out the entire page…and sometimes the back!

How did we get to a place where we can’t follow simple instructions?

Struggle is progress in disguise.

I’m feeling very run down and bored out of my mind lately. I changed so much in my life around in the last 2 months. As if that wasn’t enough, I made plans to do it even BIGGER next year!

I’m frustrated right now because my job is so mundane. I took the opportunity in front of me at the time and now it’s time to reach out for something else. I got some really, really great news about a new opportunity today that could make my move to Nashville so much easier. I’ll fill you in on the details when and if it becomes official. Cross your fingers for me, I feel like I’m crawling out of this hole very slowly.

This inspired me today.

There’s Nothing Like Nashville

© J Arlene 2013

Yesterday was one of the hottest and most humid days in quite a while here in Chattanooga. Then, of course at the exact time that I was leaving work, Mother Nature decided to drop some serious water on the city. Lately, every time I’ve taken a trip to Nashville, my own city is under the attack of some terrible rain storm and Nashville is always bright and sunny. This is three times in a row now!

I’m nervous and scared to move to another city but I’m so excited! Come on, summer 2014!

Favorite Thing of the Day 8/22

Infomercials are both annoying and grossly entertaining. Here are some gifs showing just how hard life can be without these items.

I don’t know what this is for but I’m pretty sure that tucking a towel is a common sense skill for everyone…except this woman.

Spices are tricky.

I don’t know what to say about this guy.

I have this problem all the time.

This is the face of a man who is truly at his wit’s end.

View them all here.

What is Customer Service?

I think when most people think of customer service they think: the customer is always right and the Customer Service Representative must know this as a fact and treat the customer as such at all times.

I don’t agree and let me explain why. When I started working in retail at the age of 18, the above theory was my motto. I worked to serve the customer 100% with my time and energy. At that time, the job meant that the customer was always right and for the most part, they are and have to be. My first boss even told me that if a customer ever complained about me, I would not be questioned and instead they would always make right with the customer. 

These days, I don’t believe in this theory too much for certain Customer Service jobs. Currently, I am the Front Office Associate at a small office where I don’t have to worry much about “pleasing” the customers, only being friendly when booking appointments or taking their phone calls.

These are things that I believe to be true about today’s Customer Service:
1) I am here to serve you, but that does not mean that you can treat me like I’m insignificant. You will respect the authority that I do have over when can make an appointment.

2) I look young, but I’m not a child anymore. This means that I do not appreciate any comments you may feel like throwing my way regarding the way I “probably” live my life. I don’t party all night, I don’t live at home with my parents and I am capable of making life decisions without advice from strangers. This also means that you speak to me and respect me as adult no matter how old YOU are.

3) I will do anything to help you but I will not put up with attitude, being cursed at or being blamed for something I did not sell you, manufacture or have any responsibility for. The only responsibility I have for you is booking your appointment and making sure you fill out the correct paperwork. So let’s direct the blame to the correct party.

I am very fortunate to have a little backup. After spending an entire Monday getting yelled at and blamed, I found out today that my boss said something to the customer who gave me such a hard time. The fact that my direct boss acknowledged that you were rude to me says a lot about the company that I work for and I appreciate that!

So, the next time Customer Service doesn’t quite meet your standards maybe you should check your approach and attitude. There is terrible service out there – I have experienced plenty of it recently, trust me! However, a lot of representatives are merely responding to the bullshit from the customer that they have to deal with. Is that okay? Probably not but damn, let’s not make people cry over getting an appliance fixed or getting a cheaper price on something that’s already marked down. Because let’s face it, no one wants to work in Customer Service.

Fall smells like a fresh start

After working in some form of customer service or another since I was 18 (that’s 10 years, people), I am completely drained of empathy and compassion. I will be honest enough to admit that I barely listen to customers anymore. After so long, all the complaints are the same. “I’m unhappy and I’m going to make you unhappy while I demand for my money back and threaten you personally even though you didn’t manufacture this product.” It’s all the same…every day, in every place. I’m completely customer serviced out.

I don’t know how to get back to the person I was: the person who cared and willingly helped without cursing under her breath and wishing death upon all difficult customers. Once upon a time, I enjoyed solving problems and making people happy.

On my journey back to my happy self, my first step is to be less negative. That old quote, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” is way underrated. With a simple negative comment, a flood gate of negative thinking is sparked. I don’t want to take any part of bringing people down no matter how crappy I’m feeling. No one likes a Debbie Downer and no on enjoys being one, not really. I think that we lose track of just how miserable negative thinking can make us. It’s just a thought but it’s more than that: it represents how we think and it sets a tone for a few minutes or even a lifetime.

For every negative thought or comment, I will find one positive one until the positive thoughts come first naturally.

I’ll leave you with one of the most simple and meaningful quotes that I love dearly:
I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.” – Maya Angelou

Three is a crowd.

I’m not a claustrophobic person but lately I’ve been feeling like a caged animal. Since I met my boyfriend he’s had three roommates – two of which lived with us when I officially moved in last fall. None of them were outstanding, only one was terrible and for the most part – they weren’t around much. Which brings us to New Guy. Real quick:
1) New Guy is a great guy!
2) New Guy has a great job, is respectful and pretty mature.
3) New Guy is around all the time.
I’m trying to be a good person here and not freak out too much about him being in the living room hogging the tv 24/7. I’m also trying to be a good person and not freak out on my boyfriend because roommate is always chilling on the couch 24/7.