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Can you hear me now?

written on April 12th, 2008

I always wonder about people that talk in public…no I don’t mean the trivial little things that no one cares about, I am referring to when people talk about important work things in public. I live in metro Detroit and the odds of the person sitting next to you working in the auto industry are pretty high. I have 3 experiences that I would like to share.

The new GM hybrid truck (this was a few years ago). It was my first year on the job and I was teaching training classes and doing customer support for the engineers that were using GM network operating software (GMLAN) for their local area network of ECU’s. One of the groups I was training and supporting were working on the development of a hybrid truck, so at dinner that night (at El Nibble Nook) I was telling my husband about some of the cool things the truck will be able to do and explaining how our software fit in, when the man at the next table whipped his head around and stared at me with bug eyes….hmm ok other people can here me…perhaps this was not the best location to discuss this…perhaps it is not public knowledge. 2 days later on the radio I heard them announce that GM was working on a hybrid truck…I assumed that someone would tell me when I had secret confidential information….that was stupid of me…I should have realized it was all confidential and secret, ok lesson learned.
2 years later I was sitting in Starbucks working on my laptop when the man behind me talking very loudly on his cell phone starts yelling at the person on the phone that if CompanyX* can help them out or if they are going to get the software late or then they needed to go up the chain and get some action. At the time I worked for CompanyX* and while I hate to admit it there were times when we delivered software late. The root cause was a demand for software with no known bugs and guess what software and hardware have bugs. Our other problem was planing and management of our resources, employees and of the software release schedule we could have done better (you can always do better…unless you are perfect…but if you are perfect you are so annoying that perhaps it would be better to make a few small mistakes)…but I understand why (I should have been a better manager and trained my employees better (but that is a topic for another post)) so I politely turned around and asked him if he was having trouble with getting the status from CompanyX*and if I could assist him since I worked for CompanyX*(and since it was for an Opel platform the software he was waiting on would have to cross my desk to make it out the door). Well after a lot of back peddling and no no problem and no we are not working with CompanyX*…wait who are you? In the end when I got back to the office we checked and made sure all of our customers had status (sometimes things are not going well we find that everyone is playing the blame game and they had status they knew when they were going to get the software (if it was going to be late there were mitigating things I could do…but I had to know it was an issue, random yelling on the phone is so useless) I think he will never talk loudly on the phone in a Starbucks about work without looking around and wondering.
Today at lunch at Pizza Hut with Nick and Nan and Pop the man next to us was explaining to the woman at his table the new features of FNOS I3. I wanted to jump up and talk to him about CompanyX* and wow you probably know my brother in law Eric! But I was playing trucks and helping a little boy lick the garlic salt off of his bread sticks…the only part of the meal he ate (the garlic salt not the bread stick or the pizza) wow picky inconsistent eaters drive me nuts.

CompanyX* company name removed…to protect me.

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