Positive feedback

I am a big believer in giving credit where credit is due.

If you provide crappy service to me, I will complain. I will talk to you, to your manager, and I will sometimes write a letter. In that order, depending upon the responses I receive.

As emotionally satisfying as it may be to shit on someone who is doing a bad job, often we lose sight that it frequently isn’t their fault. They could be having a rough day, they could have a lousy boss, or customers could be walking all over them and they’ve had enough of being everyone else’s doormat. That’s why the ladder approach is best. Talk to the person who has slighted you, try to get their side, show them some empathy, and often they’ll open up and fix the wrong right away.

Now, if you provide great service to me, well, that is even more reason to celebrate. And to have fun doing it, too. Often we overlook giving positive feedback because we think “well, it’s their job, that’s what they are paid to do”. But a little bit of positive feedback can go long way to ensure you get great service every time. It also creates a little satisfaction for employees doing the jobs we wouldn’t shouldn’t or can’t do ourselves.

In the end, kindness wins, and we should try to lead with that first.

Today I submitted some feedback for an employee who has always been awesome whenever they do stuff for me. I’d like to share it with you:

How can we improve our response the next time?

Pay (employees_name) more. Also, crown him Emperor of IST, Defender of the Services, Monarch of the Bits. He requires a cohort of co-op students working for him, massaging his feet and fanning him with palm leaves, occasionally feeding him grapes and red bull.

Was there anything that was particularly well done?

I don’t know what it is, but when I see that I request I have submitted gets assigned to (employees_name), the hairs on my arm stand up, as though some long-dormant genes going as far back as to perhaps my Gothic heritage have been activated.

Suddenly, it isn’t a request for a new subdomain or server share: I am standing outside of Rome, getting ready to attack it, yet I am not nervous. My experience in the army has taught me to keep my leather armour on tight, my bronze blade sharpened to a razor-sharp edge, and my faith in our leader – (employees_name) – absolute.

Atop his steed, (employees_name) raises his fist into the grey, foggy sky. And with relish, he drops it down, signalling the attack to commence. A roar trumpets from the crowd, and in the distance, the legions of Roman soldiers can, ever so slightly, be seen to be losing their nerve. They shift on their feet, look nervously at each other, and grip a little tighter on their swords.

Fire arches up through the sky, soaring majestically over the advancing Goth lines, and hitting their marks true, creating panic amongst the Roman ranks. But the Romans have an Ace up their sleeves. Unbeknownst to the Goths, the 22nd-century version of the Pope had authorized a special team of scientists to clone, train and send back in time a squadron of genetically-engineered, highly intelligent Velociraptors to fight for Rome. Their mission: to ensure Rome never falls, that the reign of the Holy Roman Empire to be world-wide, absolute, and everlasting.

The sight of these strange creatures, to this date, no man has ever laid eyes upon before, breaks the resolve of the Goth lines. No longer thundering forward, they stumble and sputter to a stop; unsure and slightly fearful of the sight before them, they stare blankly in silence at these scaly, toothy Deacons of terror, from a time-yet-to-be.

A slight pause of silence echos over the land, only to be replaced with a singular, blood-letting scream. From behind the Goth, a trample of hooves can be heard rapidly approaching, soaring, and landing in front of the Gothic lines. Without hesitation, with the pure, singular focus of a thousand suns onto a single point, (employees_name) races forward toward the Velociraptors, sword in hand, teeth clenched tight.

The terrifying beasts surge forward with reptilian efficiency, thirsty for blood.

Both parties approach rapidly and without breath, and when they are within mere feet of each other, in the blink of an eye, (employees_name) leaps from steed. His writs flick quickly three times, and he lands on his feet. Behind him, three dazed Velociraptors pause, and for a few seconds, they appear as though they are considering the ridiculousness of their existence.  And as though those thoughts have formed their new reality, they suddenly drop to the earth, dead.

And that’s when (employees_name) stood up, splattered in foreign inter-dimensional blood, and went to work.

(employees_name) is efficient, the most efficient soldier of IST I have had the pleasure to work with, and there is nothing that isn’t done well under his watch.

New job – the best part

I have a new job. Sort of.

The University of Waterloo has a pretty awesome secondment policy. Basically, when a job is a secondment opportunity, it means you can work it for a predefined time period and when that time period is done, you go back to your old job.

I now work for the Institute for Quantum Computing, a research institute at the University of Waterloo, on the communications team doing web stuff, and trying oh so hard not to immediately break anything and redo everything.

The best part of it all is that it is a clean slate, a field of freshly fallen snow just waiting for me to create something with it. This position is a new one, and as far as I know it never has existed before, and it affords me the opportunity to look at how I’ve created web sites in the past and look for more advanced/easier ways to do the same jobs again.

But now is the time to put my head down and get some more work done.