Reflections

I’ve never been one for reflections. Looking back and trying to understand, evaluate, or change what has happened. It’s like looking in the mirror in the morning and trying to justify last night. I don’t want to do it.

I’ve faced many of the problems described in the two presentations. In the past, I have generally tried to get along. I have tried to avoid confrontations. And, generally, it hasn’t worked. I’ve had the case where someone disappeared, did not respond, and could not be found. We reassigned her work and went on. It was not until an online meeting attended by the instructor, where the instructor asked about the person that someone else explained the disappearance. And, the instructor was mad at us!

I’m not sure what I will do next time. The instructor brought the person back to the group, we had to divvy up the work again. It made for more work. Of course the team member disappeared again. When do you get to kick someone off a team?

Neither of the presentations dealt with how to remove someone from a team. In another situation, another team member disappeared. By disappearing, I mean didn’t attend meetings, didn’t complete assignments, and didn’t respond to emails and phone calls. In this case, another team member wrote a letter to the instructor. Agreeing to sign that letter was one of the more difficult actions I had to take. Why wouldn’t she just show up?

I’m not curious about what I am going to do next time. Teams are hard work. Working together on a class project is worse. No one is in charge with real authority. The examples in the presentations each relied on the good will of the offending team member. It is assumed that the team members want to participate, or will clean up their act when caught.  I’ve had two cases where that was not the case.   

So, when reflecting on what has happened and what I might do differently, I wonder about how to handle the situation where there is nothing I can do. I wonder about the repercussions.

When looking at reflections, I’m always afraid of what I will see lurking over my shoulder staring back at me.

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Documentation

I hate documentation. I really hate bad documentation. The worst of course, is no documentation. This allows me, a technical writer, to wallow in my misery. During the day, I get to watch as my best efforts yield results so bad, I must hold my nose as I click the publish button.

At night, I get to experience other people’s efforts. I now know that lots of documentation is not actually done by writers, but by misfortunate groups of individuals too slow to escape. Sometimes it is better to hide under your desk when you hear footsteps.

I have been stumbling around the WordPress help system. It is structured like a tutorial. I have a question, not the need or the urge to spend a couple of hours reading wordy text about something I really don’t want to know about. Isn’t all this social media stuff supposed to be so easy that anybody can do it?

I did do it, but I’m not happy about it. My problem, so minor, cost an hour. An hour of my life that I would have prefered to waste somewhere else. The temperature was cooler today. A walk down the street, through the canyon, and back would have been nice. Now, the sun has set and the lions and tigers and gremlins are surely out.

I don’t know about social media. I have not figured out how I want to use it. I don’t need to be kept informed of someone’s latest thoughts. Often, I’m not interested in my own thoughts. I’ve never been accused of not having an original thought, but maybe that has something to do with not sharing my thoughts on social media.

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Isn’t that the wrong point?

One night last week, as I sat peddling on a stationary bike at the gym, I watched a health care debate of some sort. The part I caught was a very well dressed, well fed, happy white guy wailing on about how he didn’t want some nameless, faceless, unknown federal bureaucrat making decisions about his health care.

His point stuck me as odd. The week before, a major health insurance company had hit the news when it was announced that they were cancelling the health care policies of women who were diagnosed with breast cancer. Was the debater arguing that a nameless, faceless, insurance company bureaucrat was what he wanted? Was he suggesting that the patients that had paid their health insurance premiums for years and had their coverage cancelled when they needed care were better off?

Of course, the insurance company announced that they did not target breast cancer patients. When I read their explanation, that seemed true. it appeared that they targeted anyone who got sick and might need care. The insurance company insisted that they had broken no law.

So, I peddled, sweat dripping down my brow, not so much from the concentration on the debate, or from the effort of peddling, but from being over dressed for the occasion.

It seemed to me that what should be debated was who gets to make decisions about withholding care. The debater used several long phrases to describe medical evaluations of patient viability, which I can’t recall. The effect was to scare people into not wanting any evaluations made. The implication being that everyone should have the maximum care and effort at all times, which is nonsense. There are times when continued treatment does not make any sense. Ideally, the patient would have put their wishes in writing for guiding the doctor’s.

So, I switched channels and watched a Spanish channel for the rest of my peddling time. I should point out that I do not speak Spanish. The Spanish channels do seem to have some wild game shows.

What’s the point? Well, later in the week, the insurance company announced they had stopped the practice of cancelling policies when patients get sick. They said that they reserved the right to cancel policies when they found fraud. I noticed that they did not say when they would look for fraud. It struck me that they had just announced to stop doing what they had said they were not doing, but kept open the option of continuing to do it.

The point is that the bureaucrat who is making these decisions needs a name and needs to be accountable. A Washington bureaucrat might just be acceptable.

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Greetings

I have stumbled into my first post on my first blog. Somehow, I should be writing something important, relevant, or at least a little bit witty. Instead, the blank box is as intimidating as the blank page.

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