So apparently I was so tired yesterday that I forgot to post at all. My only excuse is that I’ve been being a responsible adult all week and it wore me out. Sorting out unemployment payments, parenting payments, a rent assessment, a job-center interview and trying to budget for the Big Girl Bed my daughter needs and the new trampoline mat we’ll all go mad without took it out of me.
If you are the parent of a hyperactive toddler, or know one, may I recommend the backyard trampoline as an unbeatable aid to sanity? They can wear themselves out bouncing around, and pavement chalk works a treat on the mat, so they can draw up there too. This is excellent for the child whose creativity you don’t want to stifle but who cannot be permitted access to crayons, pens or pencils due to an uncontrollable urge to draw on the walls.
One thing I noticed as I was rushing around was the way that most of the people I was dealing with seemed to be willing to go out of their way to help me. Especially since in at least a couple of cases, I’d screwed up on providing information I was responsible for, so the problems were at least in part my fault. Most of the credit goes to the genuinely lovely employees of the various organizations, of course. Working for Centrelink and the Department of Housing has to be pretty thankless, most of the time.
But it did help, as one woman I talked to confirmed when I asked, that I have a good reputation with these organizations. I always overpay my rent a little to the DoH to build up a cushion for emergencies, which they love. I’m always pleasant to Centrelink employees, thank them for their help, and don’t complain about the long waits or hoops they make me jump through (at least, not to their faces or in any way that could get back to them). I try to get appropriate information to them on time. So when I screw up they’re understanding about it, rather than assuming I’m trying some sort of scam.
I am constantly baffled by the number of people who throw fits at Centrelink or scream curses at the receptionist at the DoH office. Surely if there was ever a time to try to attract civil servants with honey, not vinegar…! Anyone who’s worked in customer service knows that customers as a group are grasping, rude and deceitful, but it’s even worse when you’re providing a necessary service rather than a product they can take or not as they like. (This may explain why most Centrelink/unemployment offices appear to be staffed with a combination of tired, flustered saints and former prison guards discharged for unnecessary cruelty to prisoners.)
I cannot too strongly recommend being nice to people providing you with a service. Not only is it the decent thing to do anyway, but a little good-will built up with your landlord or your unemployment officer can go a long, long way if you run into trouble.
Now I have to go pay the electricity bill and oh crap I owed a write-up on choose-your-own-adventure stories to Kess two days ago. (Revelations in real time! That’s the kind of raw honesty this blog has!)