Monday, April 11, 2005

Spare parts

Ever felt like a spare part? No, I don't mean when you're out with a mate and his girlfriend and they're pashing on and... well you get my drift.

Nope, I mean as when management say they'll ship you off to the customers site tomorrow.

Today I'm in France. I was supposed to be leaving today but the customer insisted I stay. So I'm leaving Wednesday morning and, due to the wonder of timezones, it'll still be Wednesday when I get back to Phoenix. On Thursday I'm off to The Philippines for god knows how long. So far so bad. But what really stuck in my craw was the way it was expressed.

Picture, if you will, a phone conference. I'm in France, our sales guy is in Texas, the boss is in Phoenix and our customer is in The Philippines. The customer is yelling, yet again, for support for the software he won't upgrade. So the sales guy says, and I quote, 'we'll ship Robert over to you on Thursday'. 'Uh, Kevin', I said. 'You're talking about me, not a carton of spare parts. You'll ask me politely if I'm able to travel'. He didn't get it.

This is the same guy who rang me from France a couple of weeks ago and, as part of the conversation, complained that he was stuck here and had to stay another week. Would it surprise you to learn I was rather unsympathetic? I thought not.

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