If it seems like my blog is being taken over by work, that’s because this blog tends to be a reflection of my life, and work has certainly taken that over.  I’m being rebellious today and not working (and the director of claims closed the entire office tomorrow, so I’m getting 2 days off in a row! Woo-hoo!).  The week leading up to this, however, has been far from smooth sailing.

Let me start off by saying that this isn’t about the extra work or the extra hours.  Cats happen, you have to buckle down and get the job done.  It’s part of claims.  I get that.  What I don’t get is how Shelley expects us to step up to the plate when she can’t even treat us like human beings.  Every single one of us has the same complaints.  Every.  Single.  One.  Yet she refuses to listen to any of them and just blames us for anything that goes wrong while simultaneously threatening us if we express our concerns.  So for any would-be catastrophe managers, here’s a list of common complaints and tips on how to avoid them:

1.  Lack of communication.  Be absolutely clear about expectations from the start.  This is especially important if the cat team is full of adjusters who have never worked a cat before and who therefore don’t know the exact logistics of what it entails.  It doesn’t matter that you’ve worked in claims for 15 years and willingly volunteered for so many cats that it’s second nature to you.  It matters that your team understands.

2.  Mixed messages.  Once you’ve very clearly spelled out the expectations, enforce them uniformly.  If you go on vacation during the first week of the cat and people take one or both of their normal days off and no one in management (or even non-management for that matter) says anything to them, it’s not fair to punish and yell at them for doing the same thing the next week.  How are they supposed to know that it’s not okay if you don’t tell them before they do it?

3.  Shutting out complaints.  When multiple people come to you with their concerns about the lack of clear communication, don’t turn it around and blame them for not asking you questions, and don’t question their loyalty and accuse them of hiding behind vague wording as an excuse to be slackers. Seriously, that’s not going to win you anyone’s support.  And it’s going to make people stop opening up to you because they know you won’t listen.

4.  Because I told you so syndrome.  The wrong way to garner support for a cat is to tell people that they are now on the cat team and this is what we’re doing, and if you don’t like it, there’s the door.  The right way is to present it in a manner such as this:  “Hey guys, there was a catastrophe and we are in the perfect position to help since we already have 7 days-a-week coverage and most of you are young and single.  We need people to step up and work the next few weeks basically without days off, though we’re open to negotiation if you have prior plans.  This would really help the company and the members and would showcase what we can do.  So, who’s in?”  I guarantee you every single one of us would have stepped up.

Ugh, I really need to stop ranting about work, but this blog has definitely become an outlet.  They’re lucky my Japan trip is booked for November, because I’m not going to find another job that’ll let me take 2 weeks off in a row within the first six months, but after that, all bets are off.  I don’t know, I guess I just don’t appreciate being told that wanting a day off makes me a disappointment and will hurt my career,  It makes me wonder if I really want to work for a company that will punish me for taking 2 days off in 14, nevermind that I’m working extra hours on the days I am there.  Ah well, such is life and I guess I’ll just have to deal with it until November….. only 6 months and 2 days until my trip is over….


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