The Incovenience of All This Convenience

I went to Costa Rica by accident. I mean, I knew nothing about Costa Rica, or why I wanted to go there. That was in 1992. A couple of years later I was in Africa, then the Yucatán Peninsula, and after that, a riverboat on the Amazon.  I became a traveler well-after I became a mother of teens.  How did I get so adventurous? How did I discover irresistible deals? Elizabeth.

I met Elizabeth at Riverside Plaza, the same building I met Cathy, my “redeployment specialist.” Cathy was there to cheer-lead me to a new career, and reassure me of my value. Elizabeth sent me off on my first international travel.

We exchanged Christmas cards, and met for lunch off and on throughout the years, and eventually we lost touch. Elizabeth kept me traveling for years.
“I’ve got some time the first two weeks of December,” I said in early November. “Where can I go.”

“How about a riverboat trip on the Amazon?” Elizabeth said. “You will go on night launches, see caiman, visit a leprosy colony, fish for piranha…” She went on to describe just the type of adventure Loved One and I crave.

“I’m in,” I said. “You never steer me wrong.

That was then. This is now.

Now for my convenience, I can book my own flights, reserve my own hotel rooms, and discover great deals, all on-line and in my own time.

Yeah, well I’m sick of all this convenience, which takes me waaay longer than calling or dropping by to see Elizabeth and getting advice from someone I can see and hear, and more importantly, trust.

Two years ago, I repeated my adventures in down-sizing, right-sizing, six-sigma-leaning. I became “redundant” once again. (Aside here: I love the British way of saying laid-off or fired. “I’m redundant.” It’s sounds tidy.)

No Cathy to look me in the eye and tell me everything is going to be fine. No office cubicle to attack my job search with redundant colleagues to cheer each other on. Instead, I got a loose-leaf notebook full of resources and internet sites.  “For your convenience,” the literature reassured me. I visualized Cathy’s deep brown eyes looking into mine. “Re-deployment at your own pace,” the page succinctly continued, with plenty of white space, for ease of reading.  Who says the written page is unsympathetic?

A month ago I received my “on-boarding” information via e-mail.
“Attached, for your convenience are the forms for your first day at the Ivory Tower Workplace. You must complete the attached forms and bring them with you on your first day.”

The convenient packet of information was 20 pages of tax forms, security forms, electronic signature acknowledgements, etc. Some of which pertained to States where I never lived, and would not be part of my job travels. My mission:  sort out what pertained to me, fill it out and bring it to Day One. Day One was October 1, or October 7, when I would meet my hiring manager.  The documentation was unclear.  I raised my hand to ask a question, but the paper stared back at me, as if it should all be perfectly clear, if I just read between the lines.

A few days later, I get an e-mail from Brass Ring. “Your employment history must be updated to indicate you were self-employed for two years.

Okay, I understand.  In a way. Still, when they call me to get a reference for me, do they think I will give myself anything less that a stellar recommendation?  Sure I let myself down all the time, but most the time, I know how to keep it to myself.

Brass Ring, provided a convenient link to their on-line form. Due to some sort of glitch, USA or America, or United States, was not available for ‘country,’ and could not be typed in free-style. The form would not be ‘submitted’ without a ‘country’ entry. A list of countries from the drop-down menu started with Afghanistan and ended with Iceland. I chose Iceland.

“Your offer may be withdrawn if information on this form is inaccurate or misleading.” I sent a separate e-mail explaining I’m not really living in Iceland and I’m not really trying to deceive anyone.

A few days later, another e-mail arrives. “Please verify the employment of Adela at your firm.” Yes indeed. Me verifying my employment by me. How convenient.

All this convenience is seeping over into the doctor’s office. I went for my annual physical. The nurse weighed me, asked me a few questions, took my blood pressure and temperature. Dr. T. listened to my lungs, and told me I’m getting older. I handed him a graphical display of the spreadsheet I created for my cholesterol. results.

“Is this really a significant change?” I asked.

“Oh yes,” he said. “Keep taking your medicine.”

He handed me a small box. “Bring this back to the office. No need to mail it in.”

Oh, and for my convenience, there’s now an app for my iPhone, so I can get the results and an explanation of all test results.  How convenient!  (If I want, the Nurse Practitioner can call and read the exact same results to me.)

Medical practice changed a bit from the day I delivered a healthy baby boy and Dr. Family Practitioner sent me a big bouquet of roses congratulating me for the fruits of my labor.

Inside the box Dr. T gave me were these instructions.

Maybe next year, small test strips can be included. I can report back to Dr. T: Everything looks good. Just getting older. For my convenience, electronic transfer of funds to cover your costs is complete.

So I ask Dear Reader, please share your stories of convenient inconvenience.  Are you really saving money and time?  Are we losing something?  Or is it just me getting older?

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