I do my best under difficult circumstances to communicate with people. I do have particular problems what with being AS and all. However, I think I do a pretty good job, helped largely by recently developed technology such as email, mobile phones, text messages etc.
But in my job there is a culture. a culture of putting your head down and ignoring the annoying people who are "trying to stop you doing your job" - not an actual quote but a good paraphrase of stuff I've heard all through my career.
these people who interfere to stop the work fall into many categories, but they include safety people, quality people, specialist engineers, managers, accountants, lawyers, auditors and now environmental people.
Actually, the way I see it is that those people are there - if they do their job properly, to help you do your job better. When I bother the maintenance managers with the odd hour here, 30 minutes there, probably not even mounting up to a day's work in a year, I am usually trying to find a solution for their problems which they may be trying to avoid, which we know is going to eventually hit them like a car crash. A for instance - Noise is a big issue for us, covering almost the whole of the Greater London area we tend to make noise in lots of different places and almost always at night - when we do our main heavy maintenance. Residents are empowered now to seek redress when they are kept awake at night. This has only been the case for a few years and even fewer years have we had a coordinated response to these complaints.
So when I go into a managers office and explain how to fill out a noise evaluation form and how to use the resources available to them such as advice from the environmental advisors and our noise specialists, and how to make a Section 61 application, and who to go to for support from our customer liaison people, etc. I see myself as offering them a service. If they ignore my advice what usually happens is they upset already quite unhappy residents who complain to us or the council and we get a section 60 slapped on us which can be really expensive. Basically it means we have to stop work, indefinitely, and time is money, so it could potenetially cost millions, possibly forcing us to suspend service on part of our network.
That hasn't happened yet, but as some Local Authroities are getting increasingly hostile to our overtures, it is getting harder to harder to get permission to carry out noisy works. Guess who gets the blame? Environmental advisors are just lumped in with the interfering council and the annoying resdient - we should just all flip off and allow the guys to do their work! They seem to believe we're all working together against them! how they work this out is beyond me!
So there is a culture of trying to avoid talking to people they see as hostile to their interests. When I sent an email to a manager - to help him after one of his colleagues asked for help!! - I got no reply. I visited the site last week and tried to meet with the guy - having already dropped an email I called him a couple of times and left a message and a specific phone number for him to call me. I waited an hour and got no reply. After I left the depot I noticed two missed calls not on the number I left for him to call me - the one I was monitoring - but on the other phone which was in my bag!! It was from him and he did not leave a voice message. In the messages I left I told him I'd be back on the site the following week so could we arrange a time to meet and chat. I also followed that up with an email saying the same thing - sorry I missed you but could we please meet next week sort of thing! They guy still hasn't responded to my email and when he called my phone - twice! - did not leave a message.
So what do I do? I know if i keep calling him he will eventually stop responding to me altogether, I have a long experience of this sort of scenario. I will call him and I will try to pick up his call when he phones back, but chances are I will miss his call as I am often too busy to pick up my phone (meetings) or stuck in a tunnel or similar place with no signal.
I don't know why the guy just didn't respond to my email or leave a message on my voicemail. Why? why?
I'm hardly difficult to get in touch with, I'm one of the most connected people I know - several email accounts, two smart phones, a desk phone, a twitter account, Facebook and a whole office full of people who will take his message if he called my desk phone and make sure I get it!!
I answered the phone the other day that was to one of my colleagues - we are similarly qualified and cover the same areas. He wanted to speak to him. i said he could speak to me and I will probably be able to help. He went really cagey and said it was soemthing he needed to speak to the other guy about and wouldn't say a word to me. Really weird. It wasn't a personal call either, it was a depot guy and he wouldn't even give his full name, or number!
What the fuck is going on?!