This one may or may not be important or essential to some, but it should be:
Life Lesson #3: Keep Records of Everything
This is a lesson that my mom taught me that I’m sure I’ll teach my kids. So, what do I mean when I say keep records and why is it important?
Let’s take school for example. Some of us may have had a teacher who had a habit of…losing…our assignments. You’d get to the end of a quarter or semester and see that your grade was certainly lower than you expected. When you ask the teacher/professor why this is, they state that you “didn’t hand in your assignments.” This is tricky because it’s your word against theirs, but if you have some way of demonstrating that you handed in or completed the assignment, you might be okay. Being able to quickly provide the professor with a copy of the assignment may be one way to handle this situation. It may not solve the whole problem, but if you have something to show for the work you did, at least you have some ground to stand on in a situation like this. (Note: Not speaking from personal experience!)
Let’s take a job, for example. You and a coworker may be responsible for completing some of the same tasks or assignments. Because you don’t work the same shifts, it’s hard to touch base with each other to discuss where you left off on an assignment. Hence, one reason keeping records is important. Keep records of what you completed and where you left off on an assignment so that your coworkers know where to pick up on an assignment. This can help reduce redundancy, but can also help in making sure tasks get done. Another reason to keep records at work. Lets say part of your job involves filing different (important) documents. And lets say that your boss is on a tight schedule and needs a particular document, but it’s nowhere to be found. And lets say you know you didn’t file this document, but are frantically searching for the document because you’re currently at work. Needless to say, you are currently being held responsible for finding the document and may have to deal with any unpleasantness that may be emitted your way during this time. BUT, lets say a record did exist. If you had a document (or spreadsheet) that indicated what you filed and where you filed it, you (and your boss) could be saved a lot of hardship by such a simple document. Bottom line: Keep records at work to cover your behind 🙂
Finally, lets take moving (apartments/homes). Moving is really hard. Just the organization of getting utilities and cable/internet shut on or off is challenging enough! So, as you know, I moved in June for a job to a city and place that I know very little about. I was starting an exciting job and making the transition from full time student to full time employee. That was stressful enough. But, just to add to all the craziness was an epic battle with a company (who shall remain nameless) that caused grief (and severe heartburn!) for about 2 months during this transition. I won’t go into the details, but I was promised that something would be turned on in my apartment on a certain date, but then was told that this couldn’t happen. As a result, I was promised a discount on this service for my first month. Long, long story short, I wasn’t given the discount. Something that belonged to me was taken from my apartment (which took weeks to recover) and whole slew of other things occurred. Because I was dealing with a large company, I would have to make calls to customer service in order to voice any of my concerns. Now, this was a challenge. We all know what it’s like to call customer service at different companies, to go through the automated conversation until we can finally figure out which number to push only to be placed on hold for what feels like hours until “the next customer service agent becomes available.” I feel like I’ve baked cakes in the times I’ve been on hold with such companies. Anyway, when you finally get to talk to someone, you’re sometimes (often) met with an individual who is less than enthusiastic to be taking your call. When you explain your problem, you may be interrupted or may be told that they don’t see any of the information you’re providing them on file. So now you’ve wasted a lot of time to find out that they can’t help you…or can they? My mom always taught me that you should keep detailed records when making these calls. When the agent tells you their name, write it down. Write down the date and time that you spoke to the agent. Write down what you were told. Essentially, write down everything that occurs during the phone call. So that way when things still aren’t fixed and you inevitably have to call back, you can say that you “spoke to Harry Potter on 7/31/2013 at 8:00 pm for 10 minutes and were told X, Y, Z. ” It might not solve all of your problems, but it should definitely help the situation. By having these records, you’re more likely to get the results you want (and were promised) because you have a detailed list of this series of events. Bottom line: Dealing with large companies can be really difficult. Keep records of everything when you speak to these agents so you’re more likely to get the results you want. They’re (supposedly) keeping records themselves, so you should, too. Your information should just corroborate with theirs 🙂
I know this lesson may not be that exciting, but it’s definitely one that you should take into consideration.
So, have you had similar experiences? When has keeping a record helped you in a particular situation?