During the time that I managed a  towing company, my wife went through a health ordeal with a condition called  ulcerative colitis.  This is a nasty thing that ultimately led to 2 major surgeries, and now she is fine and has gone on to enjoy exceedingly good health.  However, for a period of about a year, we faced many challenges, and we had 3 kids, from newborn to age 9, so my family responsibilities increased during this time period.  My employer was very patient during this time, and I will always be grateful for that, but some of the people I worked with--employees I managed, other managers, etc.--occasionally voiced complaints or concerns or just joked around about my work schedule.  I wrote and produced a monthly company newsletter at that time, so for April 1 I decided it would be a good idea to do an April Fool's issue.  This is where everything in the newsletter is a joke.  The great thing about April Fool's issues is that there are always a few people who take it seriously.

So I thought this would be a good opportunity to poke a little fun at myself and these people who were doubting my commitment to the company.  The following is an article I wrote for the April Fool's issue of our company newsletter, on the topic of my work schedule at that time.  You might appreciate the subtle humor that, unbelievably, some of our employees took seriously.

"I want to take another opportunity to thank all of you for the consideration you’ve given me the first few months of this year as I’ve struggled to deal with health issues and other personal matters with my family. It has meant a lot to me.  Many of you have stepped up and taken on more responsibility, which has made it possible for me to focus on the most  important work tasks.  The continuing ongoing success of the Dispatch and Driving Departments has really been a team effort.

“It’s a good thing, too, because things aren’t going to get any easier.  It seems like when it rains, it pours, and more and more servings keep getting added to my plate.  Barb has made some improvement in her health since getting out of the hospital in late January, and
she has been able to reassume many of her family responsibilities that I have tried to do as well as she does.  But she still has a long way to go, and she is going to need me to help her.  Her doctor has designed a treatment regimen, and I will be helping with it.  Every Tuesday and Thursday, from 10:30-11:15 a.m., I will be giving her a shoulder massage and perhaps a few chiropractic adjustments.  She is
required to nap every afternoon for 4 hours, so I will be leaving work early 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), say around 1 p.m. or so.  We’ve worked out childcare the other 2 days.

“Alexander just started T-ball, and practices are Tuesday and Thursday at 5 p.m.  Since he gets out of school at 2:30 p.m., and Samantha gets out at 4:30 p.m., I might as well just leave work at 2:00 so I can do all that taxi work.

“Mornings are a real bear, just trying to get everyone up and out of the house, so 9:00 a.m. is about the earliest I can get to work, and that’s on a good day. I’ve agreed to do some volunteering at the school, reading to the kids and that kind of stuff, so I’ll be in more like noon on Fridays.

“Oh, and I’m going to try to squeeze in golf lessons once the weather warms up a little.  Monday mornings seem to work best for Sabrina, the teaching pro at Pumpkin Ridge.  That should only be from about 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

“I have found some weekend time to come in and do some work, which is great, because I can get a lot more work done when most of you aren’t around.  Every seventh Saturday I will come in in the afternoon, around 3:00, and get caught up for about 45 minutes or so, unless there’s a golf tournament on TV that day.

“One of the most demanding parts of my job is being on-call 24 hours a day, 365 (366 this year!) days a year.  I’d really appreciate it if you all could stop trying to get ahold of me when I’m not in my office.  That would help me out a lot.

“I will, of course, be taking some of my work home (like right now, for instance—I’m writing this on my home computer).  I’ve devised a board game that uses dice, and it helps me with driver and dispatch scheduling.  The kids pitch in and play it with me.  They like to play
it a lot, so expect frequent changes.  Also, I’m always reading management literature and unique books that help me with my job.  For
instance, right now I’m reading some Satanic Texts to help me with reworking the disciplinary system.

“Bottom line: If you really need to talk to me face-to-face, or communicate with me in any other way than email, you should be able to catch me on Wednesdays, between about 9:00 a.m. and 1 p.m., except during lunch, when I will lock my door.  Thank you for your understanding."

Everyone deserves a yank on their chain every once in awhile, don't you agree?

Have a safe and profitable week.

Nick Kemper

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