A few decades ago Games People Play enjoyed months of rabid sales as it laid out the power and mind games that occur in human interactions. More than 5 million copies have been sold to date. It was sort of a watered-down version of the works of Machiavelli, or perhaps Sun Tzu’s famous The Art of War.
These books come to mind as I conclude (I think) a bizarre episode with the Washington state Department of Licensing.
Some months back, long enough ago not to recall the details, someone recommended that I apply for an upcoming vacancy on the Department of Licensing Motorcycle Safety Education Advisory Board. An unpaid position, except for expenses, it looked to be an interesting way to contribute to the motorcycle culture whether I was still working for Ride West or enjoying my retirement gig.
I filled out the application and sent it in. Several months passed, which should have given a clue.
Finally, I received this e-mail: (Names and phone #s have been redacted – I think that is the correct word. How exciting – I have never previously ‘redacted!’)
Monday, August 12, 2013 9:58 AM
Motorcycle Safety Education Advisory Board application review
Good morning, Thank you for submitting your application for a position within the board. We are currently reviewing all applications. As part of this process we will be conducting a review of your Abstract of Driver Record (ADR). Please reply to this e-mail authorizing the Department of Licensing to review your ADR. Please reply to this e-mail not later than Friday, August 16, 2013.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me
I wrote back and gave the go-ahead, or course, with the warning it might be boring reading. I think my driving record is pretty much a blank slate, which is in itself rather remarkable.. I did not point out that I was not seeking a position within the board, as the e-mail stated, but on it. Nobody likes a smart ass! Nothing further was heard for a month, so I inquired further:
From: Team Ride West [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Friday, September 06, 2013 11:49 AM
Is there any indication of a time frame where I will know whether or not I made the cut?
Six days later I received this message
Thursday, September 12, 2013 7:23 AM
We are still evaluating the applicants and have not made a final decision. Sorry I did not respond to your e-mail earlier. I have been out of town and unable to check my e-mails. Thanks.
CDL & Motorcycle Safety Programs
Department of Licensing
I responded with:
No worries! I will be retiring from full-time work on October 31st and I am sorting through various offers for volunteer work and waiting on this one as priority one, but no rush.
At last, one week later, I received this welcome message:
Thursday, September 19, 2013 6:52 AM
Give me a call when you have a minute. I have (what I hope to be) good news for you. I am in a meeting all this morning, but should be available during the lunch time (if that is convenient for you) between 12:00 and 12:30 p.m. Thanks
CDL & Motorcycle Safety Programs
In retrospect, this message, added to the extended time frames of the previous correspondence, should have sent my internal alarm bells ringing with vigor. Why ask me to call at a specific time when the person had both my e-mail and two phone numbers right in front of him? Are we playing power games? For a volunteer position? Really?
But still…Clearly I had made the cut!
At 12:05pm I called the number given, and the person did not answer. So I left a message with my name and a request to be called back.
At 12:30pm I sent an e-mail requesting either a phone call or a return message.
Nada. Nothing. Zilch.
Finally, I decided that enough game playing for one volunteer position had taken place, so I sent this e-mail:
When you send someone an e-mail telling them you have good news for them and asking the person to call during a specific 30 minutes – you should make sure you are actually answering your phone during that 30 minutes. Or, you should answer the e-mail the person sends you when you do not answer. Or, you should call them back as requested.
It is now 1:20pm and I am most unimpressed. This is not how I conduct my own work day, and I don’t think it represents DoL very well either.
You can respond to this, or leave a message on my cell phone, or whatever, or ignore all of it
No response as yet. It’s been six days. Think my stint as a volunteer is over before it started?
Copyright 2013 David Preston