Good morning to the United Kingdom

In reviewing my reader stats, it breaks down what countries the readers are from based on IP addresses I would imagine. The United States far and away is responsible for the bulk of my readership. Usually each month the next country up is the UK (United Kingdom). Sometimes Canada, Mexico or Australia will sneak into that second spot, but for the majority of the time that number two slot is occupied by the UK.

Why am I so focused on the UK this morning? Well, I was curious as to how to say good morning to those good people of the UK since they are also English speaking individuals for the most part. In the US I can say good morning and it covers most of the 50 states with perhaps the exception of some small parts of Texas and Florida (Buenos Dias!) With an ocean and roughly 4,000 miles separating me from those virtual readers in the UK, I wanted to customize a greeting that would translate into their normal every day morning. So after much research, it appears I can tell the readers in the United Kingdom ‘good morning’ by saying: Good morning. Hmmm. Kind of a letdown on that one. I was expecting something cheeky involving ox tails or quips about parrot chirps on a branch or something of the sort. Good morning.  (sigh) Oh well, at least nothing will be lost in the translation.

Please Friday responsibly and let me know if you did something extraordinary with your week!


Friends: Season 7 Episode 8 – Name All 50 States

In watching the series Friends on Netflix, I came across the episode where Chandler doesn’t like dogs. The alternate action running concurrently in this episode is a challenge to name all 50 states in six minutes. My brain said: Challenge Accepted! So to test my knowledge, I entered the following entries into an Excel spreadsheet. While I didn’t match Joey’s 56 total states, I did notch 44 in the time allowed. The six states in bold and in maroon are the ones I forgot. The mental exercise made me feel a little stupid to say the least.


New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Have a spiffy day!



Hump Day Alphabet Soup

Some days we just have ‘those days’. Ya know what I mean?

Take today for example. For some reason the universe gave me the letters: C R B. I’ve had much worse, trust me. But when the universe speaks to you in the rich, powerful voice of James Earl Jones, you roll with it.

So with C R B already in the hopper and with it left completely up to me to provide the vowel or vowels, I will choose to curb my enthusiasm for the moment. I could crab about the humidity and how it makes my hair all frizzy and puffy. In my snack bag there were some carb options and I’m eating those with vigor. If there was a man-sized crib nearby, I would gladly hop in for a mid-morning nap. Rest assured I will not wear a crop top and expose my fish-belly whiteness. Wait, that was a P not a B. That’s no Bueno. For my final word usage in the C R B format, where the rules clearly state that you may not scramble these consonants and the first and last consonants must remain in their current order, I was going to cleverly throw out descriptions of a certain corb within my office building. But then that would probably entail me explaining the second, lesser known, definition of corb or run the risk of confusing people who are highly acquainted with the primary definition of corb, so scratch that.

To each and every one out there, I mildly implore you to take what each day gives you and make the best of it and if necessary, stretch the boundaries to make that little something extra happen.


** Please note that Webster’s Dictionary recognizes the existence of the word known as ‘corb’. However, does not. (shoulder shrug)


Sunken Ships and Parts Unknown

Good day! At least I’m pretty sure that’s what I meant as an intro. Forgive me as I am mentally running on just a few hours of sleep after a long night in the Cardinal Glennon (Children’s Hospital) ER to have Ayden’s broken arm ‘fixed’.

For some reason, I honestly do not remember at this point, I started thinking about ships underwater. Again I have no clue where the concept sprung from in my brain. So I did a Google search for “sunken ships”. For those who do not know me, I like to Google things I do not know much about or just to expand my current knowledge/ view point of said subject matter. The image search provided many cool and eerie pictures, some obviously from video games.

From there I started wondering, in this day and age of GPS and tracking devices, how many ships annually sink? Another Google search yielded a guess-timate: ‘an estimate of two dozen large ships sink or go missing ever year’ per Common causes for these ships to sink or completely disappear are but not limited to: severe weather, hull integrity, fire, collisions, running aground, attacks and intentional sinking (for man-made reefs or related purposes). In my estimation, pretty interesting stuff to digest.

Next I wanted to know an estimate of how many ships worldwide (from this Earth) have been sunk? According to UNESCO, there are an estimated 3,000,000 sunken ships in the oceans dating back 10,000 years. At this point, the Bermuda Triangle idea fell on me like a paper towel soaked in warm mayonnaise. Naturally I searched for the Bermuda Triangle (BT). But my first search was aimed at geography to see where it was actually located; I found out that the Bermuda Triangle stretches from Florida to Puerto Rico to (of course) Bermuda. The triangle is about 500,000 square miles. This numerical figure made me look up a quote attributed to Tom Hank’s character, Chuck Noland, from the movie Castaway.

Chuck Noland: That’s a search area of 500,000 square miles. That’s twice the size of Texas. They may never find us.

The Google information about the Bermuda Triangle, in addition to the countless planes that have disappeared, states that some 300 plus vessels have disappeared in the BT. So if you take the 500,000 square miles on the surface and factor in that parts of the BT are 3-5 miles deep…you can see why finding a plane or a ship would be like guessing the correct Powerball numbers combo to win the jackpot.

With this information now at tips of your brain synapses for your next social gathering, I bid you a fine tomorrow. Because of course, tomorrow is another day!

Peace…and slap-happiness to all!



On-line shopping

Sometimes when I get a little bored and have a few extra dollars to spend, I peruse on-line shopping websites such as Amazon, Ebay and to a lesser extent Facebook and Craigslist. The latter two I have had mostly negative experiences; either from trying to my sell my items or trying to purchase items that turned out to be damaged or not accurately portrayed in their descriptions or their pictures. 

But the other two shopping choices (Amazon and Ebay), I have had mostly positive experiences. In my opinion, I think this is because these two websites offer some sort of buyer protection that the former two really do not (except social media vigilante justice enforcement (jokingly kidding)). An aspect of Ebay and Amazon that can addict the buyer a bit is ‘suggested’ items based on the items you searched or bought. Looking at a PS4? How about these PS4 games? Or how about a classic Nintendo 64 system? Or a Super Mario inflatable costume for Halloween? Or a Freddy Krueger talking Frisbee? The purchasing possibilities are endless! 

Recently I purchased a replica 1984 WWF Hulk Hogan title belt (not the real deal but still nifty!), the first seasons of Game of Thrones (DVD not Blu-ray) and a couple Linkin Park CD’s. This buying activity occurred while I was looking for…actually I don’t remember what I was looking for. But it doesn’t matter because every once in a while you just need to mindlessly blow off some financial steam with a completely un-necessary purchase to support our free commerce system. 

Hopefully everyone is enjoying their Monday and avoiding drama and controversy. If you are interested in controversy and shenanigans, please Google search my podcast using the search terms: ‘podbean’ and ‘the freak show’. As usual you can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. 

Have a Monday that compares to the greatest Mondays of all-time!! #GOATMonday



Make that joke

Sometimes what a situation needs is a joke. Standing next to the casket and the deceased is smiling. A thought steals across your brain. This guy is smiling because he doesn’t have to deal with Facebook anymore! Bwahaha.

Inappropriate humor is my strong suit. Grossly inappropriate humor at that. I cannot help myself. I think wicked and clever things (at least in my mind). Luckily I have learned to suppress expressing these thoughts aloud or in writing to not offend the overly religious, elderly, ugly, family oriented, short, tall, disabled, racially different, snooty, Hoosiery and easily butthurt individuals. Most days the thoughts discarded are enough to make my tongue bleed from biting it lest the evil, evil words be loosed upon humanity. OK truth be told I think a lot of stupid things that make me giggle and most people would just cock their heads sideways and say “Huh?” As long as I am amused, it doesn’t matter what other people think! This is a mantra I have embraced for years. Occasionally a warped soul will endear themselves to me and I will loop them in on something I am thinking to test the waters. If they laugh or high-five me, they are granted access to the inner circle…if they make a face opposite of a smile or stare blankly, I quickly change the subject or flee the vicinity. My friend Mel is one of the few people who have been granted inner circle VIP status. We love pets and value them more than most people. I am always on the lookout for a few good people who know sarcasm and how to practice its dark arts.

So as you traverse the precious few days remaining in September 2017, I bid you adieu, to you and you and you. The hills are alive with the sound of haters. So maybe TuPac’s ghost will come down from his secret mansion and fart in your mouth while you sleep if you are a non-believer of the sarcasm. This is a powerful religion and all those who embrace it, will be given everlasting entertainment. Can I get an amen or at least some Top Ramen?


Odd Bucket List Stuff

Good morning and a most pleasant Friday to you!

 Today we are talking about bucket list stuff or at least one item on my bucket list. Some people want to swim with the dolphins (or sharks), some want to run a marathon, some want to meet movie stars, some want to jump out of an airplane, some want to get their 15 minutes of fame, and so on and so forth. For me, there are many things on this virtual list. One of them is that I want to travel to Tehachapi, California and see all those wind turbines!

 I’m sensing I may have caused quite a few people to blink several times at reading that last sentence. Do not adjust your eyes or over-think what I said. Yes it may not sound all that much of a thrill-seeking or death defying event but seeing about 5,000 wind turbines would be pretty neat. And as a bonus, visiting the Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm in Tahachapi, California would accomplish a second thing on my bucket list: visiting California. Just so you know, every single time I read, write or say the word California, I hear in my head former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger say: Collie-Four-Knee-Uh.

 OK so where did this weird desire to travel west and see these wind turbines spring from? Oddly enough, I think from the 80’s movie Karate Kid. A tale about a Jersey kid being moved to the left coast as his mother pursues a new career and a new life. Ralph Macchio, as Daniel Larusso, embodies an awkward, dorky loser who leverages the karate teachings of his friend and mentor Mr. Miyagi (may he rest in peace) to overcome the bullies and win the fair maiden! During the opening minutes of the movie, while he and his mother are driving to their new home, I swear there is a scene where the backdrop is the Tehachapi Pass wind turbines…or it could’ve come from Beverly Hills Cop. I’m not 100% sure as it was more than 30 years ago. Gawd, that hurt to type that. How is Karate Kid (the original) more than 30 years old? These are the end times my friends!

 Regardless of the genesis of the wind turbines fascination, I would like to check them out and stay nearby for like a whole week. A Collie-Four-Knee-Uh vacation would be delightful and if those darn Powerball numbers would stop being so elusive, I could make this happen!

 Before I forget, happy first day of Autumn! The 2017 version of summer has exited stage left. But left behind as a curtain call (not the Eminem album) is summer-like heat here in the Midwest. It is supposed to be in the mid-90’s today temperature-wise. Too bad all the pools closed weeks ago. Bummer dude.

 To everyone who has diligently and faithfully been my reader, thank you. Hopefully there is now and always will be some content for you to enjoy. Have a great weekend and Go Tribe!!



Kluber vs. Sale – An American League CY Young Discussion

Happy Spiffy Goodish Day!

First off, obviously I am a bit biased as I am a Cleveland Indians fan AND I dislike the Boston Red Sox. Throw into the mix that Chris Sale came from the Chicago White Sox, a hated AL Central Division foe, and the appearance of my bias solidifies even more. To a certain extent I cannot deny these allegations. But for the record, I can see and argue a case for both pitchers. Now, let the nitpicking contest begin!

Both have had dominant seasons. Kluber’s season has a small caveat in that he missed three weeks in May with a DL (Disabled List) stint. Some could argue that the ‘time off’ has helped him recharge, whereas Chris Sale has not missed a single start this season. But even so, their stat-lines are very comparable. Presently Kluber is about 40 strikeouts behind Sale but his other numbers are relative to Sale’s (lower) in: walks allowed and runs allowed in about 19 less innings. They both boast 17 personal victories and for their respective teams, the team winning percentage is above .700 in games in which they start. Sale had slightly more run support in his starts (5.6 vs 5.2) but like I said, at this point it’s just nitpicking.

If we look at the stretch run of August and September, Kluber is 9-1 (team 9-1) and only had one game where he allowed 3 runs (or more) and walked more than one batter (the only game he lost, 3 ER 2 BB). For Sale in August and September, he is 4-3 (team 7-3). He had five games of 3 or more runs allowed and four games where he walked multiple batters. Even so, this is not horrible for Sale’s case within the context of his 2017 body of work. If we annex the month of July to try to illuminate an argument one way or the other for the two pitchers, Sale was 3-1 (team 3-2). But in the games he pitched, he only allowed runs (4) in one of those five starts covering 34 2/3 innings (the bullpen did give up some runs after he left). In Kluber’s five July starts, he was 1-1 (team 2-3) and did not post any shutout games. He allowed only one run in three of those starts but did not receive much support until his last two starts in July.

During the season, both pitchers suffered losses by the count of 1-0 when their respective teams did not score. Sale’s longest personal winning streak in-season was 7 games. Kluber’s was/is five as of today including his current streak. Kluber also had another five game winning streak from July to August. Similar in each losing a 1-0 contest, both pitchers had their shortest outing of the year only last three innings. Both pitchers pitch for first place teams and are their respective team’s aces. One is left handed and one is right handed. With each pitcher probably only making two more starts in the regular season, how will this race finish out?

If you want to crunch and munch some numbers, I’ve attached a spreadsheet of some vital stats (in my opinion). Whether you are a baseball fan or not, hopefully you at least found the post and arguments contained herewith to be somewhat interesting.

Obviously I would like my guy (Klubot) to win but I honestly would not be terribly upset if Sale would take the crown. I would much prefer Sale to capture the Cy Young Award but Kluber and the Indians to capture the World Series title!

#GoTribe #Believeland #ChiefWahoo #CartoonIndiansForever #HeIsSmilingOnMyHat #ScrewYouRobManfred


Kluber-Sale Comparision 09212017


Flu Shots

Hello! Is it me you’re looking for?

Why yes, Lionel Richie I have been looking for you. But to quote the band U2, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for”.

With some silly shenanigans dispensed with, let’s talk about flu shots. Do you get them? How many times have you gotten them? Do you look down on people who do not get them? Are you secretly organizing a movement to ostracize people who do not get the flu shot (free or otherwise)? Let’s put all of our Uno cards on the table and make this interesting.

The reason I bring flu shots up is because my work is offering free flu shots. Actually in recent years, most of my employers have either offered a free flu shot or a reduced cost version to their employees on site. To date, I have never accepted this offer of mass produced safeguard. Why is that? My stock response: what for? Last time I have checked, I have been in existence (this time around) for 4.5 decades. As of today, zero flu shots for me. And to my recollection, I have not died. More to the point, in recent years I have rarely contracted the flu; even though it seems like everyone around me usually does – even the ones who get said flu shot. That is interesting don’t you think?

I mention this because it seems like every year when the flu shots are made available and peers ask if I’m getting one and I respond that I am not, they look at me like I just said “Madonna should really run for president of the United States next time around”. The only thing I could think to do to up the perplexed look factor for other would be to write on my hand, “Need a beef Jolly Rancher flavor” and repeatedly point to my hand. The disbelief and condescension in those looks is priceless when I acknowledge declining the Holy Grail of wellness maintenance. What? I don’t want this tiny injection of mystery goo that may or may not work with my immune system? Oh the madness! My ignorance! Somewhere the Umbrella Corporation powers that be are chuckling evilly and slowly rubbing their virtual palms together.

Now if there was an anti-Noro Virus shot…I would be first in line for that every time. That affliction was uber-nasty and I would never like to experience that again. But for the most part, me and the flu, we don’t really have too many issues. Also if there was a shot to prevent a season’s worth of headaches, I would do that one too. But for now, someone else is welcome to take my dose of the T-virus, uh I mean flu shot for me.

Is it just me or does it seem like flu shots seem to fall into ‘that’ category along with talking politics or religion? If you don’t want to offend some, you just don’t do it (talk about it). So I will take my own advice henceforth and not talk about Flu Shot Fight Club. I think if my life was made into a movie, Hollywood would cast SpongeBob to play me. Aim high! Who plays softball all over the sea: SpongeScott Square Pants! Who is cool and amusing as can be: SpongeScott Square Pants!

Hope everyone out there is having a stress-free Thursday and let’s all convene soon to discuss multi-level marketing as a basis for ill-gotten wealth.




Good morning!

For clarification, if needed, I am stating that I writing this post about the book/movie It – as in Stephen King’s It and not IT which is an abbreviation for Information Technology. Although I do imagine once or twice in his lifetime, Stephen King probably needed some sort of IT support and that could be construed as Stephen King’s IT. But I digress.

Stephen King is credited with having 59 of his books published. There are a few revisions of his earlier books that were republished and The Green Mile was initially published in six parts or mini-books and then published as one complete book. However you want to dice it up, the man has published 50+ unique books which is quite remarkable. Of those fifty plus books, I have read twenty. Of those twenty, eight were focused on The Dark Tower series and they were far and away my favorites of his that I read. Of the rest that I read, I really enjoyed The Eyes of the Dragon and Needful Things. The remainder were good but as is the norm with Stephen King, you can ask him what time it is and he will tell you how to build a clock. My meaning is that sometimes you don’t need forty-five words to describe something that could just as easily been said in ten. The one caveat to me liking all of his works is that I did not like Gerard’s Game. I mention this because I heard from Kristi’s aunt that Hollywood has made this book into a movie as well. Meh. The last physical book of Stephen King’s that I read was The Dark Tower: The Wind through the Keyhole (April 2012). Presently my girlfriend has a trio of his books on the shelf to read in the Finders Keepers series (Bill Hodges Trilogy?) but I have no real desire to read them.

With the lead up out of the way, let’s proceed. Sequentially, the thirteenth book written by Mr. King is titled: It. According to the inter-web, It was published in September 1986 and subsequently there was a movie produced in 1990, both featuring a demonic clown.

I am not here to give away spoilers or crucial plot points in case you plan on seeing the original movie or part one of the remake that is in theaters presently. Really I am just here to note that for the first time in my life, I saw the original It movie from the Amazon on Demand streaming service about week and a half ago. The book crawled out of the sewers in 1986, the movie in 1990; I’m just now seeing It. Back when I used to read a lot, I didn’t read the book. Upon hearing the synopsis, I had no interest in a scary clown tale. On a completely unrelated note, there is a movie called Vulgar from 2002 that also features a clown…but this movie is scary for completely different reasons.

OK steering back on topic. Why did I finally see this movie? Well because Kristi and Ayden wanted to watch it and I was like: Why the heck not? The original movie is two parts put together, so do not be surprised when the running time is well over three hours. This past Saturday night, Kristi, myself, her aunt and the lead singer for The Nightmare: An Alice Cooper Experience (see Facebook), went to go see Chapter One of the remake at the movie theater in Arnold, Missouri. It (the movie) was pretty good. Some scenes were a bit gorier than the original but the filmmakers made a few slight creative alterations to the original that kept my interest level peaked. If you like scary type stuff I would recommend It (the movie remake) whether you have seen the original or not.

On a personal note, I really love movies from the 80’s. It does not matter to me if they were movies actually made in the 80’s or just movies redone and set in the 80’s (see The Wedding Singer, Take Me Home Tonight, etc.). I’m guessing it’s the nostalgia factor or something but I find them amusing, even for some of the movies where the acting is awesomely bad. OK this PSA for 80’s movies is done.

Have a spectacularly tubular and Mondo day!


LinkedIn: Your Career’s Best Friend

Good morning and welcome to my WordPress blog. So far this month (September) I have not posted much content and for that I apologize. I will be reposting the six blog pieces I wrote (in a business format) for my previous employer that cover topics relating to my field of work and how I view my chosen profession. The blog posts have my quirky flavor of course but I try to remain on topic and support my views with my considerable years of experience.

As I have noted in my blog, on Facebook, on Twitter and on both of my podcasts, I have held three separate jobs this calendar year of 2017. The first change was for the promise of a better financial opportunity and work/life flexibility that did not fully come to fruition. The second change was more about revisiting a past opportunity missed and trying to put myself in a better place mentally in order to earn my living and support my family.

As I sit here today, mid-September, I reflect back on some of the things that have transpired. Beginning in late January I started receiving a steady stream of profile views and contact requests on LinkedIn. This activity was resulting from my efforts over the previous six months. Over those six months, I had sent many manual emails to headhunters and other people in my network of former co-workers and previous managers as I tried to transition from my tenuous position at Elsevier. In the contact emails I sent to these individuals, I had a short blurb about looking for a new opportunity and in my email signature I included a link to my LinkedIn profile.

Why was I trying to leave a job that I had held for nearly six years? Well in early 2014 the company swept the majority of the collections team out to sea by outsourcing the department functions to Manila as a cost-cutting move. On the Oracle team, only I and my boss survived the ‘cuts’. Over the course of the following twenty-four months, I heard whispers that the remaining workload would be shifted to Manila or consolidated some other way, making the St Louis staff obsolete. Feeling like the sand in the hourglass was nearly gone; I connected with a previous contact from Sara Lee and found a new employer. After a few months at the new employer, the honeymoon period was over. But the team was fun, the pay was adequate and the workload was steady so I finished out 2016 with the new company. As a mini-epilogue here, my suspicions were confirmed when I found out that Elsevier hired a former associate of mine to back-fill the position I vacated…only to eliminate that position months later.

Once the calendar flipped over to 2017, I was diligent in keeping my primary (business) social media presence updated: I was not actively pursuing an alternate employer but mostly I wanted to update my profile from my Elsevier tenure to the new employer. This minor tweak of my profile led to inquiries from numerous recruiters/employers and requests for me to interview for open positions. Most of these requests and offers I diverted to other people in my network who I knew were actively trying to find employment opportunities. One very persuasive recruiter through LinkedIn found me in late January; she sold me on her employment opening and the vast opportunity that could be. From there I signed on the non-dotted line and moved on. Unfortunately I had to leave my fun team at Laird for the prospect of greener pastures. During the first few months at the new place I was still getting 1-2 inquiries per week for similar positions. As before, I re-routed those opportunities to my network of people. Now the calendar got to be late June, right around my birthday time and things with the new company turned very sour. At the urging of the Human Resources director, I tried to work through the difficulties but the situation lingered and eventually deteriorated further over the following weeks. Luckily, I had been building my LinkedIn profile and adding content (see my reposts of the blog content I provided for the new employer’s blog page) so the next steps were fairly painless. In late July, I decided that I would try to stay below the radar with my employer and try to find a ‘better’ situation. Following the same formula as I had over the last year or so, I updated my resume and kept refreshing my LinkedIn profile. Just as before, the potential employer activity and inquires started to increase. Within three weeks I had seven or eight interviews (some were phone interviews). By the end of that three week period, I had an opportunity to re-interview for a position that I was actually offered and accepted back in Q4 of 2014. The position offer was never officially extended due to contract and staffing issues for this company. Now this same company was across the table from me and at the end of the interview, the interviewer offered me the position on the spot (pending required background check).

Obviously this winding and backtracking journey was made possible by my own due diligence. It proves that not everything is accomplished overnight but by understanding what had worked previously and doing a little something each day towards my goal, things could work out. At the nexus of my employment search was LinkedIn. It is a fantastic tool and it’s free. To all my friends, colleagues and countrymen (or countrywomen) I implore each of you to leverage the LinkedIn website. It’s like Facebook for potential employers. Yes it has some bells and whistles and yes the task may seem daunting but trust me it’s worth it. Just update a little every day. Do a section. Post something that makes you sound intelligent or profound (or post a quote from someone smart or profound). Know what you ultimately are striving for and in your profile be sure to use keywords that will get you noticed. If you are good at MS Excel spreadsheets, note that. If you can operate a model PL-1340 Metal Lathe – mention it! This is your ad space for yourself, a potential employer is waiting to be sold on you as an asset and your key words may tip them in your direction.

OK so that was my endorsement of the job networking site LinkedIn. It works, give it a try.

Have a great Monday.



Accounts Receivable Specialist as a career, how did I get here?

When I grow up I want be to an accounts receivable specialist…said no child ever.

If you would cruise through career day at any number of schools, you would be hard pressed to find any child who even remotely knew what the accounts receivable concept was. So how does someone go from: I want to be an astronaut or a baseball player to I want to be a bill collector in essence?

Often times for the person who asks the customer for past due monies, it is not a simple A to B journey. There are usually some forays into sales, customer service and accounting. These experiences can illuminate a universal business need and stability (for accounts receivable personnel) within companies of all sizes. Dabbling in these different areas brings a person into contact with a wide spectrum of personalities, work environments and work flow perspectives.

Quite naturally over the years, a large percentage of the people I have known and worked with in the collections genre are quirky and have their own dynamic character. Overall we like working with numbers and walking that line between customer service presence but also having the firm ground to ask for what is rightfully owed. Don’t get me wrong, some days are tougher than others but there’s a weird sense of accomplishment when you can align the tumblers just right and the external customer is satisfied along with the internal customer. If you can resolve the problem invoice or account and get them to a ‘clean’ status, it’s a good feeling. Just like any other facet of work, it may not be someone else’s cup of tea but a job well done brings a certain measure of pride and self-confidence.

Collections or accounts receivable is just like any other department but maybe a little kookier sometimes. We may have pictures of our families posted in our cubicles like everyone else, but possibly they are sitting right next to a Nerf ball or stress idol in plain view for those times when the problem solving is a notch above the norm.

I hope your week is treating you kindly. Please feel free to email me with any questions or feedback on this piece or if you would like to submit a topic or sub-topic pertaining to Accounts Receivable.

Until next time, may your projections do well and all of your milestones hit as expected.

— Scott Latta —

(Previously Published under my former employer’s Blog Site – 1 of 6)

Accounts Receivable – A Resolution Process Necessity

Good day and welcome to my blog.

Each and every company who has a customer base has a need for accounts receivable/collections personnel. For smaller companies, one person may wear many hats including the accounts receivable or collections department hat. For any business transaction that is not completed (paid) immediately, there is a follow-up process.

Stepping through the business process, you meet with a potential customer, identify a need, offer a business solution, ‘sell’ the customer on the value of your service or product, hash out the contract details, deliver on that product or service and finally, you need to be compensated for that service or product. Many casual observers think that once you get to that final step of submitting the bill, the company is in the clear and it’s smooth sailing.

Not so fast. There may still be some housekeeping items to mark off the list before the money hits your account. For the majority of companies, completing the transaction is just that simple. Mail a hard copy invoice or email a virtual invoice and payment is immediately disbursed and everyone is satisfied. However, for some larger companies or even medium to smaller companies the process can become stalled. This is where the Accounts Receivable Specialist steps into the spotlight.

At a previous employer I was a temporary employee interviewing for a position in the collections department. The director of collections, who was sitting across the table from me, said: “I’m not looking for a collector. I’m looking for a problem solver. Are you are problem solver?” For me, those two words boiled the job down to its essence. Once the sales and administrative work is completed and the invoicing process is rolled out, the collection specialist is the troubleshooter on the back-end. Sometimes there are no issues, the customer has everything they need, the payment shows up within credit terms and the invoices are invisible to most of the company. But sometimes something is just not right.

First off let me dispel some common misconceptions about accounts receivable people or collectors. We are not stereo-typical movie thugs from the 1920’s waiting outside of businesses to insinuate that the customers will have their limbs broken if payment is not received. Not even close. Today’s collections environment is highly electronic and virtual. Email is leveraged, along with phone calls, to the customer with no mention of ‘heavies’ being sent to anyone’s doorstep. This is business to business collections or as I have phrased it in the past “it’s customer service with an edge”. In today’s 24/7 non-stop virtual presence, reputation and professionalism are paramount. No matter who your customer is, they are also a potential reference for your business. In that vein, our job in collections is to communicate clearly and identify any issues. Once issues are identified, a logical process is essential. Sometimes all that is needed from a customer’s standpoint is a copy of an invoice or a document to be amended. But other times there are deeper issues like customer satisfaction, cash flow problems, change in personnel, modification of terms and many others.

This is where the collections specialist opens up that mental flow chart, figures out how to proceed and includes those who need to be included in the loop to help resolve the existing issues. Satisfying our external customers is just as important as satisfying our internal customers. We support those end-user customers with our products and services but also we serve our internal customers such as the sales teams and administrative teams who have serviced the projects or maintained the contracts in the accounting tracking system(s).

While most companies are not overly excited about having to have collections personnel, we do offer value in problem resolution and bottom line liquidation of the outstanding receivables. Beyond that we allow the other company personnel to maintain their roles and keep their focus on their primary duties instead of having to cover a facet of the business they may not be as comfortable doing. Regardless, the accounts receivable personnel tap into many facets of the business to try to keep the disruption to the (external) customers at a minimum and maintain a service level that translates as efficient and professional.

Hopefully, in the broad strokes of this piece I have conveyed a more complete picture of the accounts receivable process and maybe have allayed some concerns of how the company’s assets (internal / external customers) are taken care of with the big picture in mind.

I hope you are having a great day. Please feel free to email me with any questions or feedback on this piece or if you would like to submit a topic or sub-topic pertaining to Accounts Receivable.

Until next time, may all your accounts reconcile smoothly and accurately.

— Scott Latta —

(Previously Published under my former employer’s Blog Site – 2 of 6)

Leadership: A Vote of Confidence

Whether your professional life resides in an Accounts Receivable atmosphere or not, leadership is critical. A common misconception about collections or accounts receivable is that it’s strictly all about the numbers. While on the surface it may look like that, the reality is that leadership and communications experts are at work and the byproduct is the results.

For most people if you described a work day consisting of nothing but asking people for money and solving issues, you would probably get a lot of response to the effect of ‘no thanks’. Collections, whether in a consumer or business-to-business setting, takes a good bit of strategy, diplomacy and tenacity. Regardless of whether you are following all the rules and guidelines to collections 101, at times tensions will still rise. From a collector or accounts receivable specialist (or other applicable job title) perspective, it is imperative that you have a supervisor/manager who will have your back when those unavoidable sticky situations arise.

In the course of doing collections for more than two decades, I have run into many situations that for whatever reason became escalated. When that inevitability happens, it is nice to feel comfortable and secure in passing off an issue to a superior. If you have followed a reasonable and logical process, in a professional manner, to try to resolve an invoice or set of invoices with a customer and for whatever reason you need to get management involved, you want that confidence that you will be validated.

Most collectors systematically work their portfolios and the corresponding customers with an eye on collecting the outstanding items or moving known issues through the resolution process. Contrary to popular misconception, most collectors are not bullies. However, we are usually very good at debating and analyzing arguments. Each customer interaction is unique and many times we as collectors are walking into a situation facing the unknown. What is/are the reasons behind the customer’s delinquency? Did they simply never receive the invoice to process and pay? Are they experiencing financial difficulties? Was there a satisfaction issue with the product or service? There are 1001 examples of reasons why an invoice is unpaid. The collector cannot know 100% what he or she is walking into with an initial email or a call. For the most part, a large percentage of our interactions with our customers are pleasant and cordial; resolutions are then fairly quick and timely. But for those exceptions where the customer has an issue that has been a thorn in their side (from their perspective), an issue can escalate quickly and the need for supervisor/manager support is necessary.

Many times the supervisor/manager steps into the breach blindly without much background. Here is where that relationship between collector and management is critical. A good supervisor/manager will know how their employee conducts themselves and their track record. Unless there is some out-of-the-norm situation, that supervisor/manager can confidently say that the collector was acting in good faith and work on trying to diffuse the emotional issues from the customer side. As a collector we are simply trying to resolve a transaction. It’s not personal and we are just trying to complete the task at hand. A good supervisor/manager will understand that and leverage their elevated title to assure the customer that we are doing everything in a competent and reasonable manner.

Over the years I have had some great supervisors and managers. For me, two bosses come to mind immediately and they were both women. Both of these supervisors allowed me to work with autonomy but kept a strong open line of communication. Whether I was brain-storming on ideas or just venting on every day frustrations, they made me feel comfortable and validated my efforts. This isn’t to say I was always infallible in my efforts. Many times these two superiors would lead with positive feedback but also suggest opportunities to vary my approach and monitor the results for unique situations that may arise in the future.

Collections is not a one trick pony. Some people think you send an email or make a call and that’s all the tools you need to do the job. This could not be farther from the truth. Like all facets of life, you tend to learn something new every day, even if it may be a very small thing. Having an open mind keeps the job interesting and along with the successes makes it rewarding. Today’s world requires you to have a great deal of mental flexibility. Having a supportive and encouraging boss makes the challenging days bearable. From those struggles you forge a strong team vibe that can help you get through the harder times if and when they come along.

Hope your day is productive and your efforts are recognized. Having someone tell you ‘good job’ doesn’t show up in the paycheck but it helps fortify a person’s resolve, builds morale and costs the company nothing.

— Scott Latta —

(Previously Published under my former employer’s Blog Site – 3 of 6)

Adaptability in an Ever Changing Financial Services Landscape

Good day and greetings from the Financial Services area. For those who have read my previous blog entries, I would like to communicate a warm thank you and I hope to keep engaging your interest.

Even though I post under the category of Financial Services, I try to find a balance between business sensibilities but also try to inject some personality and perspective. Anyone can accumulate data supporting an argument and post tables with the corresponding graphs. I may do that from time to time as well but for the most part I like to leverage experiences to support my insights.

For example, I have been in and around the collections industry for more than two decades. To be able to do the job that I do with that longevity, logically speaking, I must be at least somewhat competent and effective in that role. I can remember sitting in different interviews for collections positions and being asked the gamut of stock interview questions. One of those open-ended questions that allows a person to reveal a little bit about themselves is: What makes you the best candidate for this position? There are a few variations on this question but basically the interviewer is asking you point blank, why do you think you are the best person for the job over anyone else. Over the years my answer has changed. It used to be creativity, meaning I think I can use my creativity to arrive at solutions that may roadblock others. Now in light of previous workplace experiences, that answer has changed to adaptability.

Why adaptability? If you look around, companies are not locking in and doing business the same way year in and year out. Companies offer employees more skill workshops, diversity workshops, inter-department collaboration, team building and all sorts of other methods mirroring successful competitor’s practices. In addition to the positive, there are negative factors as well.

In Corporate America today, the bottom line is always a topic at the forefront and sometimes this means reducing costs and finding cheaper alternatives. At one such stop in my career, I was tasked with training my outsourced replacement(s) from Manila. Not an ideal situation but you forge ahead as a professional and do the job as best as possible. Being adaptable even in the most difficult of situations will benefit you down the line. Also keeping a positive attitude in the face of adversity is a must in a fierce job market.

As I approach the six month mark in my current position, I am cognizant of the job I do and how I am viewed by peers. When possible, I am open to additional projects or duties that I may not have done before. The more skills, processes, environments and situations you are exposed to, the greater chance you have of being viewed as a valuable asset and adapting with that company.

On a baseball team, you will usually find one or two guys who are deemed ‘utility players’. These players are not usually the homerun hitters or the star first baseman but they are the teammates who can do a little bit of everything for a squad. They may play in the late innings for defense or come off the bench in a key situation when a big hit is needed. Those players are the most adaptable and every championship club has one or two of those players that make a big difference in the end.

I sincerely hope your month of August, like mine, has started off on a positive note. Please feel free to email me with any questions or feedback on this piece or if you would like to submit a topic or sub-topic pertaining to Accounts Receivable.

Until next time, may your all challenges turn into opportunities that benefit you for the next challenge.

— Scott Latta —

(Previously Published under my former employer’s Blog Site – 4 of 6)