Assume At Your Own Risk

apple store logoby Joe Wallace

I try not to run excessively negative pieces here on FZ. Once upon a time I really let things rip, whenever I felt the urge. But I’ve been leaning toward more constructive writing and less towards venting my spleen, thinking of the value added and time invested rather than self-gratification in print at the expense of whatever bozo has been irritating me at the moment.

But rules are made to be broken.

Today I had to venture out of my Lincoln Square writer’s hideout into downtown Chicago to hit the Apple Store. I needed a replacement battery for my 15-inch Macbook Pro and didn’t feel like waiting out a delivery time of an online order.

I was tired, not quite caffeinated and unwilling to search the store for replacement batteries, so when I got to the Michigan Avenue Apple Store, I went right to an Apple-shirted employee and aksed for a 15-inch Macbook battery.

She promptly reached into a shelving unit and pulled out a box that was far too long and skinny to be the 15-inch Macbook Pro battery I needed. The box clearly said “15-inch replacement battery” but it was the NEW one, not the OLD SCHOOL version I needed for the model I purchased in 2007.

I asked if that was the right one and the rep looked at the box. It never occurred to this person to ask if I had an OLD Macbook or a NEW one.

I realize this is grousing over a mistake any barely trained McJob zombie could make, but my real point is that it’s never safe to assume people who are SUPPOSED to be in the know actually know what they’re doing.

dangers of assuming on freelance jobs

One freelancer I know had to fight upper management because they wanted to make fundamental changes on a website that basically undermined all the work my freelance friend had done–at their insistence–to drive traffic to the site.

“Don’t change anything!” My friend begged them, “You’ve been on me to make this happen and now that traffic is coming the way you want it, your newfangled changes will make that traffic disappear overnight!”

The changes went through in spite of his advice. Sure enough, traffic died overnight to the crucial areas of the website my friend was responsible for. “Ahh well,” he thought to himself, assuming that they would see the error of their ways once the numbers plunged as predicted.

After all, they OBSESSED over the numbers. They looked every day many times to see what trends were rolling, what posts affected which trends, the whole nine yards.

But his assumption was bad–instead of seeing a direct cause and effect correlation between those newfangled changes and the sudden loss of page views, management called my friend to ask “Why aren’t you doing your job?”

My friend fired his employers and went to work for people who were slightly less crazy.