It's Macarena Time!
by The Sage
Note: The publisher would like our readers to know that The Sage is a demented old gossip who enjoys ranting in the public forum. No rationale person could possibly take the advice or gossip seriously, even though The Sage claims to be someone who "knows all and tells all." Also, the visage of The Sage shown here is only representative. In fact, we have no idea if The Sage actually has a beard or appears contemplative in person.
©1997 911 Dispatch Services, Inc.
I work in a comm center that requires two dispatchers per shift. Several of us are tired of two senior dispatchers who find it their place to know all and control all. I can never do a thing in the room without one of them wanting to know what I just did or whom I just spoke to...or one of them explaining step by step how they like to see things done. Mind you, I am no inexperienced dispatcher I have tried bringing it to their attention. One replies she is either a.) Just nosy (her words) or b.) Just trying to help. The other believes she is above all criticism herself. I am tired of being given directives 40 hours a week...so much so that I look forward to the lady who calls 911 to ask how to properly dispose of dryer sheets, (true story) but at least then I laugh!!! Help me before I am...
Dispatcher Gone Postal
You didn't mention how your comm center is supervised--or if one of these women is your supervisor! Either way, I can tell it's affecting your ability to work effectively, so I'd ask your supervisor for a "moderated meeting" with one or both of the women. I'd set out very clearly that, "Comm centers are such confined workplaces, we all have to be sensitive to the privacy of others. It makes me feel uncomfortable when you ask me about my private business. So please don't ask me questions while we're on duty." Hopefully, this clears the air. Oh, just be sure that you reciprocate by not asking questions about their private business.
Bug Squashing: For those using Centracom CRT-style consoles and who have multi-transmitter sites, I've located some programming code that insiders say sometimes locks up the console and mutes received audio. The dispatcher has to press the XMIT key to unlock the whole thing, if they notice that something's wrong. It's not a big problem, but apparently it's one that Motorola knows about but hasn't taken a few minutes to track down and stomp out. Keep your eye on that BUSY light, OK?
(I took your advice, Sage)...Sure enough, the next day all 10 pages of your "911 Do's and Don'ts" had been ripped down. I responded to that action with an e-mail to the entire office asking whomever was sabotaging my efforts to educate myself and those around me to cease. This generated only 2 replies, to which I had to reply. After the second e-mail I sent, it was amazing the change in attitude of the offending parties. They were very, very nice to me, and I think I gained some respect I didn't have before by keeping my head, approaching the situation with a bit of humor, and by not backing down from what I believe is important. Overall I feel I won that battle, and now I post things there and nobody touches them except to read. The best part is now the back of the door has become a point of interest, and everyone checks there to see what I'm up to this week.
Thanks for the update. The Sage is wise, yes? Now, can you and I discuss the national debt?
Slow Moving: My crystal ball shows the license-free, 902-928 MHz band to be very active. My SoCal dispy says a LAPD bigwig is pointing to the Metricom wireless data network for 760 mobile data computers (they call it "Field Capture Mobile Data Project"). But get this--Metricom doesn't even have network coverage in LA! Even worse, Metricom's spread-spectrum technology using 162 channels is unreliable when a patrol car vehicle travels over 6 m.p.h.! Willie, tell me it isn't true!
I'm a 911 director in (deleted). I am constantly frustrated with the people and laws that cover 911 issues. As a small rural county...we are expected to conduct the same business dispatching and taking calls as those larger metropolitan counties. Where will it end? Are the people, buildings and incidents any less important in a rural county than in a large metropolitan county. Not to those involved!! We are asked to accomplish the exact same tasks and maintain the same training, knowledge, and equipment as our brothers and sisters in the larger populated areas. People out there on the street have no idea of where and how the 911 dispatcher fits into the spectrum of aiding people in the time(s) they need it. How do we as public servants complete this heavy responsibility? We do the best we can and take care of the situations as they arise. We put up with complaints from the general public and the agencies we dispatch and very seldom get a "thank you" or a pat on the back saying good job.
Squeeze Play: I'm not much for book plugs, but this book hasn't been written yet. Francis X. Holt wants to hear about the most stressful parts of the job. While teaching stress management classes, he discovered that supervisors and dispatchers have a different perspective on what causes stress. You can send him your hairy stories as P.O. Box 644, Wolfeboro Falls, NH 03896.
I'm A Spice Girl!