Work/Life Balance… I just want my dishwasher fixed


Now with extra cleaning power!

I’ve reached the point in my life where I’m outsourcing things I never thought I would.  Sure, we all typically “outsource” things like our haircuts, hemming or shoemaking.  Some outsource their housecleaning.  I’ve taken it to the next level, folks.  I’m outsourcing the waiting game.

A few weeks ago my home phone stopped working.  After huffing to the customer service rep (on my cell phone), I had to concede to a technician visiting my home in a week, anywhere between 9am-12pm.  On the same day, I was having a new mattress delivered, again anywhere between 9am-12pm but at least I would be forewarned when the truck was close by.

Fast forward to the next week, I had my new dishwasher installed only to be told that the dishwasher is faulty and that I shouldn’t use it until I call in for service.  Following warranty protocol, I called the approved list of service providers.   Turns out every place I called is open from 8:30am – 5pm, Monday through Friday, and requires that I book out at least a week.

Hmmmm… first challenge is trying to get stuff done in my life while earning a living.  Second challenge is that while these places can guarantee which day they will come, they can’t even tell you an approximate time.  Essentially you could be sitting around and wasting away for 8 hours before you see anyone.

You see where I’m going with this!  Basically, if you work full-time with a regular office schedule, the only way you can get anything in your home fixed is to:

  • work from home
  • take a vacation day
  • call in fake sick (something Gary would never do!)
  • buy paper plates and swear off any modern technologies, like the telephone

Here is the greatest risk to labour productivity known to mankind.  Forget employee illness – what can we do to keep employees working while they get their home stuff done?

My answer is to outsource the waiting game.  I simply approached a few retirees in my building and in return for them being available to open my apartment door at anytime, I pay them.  They earn extra cash, I get to go to work.

Let’s get more creative with managing the work/life balance thing.  Entertain me for a moment while I offer ideas to get stuff done while maintaining productivity at work:

  1. Petition the government to force service companies to guarantee service times or at least offer priority spots for a premium.
  2. Create a Craigslist of sorts where you can post your waiting game challenge and pre-screened folks who want to sit on your couch all day bid on your time slot.
  3. Companies offer “dishwasher days” for those times when you really do have to sit around and wait for someone to show up.  You get the time off and make it up later or just take it unpaid.  Either way, the company takes less of a hit on productivity and you don’t have to pretend to cough in your phone.
  4. Get a spouse or a significant other.  According to Jack Welch, it’s either the career or the life but never both.  He took care of the career part and his wife took care of the kids and home.

The revered JW is shockingly offensive here and I’m not about to take me a husband just to have a clean kitchen or a dial tone.  Time for the service call revolution.


2 Responses

  1. I doubt any of the powerful women mentioned stayed home to deal with the dishwasher (or the kids for that matter). And, as uncomfortable as we are with JW’s statements, there is a kernel of truth in there. If both parents are climbing the corporate ladder, then there is ALWAYS someone at home paid to watch the kids and likely to deal with the dishwasher repairman, too. Superwoman is a myth.

  2. Hey very nice blog!!….I’m an instant fan, I have bookmarked you and I’ll be checking back on a regular….See ya

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