When we're expecting a six-figure check from the state, and we're right in the middle of the approval process, I get a little edgy. So when I phone the Boss to talk about a problem with the pay request, I don't expect him to put me on permanent hold.
Maybe I should expect it, but I don't. I always think he ought to realize that the only time I ever call him is if there's something I need rightthisminute. I'd already faxed him a copy of the pay request, with the math error made by the state's project manager clearly marked.
So when he said, "Hold on," and then five minutes later said, "I'll call you right back," I wasn't happy. I was, in fact, unhappy enough to put my fist through the wall. It's a good thing the walls here are sturdier and thicker than at my old place, where I did in fact once put my fist through one. (Thank goodness there are carpenters in the family.)
This was a big deal to me. The company is so cash poor right now that I'm writing notes with the payments I make to suppliers, asking them to confirm with me before depositing their checks. We have two big payments "out there," already approved and supposedly being processed. This one today was the third, and that money will really come in handy.
So I didn't want to hear "I'll call you right back," especially since I know the actual value of that phrase when it comes out of the Boss's mouth.
What I needed to know was his opinion about whether to correct the state's error. The project manager wrote the payment form, and the numbers don't add up. If we bring it to his attention, it could delay the processing. If we don't, the accounting department will probably find it and delay the processing further down the line. As usual, I was of two minds. I just couldn't figure out how to do it both ways.
I did wait for about twenty minutes for the Boss to call back before I stormed out the door to do my morning errands. I have a small window of time when I can be away from the phones, and I have to take advantage. When I returned there was a message on the machine, with a limp apology and a promise to be available the next time I call.
If the error hadn't been in our favor, we would have made a lot of noise, even at the expense of a costly delay. The error committed the state to paying us more than they want to pay us (although still less than we think they should, but that's another problem altogether). It's only a progress payment, so any shortages either way can be made up when we get our final payment in another three months.
So the Boss decided we wouldn't mention the error. I signed the pay request form and faxed it back to the state. It was only about an hour and a half later than all this would have been dealt with if the Boss hadn't been busy on his other phone lines, and since the rest of the process is so painfully slow it hardly matters anyway. But it matters to me, because when something like this comes up, I need it handled now, to be sure the walls stay intact.