Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Well it's been too long since I last blogged. Sometimes life gets in the way of your best intentions. I've been hobbling around lately because I sprained my ankle last wednesday night playing basketball. This sucked for any number of reasons the first and foremost being that I was unable to play in my league championship the next night and we got smoked. Oh well, some things happen and you can't do anything about it. The swelling is finally starting to subside and the beautiful purples and reds are fading to pleasant autumnal yellows. It's like New England on the outside of my ankle. If I can figure out how to place a picture within the blog I'll post a pic of my ankle at its most grotesque. It's starting to feel better but I don't imagine that I'll play ball for at least another week. Riding the bike is less problematic with the exception that I'm unable to clip out of my SPD's with my right foot.

Business here is picking up. The pace has definitely increased. This is a blessing and a curse. It makes covering the work a bit more challenging during the peak times of the day. Because the challenges only occur at those peak times it makes the decision to hire or not to hire a bit more challenging. Essentially we're talking about being well staffed during the 2 two hour peak periods (one in the AM and one in the PM) but well over staffed during the other times. I'm simply starting to feel like the crew that's on the road is simply too stretched. Match that with a couple of riders who I find to be less than ideal in their performance and the recipe for disaster is written. Thus I'm leaning towards hiring a new rider. Because we use "free call" dispatch here it's very important to pay attention to personality as well as experience/rider ability. New hires need to be able to work well with co-workers in a cooperative environment that encourages a hire degree of interaction. Fortunately, we have a tremendous number of people of interested in being employed by Jetset, so we have a good pool of applicants to select from.

We've been challenged on the driver front as well lately. This is mostly because one of our drivers is a musician and has been on tour for the last 2 months. He comes back in about 10 days and his return will take the pressure off the other drivers, though their paychecks have certainly been very good in his absence. It seems to me like staffing is a constant source of complaint and praise for me. This is partially because I'm in charge of scheduling and making sure the road runs as efficiently and smoothly as possible so it's always at the front of my mind when I'm blogging about work. But in the messenger biz it's also true that signifigant increases in business need to be matched by a prepared road crew or service failure is inevitable. It's almost pointless to successfully get a new $5000 a month account if the road is ill prepared to deal with the new volume of work. You've set yourself up for failure. It's a delicate balancing act that we've struggled with since we started the company. It's better than the dot com boom when we had way too much work and a very limited pool of talent to draw from because everyone was well employed. In these marginal economic times we have a huge employment pool but limited business oppurtunities. It's never easy is it.

I recently saw a movie called "North Fork". It's an odd little picture made by the Polish Brothers. They also made "Twin Falls Idaho" which was a real good quirky film. I don't mean quirky as a derogatory term but I'm not sure how else to refer to their films which are not mainstream but also not as marginal as many indie films. I found "North Fork" to be really odd and disjointed the first time I saw it. But on subsequent viewings (thank God for Netflix) I found more and more to like. In the same way that a really good record often won't reward the listener until after repeated spins, I found more and more to like about "North Fork" each time I viewed. It was as if each viewing peeled away another layer. Very satisfying experience. I recommend it.
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