The importance of reliability

26 September 2016

Ever since I left school, I have always known how important reliability is. No-one ever sat me down and told me why, or the consequences of not being, but it was instilled in me during my youth by the adults around me. And so, when I was of an age to be employed, I made sure that I would be labelled as a ‘reliable worker‘ (as well as industrious, enthusiastic and a number of other descriptive words….)

In my career, sick days were scarce and in my whole teaching career, I had just 3.5 days off when I slipped a disc in my back and literally couldn’t walk without excruciating pain. Now, I am ‘self-employed’, that work ethic is even more crucial. Clients rely on us to deliver. These last few days have shown me just how reliant we are on others to deliver and how irritating it is when ‘they’ don’t.

On Saturday, I was chatting to a new business contact online and we were discussing some tracing work in Scotland. “No problem”, I said…. “I’ll get onto that right away”. Oh no you won’t! The ScotlandsPeople website is under maintenance while they migrate all their records to the new website. The message over the weekend was that the site would return today (Monday). Nope. “While every effort has been made to make the new website available as quickly as possible, the scale of the project means that we need a bit more time to test the new site and satisfy ourselves that it is completely ready for launch”. Grr…

Turning my attention to ordering certificates from the General Register Office, I was aghast on Friday to discover that the business debit card had been declined. Upon telephoning the bank, they advised me that the issue was not with the card but with WorldPay which had declined the payment. Onward to contact GRO directly: “Oh yes, we are aware of the problem. It’s intermittent. Keep trying to pay for the certificates and it should [eventually] work”. So, I continue to try on Friday and Saturday and Sunday and Monday…. until I have clocked up THIRTY attempts to pay for certificates, causing some members of the team to joke that perhaps our competitors were trying to stop us from ordering them! Still the problem continued, even when trying to order over the telephone and eventually, a manual workaround was devised so the order could be processed. Thanks WorldPay for turning what should have been two five minute online orders into well over an hour of hassle.

And then, there is BT. My least favourite company at the best of times…. but the only company (BT Openreach) who can sort out commercial telephone and broadband…. (so I am told). Guess what? That’s the only two things we need now before we can open the office properly and it’s taking an absolute age! The physical line is already there…. how hard is it to ‘switch it on’? OK, I am sure it’s a bit more complicated than that but it shouldn’t take this long!

Other than tethering laptops to mobile hotspots, if anyone can help with solutions for short-term Wifi provision, oh my goodness we would be pleased to hear from you….

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