Mama’s Left The Building

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I worked long and hard before I retired. I was the administrator of a
small company and wore many hats. Over the decades people
acquired the habit of “Just ask Susan!” whenever they had a problem
that needed some, hell any, intervention. I played the role of human
resources manager, contracts manager, marketing manager,
administrative manager, executive manager, and on and on. Some of
the roles were what I actually got paid for but more were because
people became increasingly dependant on my ability to cut through all
the bull**** and use common sense to stop problems. Ever since I’ve
retired I have gotten lots of whiney phone calls. Not as often as when I
was M-F 8-5 but enough to disrupt my exercise and recreational
routines. I like these people but they need to grow up. What should I

Mama’s Left The Building

Dear Mama:

You can deal with them one-on- one or as a group. I’d start with one-
on-one, but in a very consistent manner. If your former company is
like most others, there are groups of allies and cliques and as one
person from each circle approaches you and gets a similar answer, the
word will spread. If necessary you could send a group email, but it
seems like overkill for the short-run. But of course it’s not my phone
that’s ringing with needy whiners.

Caller ID is great. Let people leave messages rather than delivering
the no thank you news voice-to- voice. Then respond with an email:
Dear ____: Thanks for the call. I’m sorry you’re having a problem with
______. I’m actually retired, but here’s my two cents about where to
start. Use your common sense. Talk to the person on the other side of
your problem directly. Ask what’s they key issue preventing closure
and be prepared to disclose your own. Keep talking until you identify
an option that’s acceptable to both of you. If you can’t, go to [Big
Boss]. Either s/he can fix it, or you can suggest hiring me. My new
consulting rate is $50-$100 an hour. I have faith in you to choose the
right solution.