Apprenticeship Week 3

It’s already been three weeks that I’ve worked at Original One Parts.

Projects this Week

Early in the week I finished the Hubspot/Salespad project I was assigned my first week. I have no more paperwork from old orders to deal with!

After I finished that, I was asked to sort a spreadsheet with all of our part numbers and descriptions indicating the type of part it is. Ever single item sku and number code was listed. I had to delete all but one of each letter code and change the description to just have the part that letter code refers to. There were over 1000 rows in the sheet initially and now there are fewer than 200. They were also all in lowercase, so I learned how to use =upper, =lower, and =proper in Excel to change that.

The next day, I was assigned a spreadsheet of Kayce’s previous calls to go through. I have to add the date, her initials, and her call notes to the Salespad CRM tab. When I finish this it’s possible I’ll do the same for old daily call logs but I’m not sure.

Things I Learned this Week

I’ve gotten more comfortable answering the phone and feel confident in doing so. This week I learned how to get information to process a return, pay an invoice, and send pictures of surplus parts.

Other Updates

Thursday on my way home from work traffic was backed up and it was very stop and go. I stopped in an exit lane to get from one highway to another, and the car behind me didn’t slow down fast enough. I got rear ended. No one got hurt, but the front of their car got bent up pretty bad, and my rear end needs replaced and the exhaust is rubbing.

I didn’t go in Friday so I could talk to my insurance company and the body shop that will be handling my repairs.

Next week because of Memorial Day I will be working Tuesday through Friday.

Apprenticeship Week 2

Yesterday I finished my second week at Original One Parts!

Learning Inbound Calls

This week I started learning how to take inbound calls.

Monday I read the training material but didn’t actually answer the phone. Tuesday I took my first couple calls. Wednesday through Friday I took more calls and got more comfortable. I still have a lot to learn but I’ve learned from listening to the rest of the team take and make calls and taking some calls myself.

I was not walked through our process for recording the calls we take, but I figured it out. Tuesday and Wednesday I hadn’t been told I needed to put the calls I take on the log, but Thursday and Friday I realized it’s a great way to show my work in addition to it being important for the team.

We put in our initials, the name of the person who called, the insurance company they’re associated with (if it’s an insurance company rep calling us), the part they called about, the price of that part, and any notes from the call.

Hubspot and Salespad Account Information Project

I continued last week’s project of going through old orders and updating accounts in Hubspot and Salespad accordingly. I’m almost finished going through the previous sales team member’s papers to complete this project.

When I find duplicate accounts in Salespad, which happens frequently, I was emailing Tim, who is able to merge them. There’s a high volume, though, and sometimes he is unable to merge accounts because they’re both/all connected to CCC (a parts ordering platform) and have different ID numbers. To make it easier for him to see what needs done and keep track of what’s been merged and what the new account numbers are, I made a spreadsheet. I have the company name, the new account number, the accounts that need merged, and a spot for notes about the accounts or why they can’t be merged if they can’t.

Other Places I See to Create Value

I found out this week that our marketing “team” is just Kyle. He was working in the sales office some this week and I learned that he gets anything somewhat marketing related put on his plate and he’s the whole department. Once I master my position and am great at taking inbound calls and possibly starting to learn outbound calls, I want to leverage myself to take up some of Kyle’s extra work. I wanted to find a marketing position for my apprenticeship and this could be a good way to get my feet wet and start learning while also freeing up Kyle to do more of his more important tasks.

Learning Japanese with Duolingo – 1 Month

Alyssa Wright shares what she has learned in Japanese using Duolingo for just over a month.

I’ve been learning Japanese on Duolingo for about a month now. I’ve taken it slow, taking my time so what I learn sticks.

I’ve learned some handy basics so far, but the coolest thing I’ve done is make this meme:

I shared in on Twitter when I created it, and actually received correction to the text I had. I had a mistake before, but I also had a chance to learn from and correct that mistake.

I remember reading that Japanese fluency requires knowledge of about 2000 kanji the last time I started learning some Japanese. With Duolingo, in just a month a learned 19 to get me started.

  • 水 (water)
  • 食べ (eat)
  • 中国 (China)
  • 日本 (Japan, can be paired with 語 to be Japanese)
  • 飲む (drink)
  • 人 (used in constructions to say someone is from a place)
  • 学生 (student)
  • 先生 (teacher)
  • 私 (I)
  • 語 (language)
  • 何 (what)
  • 英 (English)
  • 名 (name)
  • 一 (one)
  • 二 (two)
  • 三 (three)
  • 時 (time)
  • 今 (now)
  • 分 (minutes)

There should be one more on the list but I forgot what it meant and how to use it. So I have some review to do to there.

Japanese is definitely a difficult language to learn, but I’m making progress. In one month I learned how to talk about being from certain places, how to talk about time, and how to talk about food. Now I just need to learn how to ask about the bathroom and I’ll be all set!

This was just my first month of learning Japanese using solely Duolingo. As I progress I plan to incorporate other resources such as Tofugu, Youtube videos teaching Japanese, and videos from Japanese people in Japanese.

“Rock Climbing” (Poem)

A short narrative poem by Alyssa Wright about someone practicing rock climbing.

A glance up,
A glance down inverts my stomach.
First the right hand, then the left.
Now the right foot, now the left.
On and on and on,
Up and up and up
I go, looking down no more.
The bell! Yes, the bell!
Ring, ring, ring!
Triumphantly, I rappel down the side
of the rock climbing wall.

“Songbird’s Haunting Death Song” (Poem)

A short narrative poem by Alyssa Wright about a songbird who sings of Death, Nightmare, and Danger.

The Songbird sang her sonnet,
A darkly melodious tune, tinted
by ominous and haunting swoons.
Soon she’s found herself an audience,
drawn by her curious tune:
He draws nigh,
He comes close
In the night,
Coming by to
Bear you home.
It is of Death she does so speak,
though Death’s duration she cannot leak.
Her sonnet moves on with her enraptured watchers,
Singing first again of Death then moving
To hauntingly mention Nightmare.
Then darkening her tone with the twilight,
her melody moans of Danger’s lurking near.
Enraptured becomes terrified and gone-all are the listeners,
just as Songbird finishes her last moon.

Being Wrong but Useful

Alyssa Wright reflects on how creating value and being right don’t always align. Beliefs shape lives, but the utility of those beliefs is often more important than their truth.

We all want to be right, to have a true understanding and right perspective on the world around us. We look around at different perspectives that clash with our own and think those people are ignorant, stupid, or evil. We look into the past and see all the times people were wrong and laugh at how stupid they were.

But in the future, people will look back and laugh at us and how stupid we are. Are, as in right now in this current moment. We are wrong about a lot of things, and don’t even know it. Probably a majority of what we believe to be true isn’t.

In some cases, our wrong beliefs have a functionality. If they have enough sense, they cohere with the rest of our understanding of the world. In science, models are simplifications of reality. In the past, models for atoms were incorrect or an oversimplification. But in high school chemistry class we still learn about Bohr’s model of the atom before we learn about the more complex, more current models. Because there’s a usefulness in the wrongness. The model is inaccurate, but it helps simplify the concept so it is comprehensible.

For this post, I’m drawing from two videos. “On being wrong,” a TED talk by Kathryn Shulz, and “You have no idea how wrong you are,” a video I watched during Praxis last month.

We’re wrong, a lot. Kathryn Shulz said in her talk, “Being wrong feels like being right.” And it does, until or unless we realize we’re wrong. But in the realm of religion or philosophy or etiquette or any number of other things, we will never know if or that we’re wrong. We can change our minds, sure, and think we used to be wrong in what we believed, but we can’t know.

For example, I don’t believe in any god or gods. But a lot of people do. I used to. I don’t know if I’m right or if some of the people who believe in a god or gods are right. I could very easily be wrong. They could very easily be wrong. Everyone is probably wrong. And we’ll never know what’s right. But what we believe is right shapes our lives.

That most of what we think and believe is true doesn’t entirely matter. Most of it is probably wrong. Whether it works and makes sense in relation to what we know and understand of the world matters. Though most of our understanding is probably very wrong. But it works, just like Bohr’s model of the atom. It has a utility.

When we can relate to the world and to each other in a way that makes sense and use that relation to create value, we can succeed. Even if a decade, or century, or millennium from now people look back and think we’re stupid for how wrong we are. If it works and we can use it to create value and improve people’s lives, including our own, we’ve succeeded.

How right we are doesn’t matter. How much value we can create does.

The Tea Explorations: Snooze

Alyssa Wright reviews Snooze tea by Teapigs, a before-bed tea made of chamomile, lavender, and apple.

Like my Coffee Explorations series, this post is not sponsored. I have a referral link for Sips by, but I’m not creating this post as an advertisement.

Last month I signed up for a tea subscription service called Sips by. I realized too late I could write about the teas I received, so here we are with my March box. I’m also making a video of making and trying the teas, which I’ll embed once it’s complete.
Yesterday I wrote about Assam black tea.

Last night before bed, I tried Snooze by Teapigs. It’s a mixture of chamomile, lavender, and apples, intended to be relaxing to help you unwind before bed.

The tea sachet was very intriguing to me. It has flecks of lavender and chamomile as well as tiny cubes of dried apple.

The first thing I noticed was that it’s very light colored. That surprised me and made me think it didn’t steep properly until I bobbed the tea bag a few times and it didn’t change. It’s lighter even than white tea, which has a faint yellow color. This is more a translucent cream color.

With the first sip I noticed a light but pleasant flavor. I couldn’t tell if or how sweet it was on it’s own from the apples because of the temperature. I added a tiny bit of stevia, far less even than a half teaspoon. That seemed perfect. The tea is light enough that more sweetener would have overpowered it by a margin. I could taste the stevia pretty well, especially compared to the Assam black tea.

I wasn’t sure at first how well I liked it, but as I drank my cup I decided that chamomile, lavender, and apple mix well. It almost had a lemony element to the flavor, even without any lemon in it. It has a lighter flavor than just chamomile tea, pleasant addition of some lavender, and a tiny hint of lemony-apple.

I don’t think it’s as good as Bigelow Sweet Dreams, which is chamomile and mint, but it’s still enjoyable.

I think the flavor of stevia did not quite fit into the tea. Tonight I will try it without stevia, maybe with honey or nothing at all. I have quite the sweet tooth, so I almost never like unsweet tea, but this had a flavor profile that lends itself to be unsweet.

If you want to go on your own tea exploration, I recommend Sips by! It’s a really fun tea subscription and they send quality teas. You take a short quiz about your preferences, then you rate the teas you get so they can tailor your box. If you have dietary restrictions, you specify those. All the teas I get from Sips by are vegan. I can’t guarantee anything else about them. If you join with my referral link, by clicking any of the mentions of Sips by, you can get $5 off your first box!