Monday, January 4, 2010

Bill Collector

One of my favorite work stories...

This week is the lead up to the 1 year anniversary of my layoff and the reason for the blog so I was looking back on my time at the company that will not be named (I don’t want to violate my non-disparagement clause).

Like some service companies, we bill our clients in "arrears".

Arrears billing just means you pay for your services AFTER you have received them.

I was asked to chase down a late payment from a client of mine and asked my colleague to send me any email exchanges she had with the client so I could have all the info I needed to make the call.

The email sent to the client said something along the lines of - Your payment is late…yadda yadda and



I wouldn’t have paid my bill on time either!

I called my colleague over and maturely (for me) stifled a giggle and asked:

Me: "Did you spell check this before you sent it out?"

Employee X: "Yes"

Me: "Um, read this line...."

Employee X: "Yea, so what? Company X bills in the rear. That’s right isn’t it?"

This was a younger colleague so I miraculously managed somehow to not fall off my chair laughing and thought I’d play the part of the grown up and use it as a teaching moment...

Me: "Did you mean "arrears" not in the rear?"

Employee X: " "

Me: "Ohhh, you thought the term was ‘bill in the rear’ instead of ‘billing in arrears’ didn’t you?"

I had an image of the client laughing his rear off at that email.

The one colleague I confided this story to (cause I would have exploded if I had to keep it to myself) told me she was on a call a few days later with ANOTHER young coworker and he used the same term “We bill in the rear...”!

Somehow I was the one laid off...

***I apologize to the innocent but I never actually revealed to anyone (minus one person) who Employee X was AND it wasnt ever really the fault of Employee X as it sounded like there was some broader mis-understanding of the term "arrears" around the old bowl, er, I mean office***

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