Category Archives: And Now For Something Completely Different

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Takes Another Victim

So, my son is a bit overdue obtaining his driving permit.  Yesterday, in mid morning, he trucks up to Oakland NJ to get it.  He gets there, fills out his paperwork is issued an unstamped permit and learns that he must now go to another MVC location to take his eye test.  Because, apparently, highly skilled eye testers don’t just live anywhere, so NJ MVC needs to go where the talent is.  Or, maybe it’s because they are following a Hamiltonian philosophy of consolidation?  Much as Hamilton felt financial and manufacturing consolidation were critical to the future economic strength of the Republic, maybe NJ MVC feels they need consolidate eye testing talent for the future strength of NJ MVC?  Maybe it’s part of an ineffable plan?  Alas, I have only questions on this topic and no answers. 

Following Oakland’s advice, wife and son truck their way down to Lodi, NJ with the unstamped permit to Lodi.  Lodi may have the worst parking of any NJ MVC location.  And, since they also host some of scarce yet highly coveted eye testing machines and eye testing professionals, they attract supplicants of all stripes, shades, education and gawkers.  My son works his way through the maze of lines and directions provided by the “never-look-them-in-the-eye” NJ MVC professionals and finally arrive at the eye testing line.  They now learn that the Oakland person made a mistake on the unstamped permit.  He mis-keyed the social security number, putting a an “8” in place of “2” in one of digits.  The NJ DMV person knew this because when she pulled up that wrong SS# in the computer, it didn’t show my son’s name.  Wife and son say, “oh, that’s the wrong number, you need a ‘2’ there instead of an ‘8.’”  What many, perhaps every single fair minded person would expect at this point is for the NJ MVC person to simply correct the number they just entered into the computer.  Ha! Fool!  No, instead he was asked to provided his social security card.  Let’s digress for a moment and consider that in order to get the unstamped permit in the first place, he had already provided a US Passport as well as a New Jersey birth certificate and letter written to him at his home address.   His mother is with him, shares his name, his address, his height (but sadly, not his taste in sci-fi movies) … you name it, my son is well and truly identified as life long resident of these US states and indeed, New Jersey itself by any measure you can imagine.  If the NJ MVC person would have simply fixed the mistake that the Oakland person made, the computer would have pulled up my son’s information and that would have been end of story.  But again, fool!  They can’t do that. Instead, the NJ MVC insist on a social security card now. 

So, wife and son go home to get it and return.  And in the end, he obtains his permit.

That’s three different trips to NJ MVC in one day.  To get his permit.  It took nearly 6 hours from start to finish.  This is my son’s introduction to driving in the Garden State.

NJ MVC is clearly broken. 


And Now For Something Completely Different, With Pictures!

My colleague, Anil Ferris, took a break from his endless lab building, breaking and rebuilding to write a gem of a blog post on Likability – and I’m not just calling it a gem because he fit in a great motorcycle reference.  He certainly gets lots of points for that, however.

This is a really interesting topic for the consulting class, so to speak.  Being liked is so, so very important to success generally.  At the same time, it’s very difficult for me, personally to turn my analytical eye inward and assess my habits and interactions with peers and customers and try to measure how “likable” I am.  I think it’s a challenge for most of us. 

I’ve been doing a lot of experiments lately – trying new food, wearing ear plugs to see if I sleep better, driving 55mph to see if it *really* saves gas … I’m going to take a stab at spending a week just focused entirely on likability and see what I notice about myself.  It might be worth trying out for yourself.

(The pictures are in Anil’s post, not here 🙂 )