Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Daily Gripe

Note to potential employees wanting to work at a cube farm - never, ever, ever find fault with anything. If you discover a mistake, you will be held responsible for its correction. It's nice to know that the playground maxim "He who smelt it, dealt it" is alive and well in Corporate America.

In my case, I tried to make a payment through the ancient computer system we use only to find it had been abruptly replaced by a new web-based program. The new program is slower and more labor-intensive than the old one, but never mind that. The new system automatically assigns management approval to payments without allowing any input from us stupid old users, so I later received an e-mail from a manager I've never met and who doesn't work in my area wanting to know why I wanted his approval for a payment originating from a department he doesn't recognize. I reported this to one of my bosses who, after months of deliberately excluding me from all the internal workings of our department, assigned me the duty of solving the problem for her. So far I've spent hours on the phone with accounts payable customer service (ha) waiting for an available representative so I can ask one question, report that to my manager via e-mail, then wait for her to respond with another question so I can repeat the process.

That's a special pet peeve of mine - managers who send e-mails to their underlings with the instruction "Call this person and ask him this question." Five minute phone calls become stretched over days. Come to think of it, phones are another pet peeve of mine. Most of my phone conversations end with "Okay, can you send me that instruction in an e-mail?" Another thing I've learned is never follow a verbal command. Managers tend to become forgetful when they're asked to explain your actions.

To recap, if you're in the office and it catches fire, don't be the first one to report it. Even if you are immolated at your desk, grinning and typing furiously, it's still a better way to go.

Flame, out

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