Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun at Work, part The Latest

It's been almost a year since the "stay healthy or we replace you" threats began, and to celebrate the anniversary my employer has begun another drive to keep a close watch on what we're all doing and how much time we spend doing it. Spying on each other is considered to be a productive use of time around here. I sometimes feel like I work in a communist country wherein nobody can catch anyone doing anything wrong at home because they're all out spying on their neighbors to see if they're doing anything wrong at home.

When I was first hired we submitted a weekly timesheet as the only written documentation of the hours we worked. Then the company decided it would be a prudent move to create the concept of labor claiming, which required us to submit a weekly online form matching the time we spent working against a series of labor codes. Even the accountants thought that was unproductive, and when the accountants scoff at the idea of more paperwork you know it's bad. Accountants love paperwork. They want to marry paperwork and raise little accounterwork children. It's like hearing an xtian fundie say "Woah, wait a minute, nobody needs to mention Jesus THAT often." We had classes and seminars and spent time setting up the software and registering and filling out the forms. Then we were finally ready and were told to submit the hours exactly as we actually spent our time. We did, and they discovered - HOLY CRAP - we spent a lot of time submitting our time. Then they told us not to submit time against the time submission code and said to instead "pretend you were doing what you would be normally if you weren't submitting time." For some people that would be "wandering the rows between cubicles looking for bloggers to report", but sadly they lack a code for that.

So, now they've added some extra paperwork to let them know how we typically spend our week, and I'm guessing "filling out this paperwork" will only get it rejected so that I'll have to do it again. And now a new directive - our submitted hours must exactly match our timesheet. That sounds like common sense, but we have to submit our timesheets before the end of the week, which means that in case we are needed beyond what we planned we either have to say "screw you - I already submitted my hours" (fun, but not allowed) or we have to work the extra hours and submit them as time worked Saturday. So the new directive conflicts with the old directive but is completely in accordance with the unspoken directive, "We like to issue conflicting directives but we are flexible as long as your actions benefit us and not you and you understand we may still use any disobedience as an excuse to fire you."

Another example of work rules conflict. #1 - all passwords must be at least 8 characters long. #2 - here is your computer. The boot up password will only accept up to 7 characters. I swear I am not making any of this up.

As a reward for having read all of that, here is a bunny.


Kerry said...

This cracks me up!!! I love the password part particulary. I've encountered that myself! People are such idiots. Good luck! hehehe

Anonymous said...

Grant- I just have to suck up and tell you what a fantastic writer you are. You have your own style- intelligent, witty, sarcastic without being snotty. You have a gift. (I'm being serious.)
When I worked as a nurse, they were always doing time studies-- almost, but not quite, as ridiculous as what you experience.
Makes you wonder what those people who are so paranoid about what the workers are doing... are doing. Bet not much.

Avitable said...

You work in the best place EVER.

Jay said...

This is basically how corporate America works.

Nice Bunny.

NYD said...

No,no. no. You must be making this up. Doublespeak and Newspeak only exist in socio-political novels about a terrifying future with a date already in the past...LOL

HumorSmith said...

Corporate sucks ass. Not in a good way either. I have been fired 4 times in 3 years, a personal best. I hate stupid rules and I abhor corporate-think, which is an oxymoron. Thanks for making me smile.

I am in love with the bunny.

David L Macaulay said...

funny blog to stumble on - this sounds scarily like my office.


Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Has anyone mentioned the phrase "time sheet synergy" yet? If not, that's coming soon.

And as your reward for writing, I'm commenting! OMG!

Maundering mutterer said...

I started a basic timesheet system. It used to take ten minutes to fill out and it boosted productivity like anything. Then my boss got hold of it, and now we have two full timers doing the data capture! Absolutely ridiculous and.. ta daaaah! Counter-productive. Nuts to that.

Grant said...

Kerry - as a fellow IT person, I'm sure you've had a lot of the same experiences.

PAMO - around here, several of the higher ranking employees walk around and ensure people aren't surfing the web or something during work, never mind that our work is tangible and it's immediately obvious if we're not producing.

Avitable - if your definition of best is providing blog fodder, it's pretty darned good.

Jay - the corporate culture here is actually way better than the last company I worked for.

NYD - maybe corporate America mistook those novels as operating manuals.

HumorSmith - I wonder if I should feel bad that they seem to like and hardly ever fire me?

David L Macaulay - this sounds scarily like pretty much every office I've been in.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter - we haven't synergized yet. We move slowly. I don't even think we've begun misusing "proactive" yet.

Maundering mutterer - so you were looking to efficient people out of work, but then your boss took over and managed to employ two more people. And that's why managers are so necessary.

Captain Dumbass said...

Thanks for the bunny, because the post was just reminding me of all the ludicrous password rules we have.