Posts Tagged ‘Office’

Bureaucracy

January 14, 2009

By the book, in all the eleventy-seven business classes I’ve taken, a business corporate headquarters is there to assist the CEO, President, CFO, et al in running that business.  The people who work there facilitate, streamline, and enable the business unit (He…he…he… he said ‘unit’) to succeed.

But, as I keep learning, life is not ‘by the book’.  I was reminded of that at work recently.

And what I relearned was that a headquarters real job is to add meetings, oversight, reports, and needless roadblocks to the successful execution of a business.  Not to say that many business teams don’t need help from leadership, but wouldn’t it be nice if the ‘help’ was actually ‘helpful’?

Without getting into too much detail <pause while my readers have a collective sigh of relief>, each project over a certain budget value has to periodically go to the headquarters to prove they’re going the right direction.  Good business sense and these meetings are at critical junctures in the schedule.  Well, some bright Ivy League business grad decided we need to do yet another set of approval meetings, not tied to the schedule, yet the project cannot continue without it.

Whenever we get these policies from headquarters, we give the preemptory fight against the lunacy, but ultimately have to grit our teeth, take a deep breath, and accept our fate.  Which is what we did.

So, we reviewed the policy to see what we need to do for this new meeting/presentation to the corporate leadership.

And we looked again…

Nothin’…*

We called the next layer of bureaucracy divisional headquarters for guidance on how to conduct this new meeting.

Nothin’…

We called the black hole of questions corporate headquarters for guidance…

Somethin’!!

…well, sort of…

Corporate:  “We’re working on that.  We’ll know what we want when we see it.  Until then, just keep putting something together for us to look at.”

Us:  “Put ‘what’ together?”

Corporate:  “We’re working on that.  We’ll know what we want when we see it.”

Us [with teeth grinding]:  “Thank you, you’ve been more than helpful.”

Corporate:  “Oh, by the way… the leaders here at corporate are expecting your presentation in 60 days.”

Us [barely under our breaths]:  “Bastards.”

I’m not naïve enough to think any of you who work in a big…or even small…business have not run into the same phenomena. 

Doesn’t make it better…but does give me comfort knowing I’m not alone.

Bastards…

 =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

*I can’t say or type this word without thinking of Yukon Cornelius from the TV special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.  If you’ve seen it, you know exactly what I’m referring to.  If you haven’t seen it, find it at watch… it is a classic of campy tackiness.

Roads of Death

January 13, 2009

It’s that time of year again. When the cold winds of The Wilds of Ohio bring all forms of dreaded precipitation…all usually in the same storm – – rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow, cats, dogs, locusts, etc. And, despite valiant efforts by road crews to clear them, the roads usually become festive playgrounds for cars to slip and slide about.

icy conga line of dents

icy conga line of dents

This also usually means the drivers here switch over to “Idiot Mode”. There are two main ways this manifests.

Most will start driving over-defensively… even if there is plenty of traction, this form of idiot driver will immediately slow to walking speed. And get in the left lane. And the center lane. And the right lane. Aggravating.

A few will continue driving as if nothing happened. If the speed limit is 65 miles per hour? That’s the speed they go. And they’ll weave in and out of traffic to keep going that fast.

The accidents start happening when the over-defensive driver meets the under-defensive driver. An over-defensive driving at walking speed will pull slowly into the left lane to pass an over-defensive who’s driving at crawling speed not noticing that under-defensive is ripping up behind him at 65 mph. under-defensive, unable to weave into the next lane because crawler is there, slams on the brakes. Wheeee!!!! And you thought the Ice Capades had lots of spins and turns.

Now, I do admit to occasionally letting myself slip into idiot mode. Primarily the under-defensive, go fast guy. But that’s not often. I’d LIKE to think I’m a good, defensive ice and snow driver. When I was learning to drive, I was also working at the local regional airport. Now, don’t tell anyone (shhhh), but I would sneak onto the snowy runway*, get up some speed, and purposely try and put the car out of control (braking hard, turning tightly, combinations, writing bad checks…). Then, I could see what did or didn’t work to get the car back into control. It was great practice. Especially since I wasn’t caught…

And, finally, a word about winter weather from a work perspective – – –

Trying to find the good in this, I began a tradition in our office some 10 years ago. I was, and continue to be, pleased to see new people coming into the office quickly embracing that tradition. Basically, whenever the snow started to fall, or even hint at some freezing rain in the weather reports, people will start proclaiming loudly about the office: “Roads of Death! A good supervisor who cared about his workers would send them home early!”

Some of the new kids have even embellished on this. Some are simplistic, but effective, addition of qualifiers: “Icy Roads of Death!”. Others are more elaborate, but equally effective: “Yeah, I heard that the human resource branch already sent all of their people home!” I have actually seen supervisors consider the latter, trying to decide whether to send people home safely, without checking to see if human resources really did send their people home. Great fun.

Unfortunately, rarely have I seen bosses actually send us home early. Rather, they wait until the roads ARE impassable, then make the magnanimous decision to send us home. At which time “Idiot Mode” clicks on in many heads and the roads leading away from the parking lots become parking lots themselves.

Me? I’ll have another cup of coffee and wait for the snow plows to clear a path.

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*…okay, it was a smaller airport with not a lot of traffic on good days, let alone snowy days.
 

 

Dip Top

January 7, 2009

…and there was great cheering…

Yesterday was the last day for one of the enginerds in my office. 

We called him ‘Dip Top’. 

Dip Top is 40-something and going gray.  As many do, he decided to color his hair to hide the gray.  But…he sucked at coloring his hair.  It usually looked like someone grabbed him by the ankles and dipped him in a tub of coal tar, leaving just enough gray showing to highlight the fact he was coloring…poorly.  Now, as to that “…grabbed him by the ankles…” line?  Not likely possible as he is a hefty 300 pounds.  Most of it around his middle.  I mention it only to complete the picture of the guy.

So, what things endeared this spritely little fellow to us office minions?

–  Dip Top was convinced he was God’s gift to the office, confused that we had lasted so long without him.  He openly announced his intentions…nay, his due right and expectations to a promotion.

–  Dip Top was consulting other teams in the organization, just like the rest of us.  But, any time there was a meeting, he would conveniently find an excuse that would require one of the rest of us to take his place.  After all, we had the organization’s good name to protect.  When he couldn’t finagle one of us to take the meeting, he would often show up late.

–  And that ‘late’ thing?  Sure, we all…on occasion…will show up to work a few minutes or leave a few minutes early.  Dip Top made a game of showing up half an hour late and leaving half an hour early as many days as he could.

–  He was a permanent student.  My organization demands we keep up with our training by taking the OCCASIONAL class.  Dip Top spent every moment available taking classes.  Obviously, he was unable to support the teams he was assigned as a result.  And we would have to pick up the slack.

–  Having arranged a long range date with a lady on the opposite side of the world (using the company phone), he began to set up his vacation plans… again, on the company phone  Finding that he could not find any of his family to care for his 8-year old son, he began going around the office to try and get one of us to care for the kid – – for two weeks.  Okay, yeah, if we liked the guy, we might consider a few days…but a couple weeks?  And we didn’t like him?  Uh-uh.

–  Other than the rest of us having to do his job (while he still lays claim to deserving a promotion), there are other ‘stories’.  But the topper – – –

Dip Top has no manners to speak of.  Specifically, I’m talking about audible bodily functions.  He will think nothing of—right in the middle of a meeting–ripping off a rumbling fart, follow it with a meaty belch, and then?  Well, “…and then…” nothing.  No apology.  Life goes on.  Maybe this is okay in some parts of the world, but I can’t imagine what part of the world that would be (so, enlighten me, o pan-continent e-readers, as to whether I’m just naïve).  This is a business operation.  With customers and everything.  This aural exhibit of bodily noises is not a once-in-awhile thing.  It is daily…and often.  The cube neighbor I referred to earlier gives us frequent updates…too frequent.  We can only imagine what our customer thinks of these resounding and random displays.

Dip Top has refused to leave the organization, at least not without the promotion he feels he deserves.  But no one else in the business complex wants him promoted.

But, finally, we found someone who will take him.  And we finally have a boss who will make him leave our office.  And he is finally leaving.  And we can finally try to regain our customer base.

I’m sure some (many?) of you have similar people working in your businesses.  Hopefully you, too, will be able to wish them a ‘bon voyage’.

Buh-bye, Dip Top.

EDBFH

June 2, 2008

The Wicked EDBFH and the White Powder

  

Okay, so there’s this woman who’s been on multiple project teams that have used our facility as a home.  My facility houses the “cutters of red tape” for our bureaucracy’s cumbersome procurement process.  On each project this woman has been here, she has refused advice and counsel from our experts on how to do things, preferring to do it whatever way strikes her fancy.  She treats us like men servants and hand maidens, requesting we do her mundane and simplistic things.  These could be easily done herself, but I think she gets a power trip thing going by getting us to do them.  She constantly complains about her workload which, albeit high, ain’t no higher than anyone else’s if she actually got down to doing it instead of complaining about it.  Needless to say, she has created great enmity, to the extent that people cringe at the mere mention of her name.   

 

 Because of this, I applied a private moniker which was quickly and enthusiastically picked up by the rest of the folks here.  She is EDBFH – – Evil Demon Bitch From Hell.  Say the words and the letters a few times and you might feel the ease with which they pour off your tongue.

 

 Then, she committed the faux pas which forever enshrined her in the lore of our building.

 

 

(more…)

Mal Mots

May 21, 2008

Working in an office environment, you have ample opportunity for interaction with co-workers.  If you’re not a boss with a private office, you’re also likely—like me—to be sharing an office full of cubicles with those co-workers.  This leads to ample opportunity to overhear intended and not-so-intended quips.  Our office has taken to putting up a ‘quotable quotes’ board for this repartee.  Thought I’d share a few—

 

  I want to get some of those soundless headphones…

       [Huh?]                                                       

 

  Hey! Come out and look at my schnauzer!

       [I don’t know if she meant it as a euphemism…but, with her, I wasn’t going to take the chance] 

 

  Oh, shit…who did I send it too?

       [Usually heard right after the sound of a mouse click.  I have to admit I’ve done this with e-mail as well…but this seemed to be a daily occurrence for this lady]

 

  I can’t cut the mustard anymore.  Hell, I can barely butter the bun!

       [There’s a certain poetry to this one.]

 

  Where’s Room 101? 

       [This one was said by a lady who had an office in…wait for it…Room 101]   

 

  …about 10 miles as the fly crows…

       [Can one actually hear a fly crow?] 

 

  He who laughs lest lifts lofts…luff . . .ummm…

       [Poor lady tried her best to get this one out…and failed] 

 

  GnuKid has good things attached to his pants.

       [Yes, a lady said this.  No, I’ll neither deny nor explain… {grin}] 

 

  We’re working glove in hand with them…

      [What, so you can challenge them to duels?] 

 

And finally—

 

  L:  How come I’m just getting Thursday’s e-mails?

   Office (in unison):  Because it IS Thursday…