I mentioned the other day that I have a new chair. When the chair arrived, I’d gotten a message saying I had a big box addressed to me and it would be delivered to my office. I was pretty sure it was the chair and didn’t want to wait for maintenance to put it together and deliver it to me. So, I went down to the mailroom to get it.
I took the pieces out of the box and put the chair together according to the instructions. It took two minutes and required no tools. I asked Cheryl, the woman in the mailroom, to tell the maintenance crew to throw the box away and cancel the work order for assembling and delivering the chair. She said she would. I wheeled the chair up to my office.
The next day, a guy from maintenance shows up in my office. “I’m here to check the chair,” he says, “I have a work order.” I told him everything was fine, that the chair had been assembled properly. He told me he still needed to check. “I followed the instructions,” I said, again assuring him it was fine. He still had to check and also needed to show me how to operate the chair. I told him I already knew how. I was using it wasn’t I? He insisted, citing insurance purposes for needing to review it with me. Finally, it occurred to me that he was going to carry out the instructions on the work order regardless of what I said, so I just let him rattle on and waste my time.
Today I saw Cheryl by the elevator. “You know, I got in real trouble for letting you take that chair out of the mailroom,” she told me. Somehow, the purchasing director learned that the maintenance staff had not carried out the original work order to assemble and deliver the chair. She then summoned the facilities director to her office to deride him for letting a member of his staff (Cheryl) cancel the work order she had written. The facilities director then gave hell to his staff – maintenance and the mailroom – over it. Of course, I apologized to her. She wasn’t angry, I got the feeling she was disgusted too.
After that meeting the purchasing director wrote another maintenance work order which is the reason the maintenance guy showed up in my office. This was after I had dropped off the packing slip for the chair in the purchasing office. Before they accepted the packing slip from me I was required to sign it to indicate both my receipt of the chair, and more specifically, my satisfaction with it.
I gather everyone involved, except Cheryl, is pissed off at me because I didn’t follow procedure. Truthfully, I didn’t know what the procedure was and no one stopped me – not even the facilities director himself who saw me assembling the chair in the mailroom. Procedure aside, I cannot believe the hot air and time that has been wasted over this issue. All it would have taken was a phone call or an email from the purchasing director to a) inform me that I hadn’t followed procedure and b) for her to confirm with me that the chair was operational and satisfactory. But make no mistake, this is not about my error or my satisfaction. This is about the purchasing director ruling the minions. It’s about territorialism. It’s about the f*ckin’ antiquated bureaucracy in this place.
There, I feel better now that I’ve wasted 20 minutes over it too.