Just Another Hell Week on the Job

I’m finding it really hard to like my job these days. A good part of the problem is my co-workers, most of whom are inept or apathetic, or both. It makes them difficult to work with because they either don’t understand their role and what they need to do, or they do and they don’t care. This combination is lethal to the projects we undertake. I should take comfort, I suppose, that it’s worse outside of my area, as the few other on-the-ball co-workers in this place have reported.

I’ve seen more supposedly finished projects that look like shit, contain errors of fact, grammar or spelling, and are generally wholly underwhelming. It doesn’t matter what it is, or what the end result is supposed to achieve. We’ve not seen the increase in business that our competitors have in the last few years. The place is full of fat-salaried, inefficient, technophobic management types who are resistant to change. Nearly all of these folks are close to retirement age, so they’re just “riding it out” while avoiding as much responsibility as possible. Needless to say, lower level staff turnover is high because those folks don’t receive any training (no budget for it) or have an opportunity to advance.

Just a few examples.

The procurement director refuses to use an automated system that was developed in house. Instead, she insists that all purchase orders be typed on pre-printed triplicate forms that contain carbon paper because it “presents a professional image to our vendors.” That’s ridiculous. I have to fill out a purchase requisition form to get a ream of paper. Or staples for the stapler. Or tape for the tape dispenser. That’s ridiculous. I can’t believe that time, energy and salary is expended to charge back such low amounts instead of having a general fund for office supplies.

Another director setup a meeting with a vendor that specializes in automated web-based systems designed to make communicating with graduates easier and more comprehensive. I spoke with the director at length about how the system would improve a number of processes, and also that it would impact me significantly because I would need to administer it. After a while, she asked “But will it change my job?” I acknowledged that it would and started to talk about the ways the system would increase her efficiency for certain tasks. She looked alarmed. The vendor came out for the presentation and I saw the relief on the director’s face when they told us the cost. There’s no way we would buy their software, it wasn’t in our budget.

A manager of administrative computing wanted me to setup some public web space for him. He’d recently received web-based modules for the system that we use to do registrations with and wanted to install them.
“Where’s the installation documentation?” I’d asked. He laughed and said there was none. (This is clearly a case of ‘you get what you pay for’ by the way.)
Then, I asked “Have you installed and tested these modules internally?”
“No, do I need to?”
“Ummm…yeah. Sorry, but I can’t let you put stuff that you haven’t even tested internally on a production web server.”
What a moron.

That’s enough. I’m getting too frustrated to go on anyway.


  1. Technophobes and fear-of-changers really irk me. For years, I’ve worked in government entities or companies that don’t even have an IT department or worse, stick us in under finance… I guess because we’re always asking for money? It’s hard enough going to an IT director or a CIO to get money for a project… try going to a CFO or Finance director and get them to understand what the fuck you’re talking about. Even stick figure drawings don’t help. It’s like they just shut down. We were lucky to have PCs and calculators… they wanted us to use an abacus (sp?).

  2. Yep, it’s impossible for upper management to see the _value_ in a lot of the projects we try to do. Never mind that they’re industry standard and that everyone else has been doing it for several years now. They still don’t want to spend the money.

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