Venting I

by zenquaker

I have lots of problems with my job. In some sense they’re all kind of meaningless, because whatever problems I have with my job, it is exactly what I was looking for in a job. Once upon a time, I tried to follow my passion. My passion is games and programming. My two passions are games, programming, and movies. Among my passions are games, programming, movies, and the occasional Monty Python reference. So I worked for a roleplaying game company. Face to face stuff, including some board and card games. They went sleazily bankrupt owing me several thousand in back pay. I looked around the game industry and realized that if I wanted to survive in it, I would need to schmooze. I’m not very good at schmoozing, and I don’t enjoy it. So I set out to find a dependable job where I would be valued for my skills and my work. After some planning I went back to school and became a statistician for the government.

Back to venting. Or onward to venting, since I hadn’t gotten started yet.

We have a relatively new computer program at work. Forty-two minutes ago, they started deploying the latest phase of that program, which includes new functionality for certain teams at work, covering about 10% of the weekly effort of 70 people. Those people need training with the new system, especially since it is like nothing they have ever used before. They held one training session, yesterday. They announced it the day before. As anyone who has ever worked in a sizable organization (and several who haven’t) knows, it is impossible to get 70 people all in the same room for any real length of time on 24 hours notice. I think about 15 people showed up. So we are looking forward next week to much of the agency trying to deal with a system that they know nothing about. As icing on the cake, they system is significantly less efficient than what they have been using to do this work. My favorite part of this is that the system then have been using to do this work was designed and implemented mainly by me, on very short notice.

That was all yesterday. I thought, maybe, today I would have a chance to get some work done after spending the last month and a half trying to prod the contractors designing the new system into making it actually work decently (sadly to say, I failed). No such luck. I spent over half the day dealing with the contractors, who are driving me nuts. There is an upload from some spreadsheets that needs to be done to switch from the old system to the new system. It needs to be delayed a week. Apparently the contractors can’t delay running a program they already wrote for one week without approval from the head of IT. We need to set up a folder for other spreadsheets that will feed into the new system. I tell the guy (twice) that I can find the folder using the link he sent me, but that it (and it’s sub-folders) don’t show up in the file system. He emails me back: “can you try clicking on the link to see if you can find the folder that way?” There’s a certain type of incident report that is not being tasked correctly in the new system (for some unknown reason). When it was pointed out that not only are they not being tasked, but that it is critical that they being tasked, the contractors responded that it would take 120 hours of work to get the system to generate that one task for each of the reports. Which makes no sense when you realize that the tasking is identical to the tasking for other incident reports. They just have to add one task to each of these reports at a clearly defined point in time. If the system was competently designed, there is no way this could take 120 hours of work.

But hey, the job is still dependable. My supervisor values me, and today thanked me for all the effort I had put into to dealing with this new system. And last night I managed to make a decent spaghetti sauce using ground turkey instead of ground beef. That means I now have enough (edible by me) meals to make it through the weekly grocery cycle without ever eating red meat. I can become a polloterian. Although my spell checker wants me to become a Presbyterian instead.