What Annoys Jeff this Week?

It’s been an unexpectedly decent week. Usually by the time Thursday night rolls around, I’ve got a veritable laundry list of topics to distill down into the final three. This week it’s just two and I feel like I owe you the honesty of that instead of just manufacturing a third item just to preserve the purity of my weekly format.

1. AFGE Local 1904. Here we are 19 weeks past the “end of max telework” and the union, such as it is, still hasn’t come through on delivering the new and improved telework agreement. So, we’re still grinding along with only two days a week like pre-COVID barbarians… as if 30 months of operating nearly exclusively through telework didn’t prove that working from home works. All this is ongoing while hearing stories of other organizations tucked in next door that are offering their people four or five day a week work from home options. It’s truly a delight working for the sick man of the enterprise. I’m sure someone could make the case that there’s enough blame to go around, but since the updated and perfectly acceptable policy for supervisors was published 19 weeks ago, I’m going to continue to go ahead and put every bit of blame on Local 1904 for failing to deliver for their members (and those of us who they “represent” against our will) for not getting this shit done. No one’s interest is served by their continued intransigence and the elected “leaders” of 1904 should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves.

2. People first. There was a work-related town hall type meeting held this afternoon. One of the minor gods in our firmament was scheduled to deliver remarks. It happens all the time. Business as usual. Or it would have been, right up until the point where an email got circulated reminding us that it was an in-person event and our attendance in person was “expected.” Never mind the millions we’ve spent on laying on remote communication and meeting capabilities. Never mind the absurdity of packing in as many as 750 people asshole to elbow so they can share whatever sickness one or two of them may be carrying around. Never mind the sheer convenience of participating remotely so one could both listen in to gain the information and continue to do other things in the background. The important part of the day was putting asses in seats so the venue looked full. I’ve been directed to be seat filler for events since my very first week working for this vast bureaucracy way back in 2003. I can’t begin to tell you how many town halls or other large group format meetings I’ve attended over the last twenty years. The number would be staggering. You might be tempted to think three plague years would have changed that… and you’d be wrong. Today was just another day of appearance being far more important than reality. Thank sweet merciful Zeus that Thursday is one of my regular telework days. Otherwise, I’d have been sorely tempted to violate one of my basic tenants of professional life: Go along to get along whenever you possibly can. It’s best I wasn’t there in person to ask how that whole “People First” thing is working out. I was, at least, comforted by seeing large swaths of open seating in the room when the live feed started, despite the AV team’s impressively quick efforts to crop that view off the screen. My colleagues, it seems, also elected to vote with their feet. Good on them.

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