What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. AFGE Local 1904. Here we are 20 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 20 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) and for continuing to stand in the way like some bloody great, utterly misguided roadblock. No one’s interest is served by their continued intransigence. The elected “leaders” of AFGE Local 1904 should be embarrassed and ashamed of themselves.

2. Artificial intelligence. Everywhere you turn, there’s an article or news story about AI – Deep fakes, creepy chatbots, ChatGPT – warning that we’re standing on the precipice of SkyNet. I’m somewhere between indifferent and intrigued. I mean I don’t especially want to spend the last 30 years of my run on this rock serving some new robot overlord, but the technology itself is undeniable fascinating. Honestly, if you take a look around at how humans have royally fucked up the 21st century, maybe it’s time we give AI a chance. I have to wonder if some of the fear surrounding AI is more concerned with it making better choices than we do rather than making everything worse. Take the humans out of the decision loop – our emotions, our ego – and hey presto we could be in for an interesting new world… or SkyNet. At this point, just roll the dice and see where they land. 

3. Office sickies. Look, it’s bad enough we’re piled back in the office, but when you have big buckets of sick leave and the ability to request unlimited telework on an ad hoc basis, there’s no reason for anyone I work with to be in the office hacking, snorting, snot dripping, and generally spreading whatever contagion they’ve come in with on any given day. “You look like shit and sound awful” should be the kind of thing that triggers someone, somewhere in leadership to send plague carriers home to reduce the chance of the crud spreading… but it’s increasingly obvious that we’ve functionally learned nothing about how to manage illnesses over the last three years. Y’all were screaming about wanting to “get back to normal,” well I guess here we are. Same as it ever was.

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