What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Two parties. If the last two general election cycles have shown us anything, I think it almost has to be that he two party system has failed us in a pretty spectacular way. I mean here we are, a continental country of 300+ million people and the winnowing process arrived at Donald Trump and Joe Biden as the best candidates we could muster for the office of President of the United States. The 2016 campaign didn’t offer better results. Both ended up being contests between people representing each party that half of the electorate couldn’t stand and that some large part of the electorate would never accept as “legitimate.” We’ve collectively poisoned the damned well and gotten exactly the kind of government we deserve.

2. Reports. For the last seven months, I’ve spent a day or two of most weeks updating various reports. It’s a simple process of adding on new entries, marking off old ones, changing some color coding, and shipping them off to various destinations. The catch, of course, is that no time in the last eight months has anyone so much as asked about the content of these reports. In fact, the only feedback I’ve ever gotten from any of them is “received, acknowledged.” It’s theoretically possible that these are, in fact, tremendously important bits and bytes of information… but based on the distinct lack of feedback being generated, it’s hard to shake the notion that it’s just another exercise in pushing paper.

It turns out there’s no third thing this week since I’ve spewed most of my bile in previous posts. I should probably take this as a win, though if I find myself becoming too satisfied, I fear that Thursdays here will get awfully dull. Somehow, I can’t imagine that really being a problem.

Monday being Monday…

I’ve made a lot of hay on this blog by posting about other people’s fuck ups. It only seems fair that I call myself out with the same level of snark. 

You see, today I was trying to do something that should have been very simple. All I needed to do was spit a few reports out of a database, pretty them up a bit in Excel, and then pass them on. Well, the database in question was throwing errors, the info I needed just wouldn’t download. Fine, I say to myself, if I can’t automatically run a report I’ll just go in and copy/paste the information manually.

That, friends, is where the morning came off the rails. As it turns out, what I did wasn’t so much copying and pasting information into a report as it was overwriting about fifty line items in the database itself with duplicate information. Whoops.

The IT shop says they can (probably) revert all of the fields I jacked up back to their previous versions. I’ve been going about the day just pretending that they’re right… because if they’re not, I have no idea how the hell to go back and manually re-create everything that was there before I took a scythe to the data. 

In conclusion, I’m an idiot and Mondays are stupid. 

A matter of priorities…

So far we’ve had two meetings today with the Uberboss. One topic was a training program that no one wants to participate in and the other is about a report that literally no one is going to read. How do I know that no one will read it? Easy. The office that requested the report in the first place no longer exists. But I digress.

I’m not saying that management has its priorities jacked up, but at some point in the near future, we might want to actually schedule a meeting about the year’s budget request that has been rejected twice now by the home office. Way back when dinosaurs ruled the earth and I was an MBA student, I learned that having a budget and sticking to it was among the most important things I needed to do as a manager. Maybe I missed the day when they went over the part where they were joking and really the budget was just something you should blow off since no one really needs money anyway. Or maybe he just went to a different school.

So, once again our fearless leader is at war with his own superiors. Yeah, I’m sure this is going to end well. Maybe we should just schedule a meeting to talk about new signage for office doors… Which would be funny if it weren’t already on the calendar for next week.

Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of previously de-published blogs appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.

Reading is Fundamental…

In theory, I work with responsible adults who have the ability to both read and understand the English language. The majority have an undergraduate degree and many have at least one master’s degree. Therefore, you’d think it would be easy enough to follow a set of directions that said simply:

Review the attached documents and provide your written feedback via email to Mr. Random Bureaucrat at random.bureaucrat@bigagency.gov not later than 10:00 AM.

Of course, what actually happens is you get flooded with messages that say things like “I didn’t like the way things were formatted, so I changed the layout and increased the font because I can’t see so good. Oh, and I changed some of the numbers because I don’t think they were right.” Or someone wanders to your cube wanting you to take dictation about the 37.25 things they want to change. Or someone sends in their changes at 4:32 PM and is then offended when you don’t drop everything, immediately recall the data that had been sent up the chain of command at noon and make their “critical” changes.

Look jerkwater, we spent three months crunching the numbers you sent us. Don’t blame the analysis because you don’t like how things turned out. And definitely don’t blame the analyst when you want to send in “updated” data six hours after the absolute last deadline for changes has passed.

For the love of God and all things good, right, and holy, spare us all the embarrassment of how badly it must suck to be you and read the instructions next time.

Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.