Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Song of the Open Road

Try not to begin work conversations with "[Coworker], you idiot..." It starts you off on the wrong foot. You want to start off on the right foot, because you'll be needing to put that right foot right up somebody's ass.

I've written before about this optical scanning project we're doing to get a lot of ancient roadway data, currently all in paper files, into a database. There's a certain someone who's been put in charge of this project. I believe this certain someone was put in charge because he wasn't doing anything else, so it was a way to keep him busy; and because this project is unimportant enough that it doesn't really matter if he screws it up. Which is fine, except that the powers-that-be gave him a few other people to work on the project under him, and one of those people is me.

It feels a little sketchy to make fun of him. I'm not sure where the line is between "dumber than a box of hair" and "mentally disabled," but wherever it is, he's awfully close, if not clear on the other side. Then again, he is a few pay grades higher than I am. Add to this the fact that he's obviously a little too desperate for female attention, and obviously a little too glad of the excuse to come talk to me on a regular basis. There are five or six other people on the project, all men and one older woman. They hardly ever see him.

We recently abandoned the optical recognition software and began 10-keying. I can now 10-key by touch, and pretty fast, too. Isn't that great news? Maybe now I can get that data entry clerk job I've been dreaming of!

Coworker-You-Idiot has nothing to do but (1) scan in the paper documents, (2) coordinate who's entering which reports, and (3) call meetings.

1. With some help, he eventually figured out how to work the scanner - but not before scanning several documents crooked, cutting off columns we had to go in and re-enter later, and capturing a perfect image of his wristwatch.

2. Yesterday he assigned me a batch of reports which I discovered, after 10-keying in the first one and saving it to the project folder, had already been done. I sent him an email to call this to his attention. It cost me some effort to refrain from opening with "[Coworker], you idiot..."

3. He does manage to call meetings. Two a week, in fact, though everyone eventually protested enough to get it down to just one. But he keeps forgetting to reserve the conference room for them. The meetings basically consist of C-Y-I giving a long update on how many documents have been entered to date (only of interest to his boss, who never shows up) and explaining to the rest of us - again and again, at length, ad infinitum, ad nauseam - the project background, and how to do what we've been doing for months now. They take about an hour.

"Calm Blue Ocean," say the magnetic letters on my cube cabinet. "Send Help" is spelled out on the other side. Send a foot to put up C-Y-I's ass, is more like it. I'm not using mine. It would only give him ideas.

*****

Don't call your cohorts idiots,
Or heckle as they pass;
It puts you on the wrong foot when you need to have the right foot
To put it up their ass.

We have old roadway data
That must be digitized,
But management, who wants it done, really only wants it done
To keep us tranquilized.

And so they formed a project
And appointed as its guide
A man of such incompetence that other men's incompetence
Looks like brilliance beside.

Next they bought some software
Which supposedly can read;
But the optical recognition garbles beyond recognition
And all must be 10-keyed.

This isn't rocket science!
Just let your fingers run.
But instead we have meetings on top of more meetings
So that no work can get done.

Not that it really matters,
For it's quite clear to see:
The one thing more unimportant than a job this unimportant
Is a T***T employee!


If somebody will put that to music for me, maybe we can perform it at the next agency function.

5 Comments:

At November 21, 2006 6:16 PM, Anonymous b.r. said...

Please call. Please call. Please call. Please call...

 
At November 21, 2006 10:28 PM, Blogger dreadpir8roberts said...

ruh-roh Shaggy.

Need help moving your TV, there b.r. ?

 
At November 21, 2006 11:04 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Men! All after only one thing. Plasma-screen TVs.

 
At November 22, 2006 12:19 PM, Anonymous b.r. said...

Actually, I was just thinking out loud on my first comment. As I was reading Beth's description of the scanning project, I couldn't help but think about NREL calling to take me away.

 
At November 22, 2006 4:29 PM, Anonymous debster said...

Hey woman. I can't wait to see you. You may not always feel it, but I love you more than you could ever know.

 

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