Monday, October 08, 2007

Who's on Crack?

Somebody where I work is on crack, but I don't like to say anything, just in case it turns out to be me.

A few months ago, I was assigned to plan a safety training session for a group that my section belongs to. We all have to attend these things about once a quarter, and they're always dull as dirt. They are, in fact, so dull that sometimes the guest presenters don't bother showing up; and when that happens, we all have to sit through the work-zone safety film "One Step from Death" AGAIN.

After you've seen this film six or seven times, you start rooting for the cement mixer. Kill! Kill! Kill!

"You're creative," my boss told me when the session was assigned to me to plan. "These meetings are always so dull. I know you can do something much better. Let's show 'em!"

If that doesn't translate into "Hire a snake guy," I'd like to know what does.

My boss, as it turns out, is terrified of snakes. Fair enough: she doesn't have to attend. But she seems to have a certain odd hangup about letting other people do something she personally wouldn't enjoy, and she's also very anxious about doing everything as much by the book as she can manage. If there's not a book for her to go by, she'll get somebody to write one. So even though this snake guy has done multiple safety presentations for other groups in our organization, she decided (though I was supposed to be the one planning this) to take initiative and send an email to the Legal folks, and ask if they were okay with us hiring someone to bring a couple dozen venomous snakes to a safety meeting.

Legal wrote back that they were not sure this was such a good idea.

"Well, forward the email to me," I told my boss, "and I'll talk to them, I'll see if I can straighten it out."

So I wrote back to them, and explained the situation in more detail. I sent the snake guy's long and impressive list of references, mentioned that he does this for schoolchildren and birthday parties, for heaven's sake, and assured them that it was completely safe. Not to mention cool as shit; but I didn't think they'd care about that.

Nothing doing. I'm sure they wouldn't have taken any notice of it if they hadn't been outright asked for their written permission. I talked to a woman from one of the groups he's presented to several times in the past, and she said it had simply never occurred to her to clear it with Legal, because she didn't consider there to be any safety issue. "Snakes can't fly, you know," she informed me.

I knew that.

Anyway, while I was on vacation, Legal wrote back to my boss again reiterating that they could not give their blessing, so it's off. My boss came into my cube today and sat down heavily.

"I got in so much trouble with my boss about the snake guy," she sighed, closing her eyes and shaking her head. "She was so mad. We shouldn't have handled it the way we did. I'm not blaming you, but you never should have contacted Legal. We never should have asked. We should have just planned it, and now we can't. You should never have - we should never have emailed them."

She left me with a bit of a dazed look on my face, I guess. Wait a minute. Am I dreaming? Is she on crack? Did she just chew me out for what she did? What the hell kind of Howard Johnson's is this?!?

So I emailed the snake guy, apologized profusely, explained as much of the situation as I could, and regretfully informed him that we'd have to cancel. I did not use the word "dumbasses" at any point, and I'm rather proud of my self-control; aren't you? He wrote back that he was surprised and disappointed, and that in twenty years of doing this he's never had a presentation cancelled for safety reasons. He didn't use the word "dumbasses" either, but he didn't really need to.

Anyway, this is a terribly long lead-up to the two important questions blazing in the forefront of my brain tonight:

1. Am I on crack?
2. Should I be?

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5 Comments:

At October 09, 2007 1:00 AM, Blogger Cheryl's BITCH! said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At October 09, 2007 11:03 PM, Anonymous b.r. said...

That agency is the most dysfunctional, ass-backward entity I can even conceive of. I'm not the least bit surprised that they're the only ones ever to cancel a presentation that's safe enough for kindergartners.

 
At October 09, 2007 11:06 PM, Blogger Cheryl's BITCH! said...

I would be more than happy to come down and offer my expertise on the handling of snapping turtles.

 
At October 09, 2007 11:07 PM, Blogger Cheryl's BITCH! said...

Here is the link ..I promise it is safe!
http://www.chelydra.org/snapping_turtle_handling.html

**or** I could get the guys from ISD to come and show proper procedure on Crop Dusting

 
At October 10, 2007 12:25 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

You should have ordered the snake guy and sent him to legal.

Let them decide the issue, up close and personal.

I would also kick your boss in the head asap.

 

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