+++*

Symbolic Forest

A homage to loading screens.

Blog : Posts tagged with ‘management’

Frustration

In which things always go wrong … unless we want them to go wrong

A Work Story.

We need a new printer. The MD says: “Order a new printer!” Our manager waits until he’s out of earshot, then says: “get Spare Printer X working and use that instead.”

So, I find Spare Printer X out, and do manage to get it working. I test it. It seems to be fine. But then, a strange thing starts happening.

I give it a page to print. Let’s call it Page A. It prints it. All is well.

I test a different page. Page B. The printer happily prints another copy of Page A.

A third page to the printer? Out comes Page A again.

Let’s try a four-page document. I get: four copies of Page A.

Switch to a different application. It works! It prints what I tell it to – Page X this time.

I print Page Y from that application. I get Page X again.

Go back to the first program. Still printing Page A.

Let’s reboot the printer. Let’s print. Oh look, Page A.

OK, it’s not the printer. Let’s reboot the printer, and the computer, wait ten minutes, turn them back on. Check there are no files spooled and waiting. Print something. Out comes: Page A. Now this, surely, is physically impossible.*

The boss pops down to check how I’m getting along. “It’s borked,” I say. “It only ever prints copies of the first thing you told it to print. It’s useless. Look.” I repeat my last, failed, print request. It prints perfectly. Arse.

“Looks fine to me,” says the boss. “Put it in, and see if they have any problems.”

Of course, I know it’s never going to work now.

* or at least, extremely improbable, if you follow Sherlock Holmes’ philosophy.

A Short Post

In which things are still going downhill

Work, which I didn’t think could go downhill, is going downhill. It’s not something I can talk about here, for the usual privacy reasons, but it’s definitely going downhill. Nobody at all in the office is in a good mood, and me and Big Dave feel as if we’re walking around with Blame Conductors* on our heads. The office in-jokes are getting darker and more bitter by the day; and our manager, already Most Hated Person In The Building, is becoming more unpopular by the hour.

* spiky things that attract Clouds Of Blame to ground themselves on your head, usually with a sharp zap.

Stressful

In which things are going downhill

Work is not good at the moment. We are supposed to be doing impossible things, in tiny amounts of time. Our contractors are getting angrier, and our management is refusing to manage. We’re sending warnings upwards, about things that don’t work, things that we don’t know work, and things that haven’t even been tried; the management isn’t listening, so later they can claim they didn’t even know. Our department is becoming less and less popular by the minute, because of the black hole it’s creating. The work is leaving me lightheaded, tired, and listless. Then again, that could equally be explained by the bad ventilation in the office.*

Me and Big Dave are in a game of chicken at the moment. A game of chicken, to see who dares send in their resignation letter first.

* The feelings I have by 5pm every day – anger, irritibility, tiredness, listlessness, light-headedness – are all symptoms of hypoxia, or blood oxygen shortage.

Friday again

Or, to recap

If this week seems to have gone quickly, it’s because I haven’t been blogging very much. My social life is getting the better of me.

Talking of blogging, one of the branch managers at work has apparently started too. I’m intrigued, but not enough to want to read it. The next thing you know, the Managing Director will be getting a Livejournal.

Update on last month’s post about Christian science fiction: whilst searching for something else, I discovered the book I was thinking of when I wrote it. It’s Operation Titan by Dilwyn Horvat. I’ve tried searching for more information about Horvat, but not very much has turned up. I’m not even sure whether Dilwyn is a male or female name.**

The book I was searching for, incidentally, was How To Travel With A Salmon by Umberto Eco, because I wanted to reread his essay “How To Recognise A Porn Movie”. It’s a long, long story,* but it’s tangentially linked to this post from last August, one of the first things I wrote here. I’ll post more about it soon, I’m sure.

* which, to explain, would take several pages of context, description, links to discussions elsewhere, links to political campaigning sites, links to sites you probably shouldn’t read at the office, and lots more explanation, and probably, diagrams.

** Update, August 26th 2020: Internet searches have become rather more sophisticated in the last 14 years, so nowadays it will tell you that Dilwyn Horvat is a Welsh male Christian SF author whose only books are Operation Titan and its sequel Assault on Omega 4. I vaguely remember that the sequel is not set on the moon Titan like the first book; instead it’s in a grimdark post-apocalyptic Oxford.

Security (part two)

In which a contractor doesn’t do the job properly

So, as I explained yesterday, the security contractor at the office has saddled us with three “incompatible” security systems, two of which probably are compatible after all, it’s just that he doesn’t know how to get them to work together. We complained to the office manager about it. “Well, if that’s what the contractor said, that’s what’s going to happen.”

The next day, our boss comes through to visit. “What’s this about us needing three different tags for the alarms?”

We told him what we’d been told.

“It’s a bloody stupid idea. I thought they were all going to work together.” Yes, so did we. “I don’t want to have to carry three tags on my keyring.” And he wanders off, grumbling about it.

The following day, we notice the Managing Director stalking about in our part of the building, looking at the security gadgets and making “hmmm…” noises. The office manager is following him around, trying to explain how wonderful these expensive systems we’ve commissioned are.

“…you’ll have one tag for these doors, one tag for the outside doors and gates, one tag for…”

“Why do we need three different tags for everything? Why can’t we just have one?”

“The contractor says that they won’t…”

“Well, I thought we were just going to have one tag that would do everything. I don’t want…”

I tuned out, but it was clear the way the conversation was going. What makes me sigh isn’t that we always prefer contractors who have worked for us before, even when their track record is hardly promising.* It’s that the management should have spotted this coming. The contractor did give the office manager a nice thick specifications document – did the manager bother to read it at all? Didn’t he bother to ask questions about the vague parts?

* This isn’t the first time the security contractor has fitted something and then not set it up properly, because although he’s agreed to fit the system we wanted he’s not willing to learn how to configure it.

Stress and strain

On being unmotivated

Work is wearing me down again. We have several projects on our menu, for different divisions of the company, and of course everybody thinks their own project is urgent. Our manager’s opinion of the most urgent depends on who he had last talked to.

When people ask me: “have you done X? When will Y be ready?” over and over again, I get annoyed and irritated. Unfortunately, most of the other managers in the company seem to think that this is the best way to go about motivating people. Of course, some go further, and lie directly: “I know Z is supposed to be ready by the end of the month. I’m sure someone told me that. I’m not sure who, but I’m sure someone did.”

Attitude

In which a colleague shocks us

Being a normal, well-adjusted, modern person, I sometimes forget how bigoted and backwards other people tend to be around here.

Today, I was over at one of our branch offices in Another Part Of The Forest for a few hours. Whilst I was there, one of the staff popped across the road to the local chip shop to get us all dinner. She came back, and we tucked in.

“These are good fishcakes,” said the branch manager. He’s in his mid-30s, he knows how to cook well and dress well, and I assume he’s fairly intelligent.* “You wouldn’t think they were made by a couple of gayboys.” I choked on my coffee, but managed not to say anything. We get on badly enough already.

* Well, his writing is barely functional – I’ve received memos from him, and they’re very badly written, bad enough to be very hard to understand sometimes. But, if you manage to become a branch manager, you can’t be too stupid.

Unpopular

In which I feel caught between colleagues

Back at the office today, and I wish I hadn’t been. The first things I had to deal with: a manager, not my own, complaining that I wasn’t doing my job properly; or at least her idea of what my job should be. My own manager’s response to that was: “Bollocks, ignore her,” but I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place.

There’s not much motivation about at the office. There’s no joy in work when your only hope is to make people slightly less annoyed than they otherwise would be. There’s no recognition that we’re ever doing anything right, only constant complaints that we never do enough.