Thursday, August 11, 2005

Potential eyeball revolt and brain mutiny, evil dashes with hidden agendas, and morons on conference calls. In other words, just another day at work.

I'm trying to decide between several options today:

Option A) Work on cleaning up a backlog of work in the system. It's not a pressing issue, yet. But it annoys me. Immensely. I can't do what I'd like to be doing in the system until I'm caught up.

Some days it feels like I'll never be caught up. With anything. At work. Outside of work. I'm just a hamster speed walking on the wheel of life, not going anywhere, and not having any pretty scenery to get distracted by in the processes. I can see the end goal. I know what it looks like, all shiny and sparkly and spangly and lit up with green and pink neon lights. I know what the end goal looks like. And it looks as far away as ever. Because as fast as I go, the wheel just keeps on spinning in the same pile of hamster shit...

Damn. That sounds kind of depressing. Sigh. Don't mind me. Just having a small case of poor-me-itis. I'll take a shot of penichillin' and everything will be fine. No, not fine. Fantabulous!

Because as the old saying goes... slow and steady baby steps wins the race for the unfortunate early worm who's not crafty enough to avoid hungry predators. Or something like that.

Option B) Plot my revenge against the evil Dr. Dash

See, here at work, there's this software we use to record things and order things and yadda yadda yadda. I am the administrator of said software. Not because I'm supa smaht or anything (which I am, but that's beside the point) but because I've worked on it longer than anyone else in my group. (Except for Old Guy Ken - who probably wouldn't appreciate me calling him Old Guy, but the only other nickname I can think of for him is Guy Who Likes To Marry A Lot [he's on number five at the moment]). So I'm the administrator of this really sucky program. And I don't use that term loosely.

The program's been crapping out on us a lot lately. It does weird things that don't make sense, that its never done before. It screws things up and it... well, it’s just a big pain in the ass. We'll be in a meeting, and someone will complain about something the program is doing, and they'll ask the eternal question, 'why is it doing this?' and I, as the administrator, step in duteously and say, with all the authority that my title and expertise affords me:

"Because its retarded."

That is truly the only answer one can give without getting all technical and shit about faulty programming (and since I'm not a programmer or software designer the technical shit is not a part of my vocabulary). The latest problem with the program is really a nonproblem. But its vexing the hell out of me nonetheless.

A dash keeps appearing as a record in one of the lookup tables. So I delete it. Sometime later (anywhere between an hour to several days) it reappears. So I delete it. Hence the continuance of La Cycle De Viscous. When the dash appears in other tables, there's usually a reason, and it usually screws everything up. In this particular case, its not doing anything. Well, other than taunting me with its flagrant dashiness that is.


I've started a log. An "Evil Dash Log". And so far, according to log records, I've deleted the dash record 4 times in the last three hours. I think that means there's something seriously wrong with the system. And, for the record, I'd like to state that IT'S NOT MY FAULT.

When I complained about the dash to the HB a couple of weeks ago (yes, its been a problem for awhile now) he told me I should leave it alone, because obviously the system wants it there, and deleting it might not be the best thing to do. I see the logic in that. I do. But I want that damn dash to die! Die die die!

Option C) Work on some cubicle art.

The latest addiction to my cubicle wall is a calendar of sorts. It lists the days of the week, from Sunday to Saturday, along with the corresponding... uh... thing that everyone is working on. To class it up a bit I sprinkled some Dilbert characters around the sides. Because the longer I work here, the funnier Dilbert gets.

The Boss's Boss saw it, and liked it, and asked me to email him a copy. I said an enthusiastic sure with prideful giddiness. Then I thought, crap, I hope he doesn't think I spent actually company time making this. Did he ask me to send him a copy to keep as evidence? It's crap evidence, really, because I can just say I made it at home. (All real evidence to the contrary has now been deleted).

Former Desk Neighbor Sal is now my desk neighbor again, sitting in the little cubicle station behind me. Yesterday he suggested I make a little sign that says "When in doubt... hit delete!" We have so much junk in our system, so many bad records, that it would be easier to wipe everything out and just start over. Most of the people in my group that are in the trenches, those doing the clean up, feel that this is a sound course of action. But our boss doesn't see it that way. Sigh. So we didn't do a batch wipe out clean out start from scratch and do it right this time. (The guy who set this system up years ago totally screwed us over in this never ending battle - but it is getting better at least.)

So I asked Sal a question, what should we do about this problem with this thing, and his answer was: When in doubt... hit delete! It doesn't rhyme, but its still pretty catchy. It's been a favorite phrase of mine for the last couple of months when dealing with this system.

So I want to make up a little something with the above work slogan (or a similar but catchier slogan), including a picture of keyboard delete key, so I can add it to my cubicle and chuckle at the brilliance of it all.

Option D) Go to the meeting scheduled in five minutes.

I think I'll go with Option D. For now. Then I'll do Option A until either my eyes bug out on me or my brain mutinies. Then I'll play around with Option C. And then maybe I'll get to all the other stuff I have to do. Because Option C, of course, is a must do. Naturally. :)

Actually, I just got done with Option D (I wasn't fast enough and couldn't post before everyone came to my desk for the conference call.) The call was so painfully long and boring and frustratingly filled with morons that it was actually quite fun. In a twisted workplace sort of way.

For instance, at one point during the call, the Leader of the Call asked for progress updates from all the facilities. I told Zack, who was sitting right next to me, while the phone was on 'mute', that we were about 80 to 85 percent done in this particular area, which he conveniently didn't hear. When it was our turn to chime in, I got phone shy, which was accompanied by a case of the quiet giggles, so Zack chimed in for us and said, "We're a hundred percent done!" This was followed by a 'Way to go!' from our boss and an 'All right!' from Call Leader Guy. After he muted the phone again I laughed and said, "I can't believe you just lied to make us look better." This horrified him. It truly did. Which in turn amused me. For some silly reason he thought I'd said we were all done. "Well, with part of it we are," I said. "It's just this other part that's tricky. I think we're all done. But I'm not sure." Next time I told him to say "I believe we're all done". Like a few other people on the call did. That way its not a flat out "100%" lie.

But at least his answer was better than my nonanswer silent giggle. This conference call, combined with a lack of consumed lunch, made me incredibly "slap happy".

Now I must go find something to eat before I giggle myself into a coma.

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