Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I Can't Even Ask "Why Me"

I was going to tell you, faithful blog readers, about something completely different (and that I find fun) today. But, alas, something happened that has pushed that completely out of my mind. This means you get to hear about work.

Work has been a pain lately. My regular back-up person has been out all week and I have to do work that they would normally do. I also can't get away with not returning voice mails anymore. And my regular stuff has been coming in rather heavy lately. And it's that time of year where we all are required to go to annual security policy meetings. AND they're putting in a new phone system and we have to sit through a two hour training session for that. Due to the nature of my position, I can't schedule either of these meetings myself, Adolf has to do it.

So, without a back-up person, Adolf scheduled me for the phone training session that occurred right over my daily crunch time. You know, the time before 1500 when all urgent requests (that is, requests that have payments attached to them that need to be back out the same day) must be completed to make it in the hands of the letter carrier. 1330 to 1530, I was supposed to be training.

But, wait! My back-up person is off this week! Wait again! The person who had the job before me is in the same training session. Wait once more! The only other person in the office who knows my job is not a part of my group anymore! So, yesterday, I e-mailed Adolf and said someone would need to cover the urgent requests; reminding my fearless supervisor about my 1500 deadline that is always forgotten. We went back and forth about what times it needs to be covered and all that, and then Adolf said "Ok, it will be covered." And that was that. I wasn't told by whom, and I didn't ask because that's not my concern. Adolf has the power to delegate, and Adolf said it would be covered.

Who wants to guess who was given the task of completing these important, time-sensitive jobs?

Come on, give it a guess.

You know that you know who it was.

Of course I'm going to tell you anyway, dear blog readers. You'd be right if you guessed WAM. Poor WAM, who has never seen the forms my work comes in on other than looking over my shoulder when talking about something irrelevant. Sweet WAM, who thinks no ones work is as important as what she already does. Darling WAM, who wouldn't know logic if it walked up to her, shook her hand, and introduced itself.

So, I came back from my long training session, ready to give the queue a once-over to find out how many came in and who had completed them, then turn off the computer and go home. I saw WAM on those replies and had an instant stomach ache.

See, my work is not complicated if you know what you are looking at. I personally designed them to be as easy and straight forward as possible, and I insist that everyone who sends me work conforms to my way. This creates uniformity. This makes me work faster. And it means that a tiny bit of training will make anyone able to do it. Hello, simplicity!

Seeing that WAM was the caretaker of my work-baby was, as I said, sickening. I opened the first reply to see what she had done and wished I had just ignored it. Without looking at the original form request, I just read what WAM had replied, "The account number is NA, this merchant requires 7-13 digits. The link was deleted because we need the account number." If you've been following along, you should recognize that this means WAM had just deleted from the system a payment that needed to be sent back out today!

Frankly, it didn't matter what information was or was not included on the form. We can't delete those no matter how wrong they are: there is a payment attached to it! This could be someones mortgage, or health insurance, or utility payment, or anything! And it had to be back on its way to the merchant! To make matters worse (yes, there is a worse), that seven to thirteen digit account number that the customer did not originally supply had been obtained by the rep working the inquiry and was included on the form! WAM only had to look at it, make the update, and call it done.

By now, the rep who had worked the inquiry sent a reply, stating that the account number was included and that we needed to restore the link because that payment needed to go out. It barely mattered now, because we were certainly past the deadline. I flew to WAM's desk in time to stop her from e-mailing the rep asking for the identification number of the link so we can restore it (we did not need that sent to us, it's all on the form!). I told WAM not to worry about it, that I would take care of it, thank you for helping out, I know it was last minute, I'm sorry Adolf didn't tell me and give me a chance to train you a little, and I'll take care of the rest of them too.

Yes, I solved the problem because I'm just good like that. I didn't get a chance to yell at Adolf for the total botching of my important work. It amazes me how much management doesn't know about what we have to do. This is, of course, why Adolf gives me so many projects, and so many projects during my crunch time at that. WAM tried. She really did. She did what she normally would have done with such a request, except that she disregarded the special nature of the requests that I work every day. If I had known it was going to happen like this, I would have e-mailed the other department supervisors directly and let them know they would have to take care of things because there was no one else. (They can do that, but auditors don't like it.)

Tomorrow won't be much better. I'm done with all my meetings, but it's WAM's turn and she gets to do them both in one day. This means I'll have to answer the phone all day. Nothing slows me down like having to drop everything to take a call. That's why we do it in shifts. I think I need to sit Adolf down and discuss the importance of time management. Taking someone off the floor for almost half a day really hurts us when we're already down one.

Well, thank you, gentle readers, for letting me rant about my last thirty minutes of work! I hope your evening treats you well!

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