Anne B. Walsh - Do you believe in magic?

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Anne's Randomness

Reading between the lines

Good morning, O readers, and happy Why Do I Work Here... Thursday? I know, I know. It's usually Wednesday when I give you chapter and verse about the trials and tribulations of the administrative assistant in the modern financial industry. What can I say? I was busy actually dealing with said trials and tribulations yesterday.
So this is a Why Do I Work Here Wednesday post a day late, in which I will give you a piece of modern business jargon and see if you can translate it correctly. After translation, I want you to really think about what it means, and then compare your thoughts with the ones I've come up with. Are you ready? Here we go.
I had a conversation via instant message yesterday with a new manager I'm supposed to be supporting. He needs access to a folder on our share drives where certain documents are stored. I put in a request for him to get that access about a month ago, but warned him at the time that because we've had changes in our process, it might take quite a while, up to six weeks, to get him that access.
Exactly 30 days later (which was yesterday), Mr. Manager is asking where his access is. I reminded him that things are taking a lot of time right now, and this was his response:
Strive for results while ignoring defined process
If you can't read that, it says (slightly edited for punctuation), "We should strive for results, and not let the 'defined process' get in the way of execution and achieving results." Got that? Okay. I'm going to give you a few seconds to think about what that means in plain English. Go! *whistles Jeopardy theme song*
All right, O readers, what'd you come up with? Because my interpretation of striving for results without letting the defined process get in the way is as follows: "Who cares about rules? The hell with the rules. I need what I need, I need it now, and you're going to get it for me. Name-drop, push, escalate, bully, do whatever you have to do. Just get me what I need and don't bother me with silly excuses!"
Well, let's see here. I don't know about you, but back when I was in grade school, my teachers used to tell us a useful rule of thumb for deciding if we should do something or not. What would the results be if everybody did what you're thinking about doing? If everybody threw their trash on the ground instead of in the trash can, for instance, or cheated on that test, or drove their car while texting? Not very good, right?
So, let's apply grade school logic to the working world. (A process I have found helpful on a great many occasions.) Could it be that the reason it currently takes six weeks to get a simple request fulfilled is because everybody at Glass Bathroom Bank has decided that they do not care about the rules, because everybody is name-dropping, pushing, escalating, bullying, and therefore the people fulfilling the requests are overwhelmed and literally unable to work any faster? Good golly, I think it might!
Okay, enough sarcasm. I do realize that to a certain extent all systems are flawed, and that it is my job to work either with or around the system as necessary to get my people what they need. But I clean up after the results of people's selfishness and impatience every day. Being ordered to be selfish and impatient on someone else's behalf doesn't sit well with me. I wish I could get myself away from here, but when my only paid book sale in the last 30 days was of a three-dollar ebook which was almost immediately refunded...
But that's a gripe for another day. Thanks, as always, for reading, a reminder that comments are moderated and will show up after I have approved them, and I'll see you tomorrow for Fiction Friday! Any requests? I don't promise to honor them, but who knows, you might give me an idea!

5 Comments to Reading between the lines:

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NotACat on Thursday, March 19, 2015 8:53 AM
Every time you post one of these, I am reminded how nice it is that I work for a small company in which decisions can be made pretty much in real time, plus I work from home and don't have to deal with my lunatic former co-workers any more ;-)
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Carole on Thursday, March 19, 2015 10:39 AM
My husband always says that it helps him to remember that the people he supervises are 4 years old. Or at least they behave that way. Hang in there, Anne!
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greatlakesmolly on Thursday, March 19, 2015 10:54 AM
This means that you are not only helping these people in their business transactions: you are also making a moral stand. I admire that, and wish it could be easier for you.
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Geoffrey on Thursday, March 19, 2015 10:53 PM
I do believe this manager may have had a point, but he was grumbling to the wrong department. The "correct" interpretation (in my opinion) is that when the "defined process" is getting in the way, it is time to amend the process. Which means the grumbling needs to be directed towards IT, not you. I remember working a particular job in which it took over 90 days to get permission for some of the systems I needed. It may have taken longer, but I quit at that point, and I will never work for that company again.
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lilyginnyrose on Saturday, March 21, 2015 11:22 AM
I'm always amazed by how you seem to be the only sensible person in the whole bank, and think "people can't be that stupid actually." And then I remember that yes, they can. I think you're incredible for not giving in to them and their way of thinking.
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