Try again

January 20th, 2008

The day after I wrote my last post–that is, the Monday after I clocked a fourteen hour day to get this documentation for our new software done on schedule–they canceled the project. As suddenly as we began this new software implementation we ended it. Evidently when someone actually looked around at the different software in use they discovered that they would have to put together a customized interface during the transitional period while other sites were still using the old software, so we went from first on the list to last.

The man on the phone said we had gotten more done than he expected, although those of us the furthest ahead had only done what was required so urgently three days ago. And we were told to finish what we started, because the transition will still happen, eventually.

You can imagine how many places this project dropped on my priority list. So I turned again to claims, which I had kept up on well for December (and November, if memory serves), but had neglected in January. I decided that I was not going to be able to catch up day by day. A ten-day backlog of claims requires hours of devoted time. I have been trying to scale back on my overtime-as-problem-solving because it really isn’t; it is encouraging the problem by accomodating it. I had been struggling to bring the claims-processing to my eight-hour shift instead of an hour or two of overtime each day, but now I was staying an hour, or two, and not doing any claims.

Rather than pretending I would eventually get the claims done on regular time, while the backlog grew day by day, I decided to admit I had already let the problem go and come in on Saturday to clean it up. But I still let myself get up late, and mosey in to work very late in the morning. I sat down at my desk, went through my log-in routine, and realized–remembered–that IT had taken down the mother database that the sector customer service runs off of for some critical maintenance. In other words, my primary reference for all things order related was out for the weekend, and I was in.

Over this past year or so I have gradually developed my in-house resources to the point where I was actually able to answer most of the issues raised without the main database on line. There was that sinking moment when I was pretty sure I threw away my Saturday for nothing, but in the end I managed.

Now I’m down to about a three-day backlog. I think I can deal with this by doing two days of claims each day, which will mean probably two solid hours of overtime for three days, possibly all week.

Then I will be back to trying to get the claims work into my regular eight hours. That will be particularly hard now because P.B., the manager, was conscripted into being a member on this second A-Team coming in. He told his (and my) boss that he was too busy taking care of the other projects that had been placed on his lap, but he nevertheless got an e-mail on Friday from corporate HQ where our boss was hob-nobbing that he had been volunteered, to start Monday.

Probably the plant manager and other high-level staff, including aforementioned boss, will still expect him to continue tearing out his stockroom and reorganizing it in a way he does not agree with, not to mention the several other projects and basic functions of managing that he typically deals with, notwithstanding that these teams require 8+ hours of time from participants.

As perverse as that is, in my own way I am volunteering for it. Not for the same setup exactly, but I am trying to get into the Buzzword Training. This particular Buzzword Training requires, nominally, that the trainee complete projects with documented cash savings, so it seems like a good thing to get on my resume. I have discussed this with the Buzzword Manager and with my own boss, and in Q3, Q4 2007 we were all agreed that I was up for nomination in Q1 2008.

Following up on this in January, I found out that the process had changed and the Buzzword Manager no longer controlled, nor really understood, how candidates were nominated for Buzzword Training; so I sent an e-mail to the archeons of Acme Training and got some information back that my supervisor had to nominate me using the Dilbert Management Software. So I passed this information on to my boss. And then I followed up with him, to see if the information had taken hold; and he said he wanted to talk to the Buzzword Manager.

I believe this is when I am supposed to pathetically whine, “Who moved my cheese?”

My tempermant is more I’ll kill the rat who stole my cheese. You see, it’s not change I don’t like, it’s bad change. And there’s plenty of that going on.