Update: Math at work
Here’s a quickie update.
First, the good news: I turned in this project – in full – a day early and half an hour before the end of my shift. Note: This is actually bad news in disguise. Since I was able to pull a rabbit out of my butt, the boss will naturally tell himself, “See? I just have to challenge my workers and they’ll surprise themselves. Next time I’ll have to ask for even more.” BULLSHIT!
Now, the bad news: Any task between manager and employee can be misunderstood. That’s why I, as the humble employee, always take proactive action to increase the odds of success. I don’t wait on the manager to do anything about it. That would be dumbass.
Since this was a BIG project, I did a sample for the boss and sent it to him for approval before continuing.
The boss signed off on the sample saying, “This is perfect.” I still have the email.
This morning the boss hunted me down and informed me that it turned out to be, in fact, a little short of perfect. In fact, two columns of data on all 29 reports were not what he wanted at all.
Naturally I’m sitting here wondering why he approved the mother fucker if it wasn’t what he wanted.
My Mr. Spock personality informs me, “There are only two possibility, Captain.”
- The boss is too stupid to understand the report and/or what he is saying.
- The boss never bothered to actually look at the sample before approving it.
For a guy who is oh-so-worried about “efficiency” and how I spend my time every day, you think it would behoove him to take such a small step to ensure I didn’t waste hours upon hours of effort simply so they could be flushed down the drain.
Math at work
Remember in school when they forced those damn story problems down your throat? It made you angry, right? Because you just knew shit like that would never apply to your life. What a monumental waste of time.
I woke up this week and somehow summoned the force of will to slog my pitiful self down to The Shithole.
Not long after I clocked in I began to analyze the scope of the day that lay before me. Mondays are never good. The shit piles up fast and customers are out in the world pounding their redial buttons on our voice mail until they get a human. When the phones roll over at 9am The Big Fist of Life says hello to your butt. Mondays are wonderful.
I was grappling with this sort of reality when the boss stopped by for a little chat. It’s never a good thing when you on one of the first things on his plate.
“Ummm. Yeah. I’m gonna have a little task for you. I sent it in email. If you could just go ahead and make that a priority that would be great. Thanks!”
Yes, for me, the movie Office Space is an autobiography.
The email delineated the boss’ needs for the day. It seems the so-called “management retreat” is coming up and the boss wants a little information in the form of some reports. This is so they can make the Big Decisions. You know, like the one’s they made at last year’s Management Retreat that got us deep inside our current pickle. It sure feels good knowing these brainiacs are in charge of the company’s destiny.
Anyway, I digress. The big retreat is Wednesday. He needs his reports no later than Wednesday morning. OK, let’s see what he’s asking for.
The boss wants 29 reports. Each report will contain monthly data (that will also be summarized) for 19 months. That is the 12 months of 2009 and the 7 months in the books so far for 2010. So that is 19 monthly reports for each of the 29 different category reports.
I need a calculator. I can’t do this in my head. 29 overall reports each containing 19 monthly sets of data that will need to be pulled. That’s 29 times 19 which equals … Five hundred and fifty one reports!
Motherfucka! Now that is a real life application of a story problem.
Not satisfied, though, I quickly extended that data out into some real-world numbers. Let’s assume each data set took me one minute to pull, copy and format. That would be of a minimum of 551 minutes for this task. 551 divided by 60 minutes per hour equals 9.2 hours! And my boss has thoughtfully provided lead time of two work days to get this done. Nice.
Here’s a little chart I made to estimate this task:
1 min per data set = 9.2 hours overall task time
2 min = 18.4 hours
3 min = 27.6 hours
4 min = 36.7 hours
5 min = 45.9 hours
Yes. If it turns out that it takes an average of 5 minutes to pull a data set then I only have to get 46 hours work of work done in the first two days of this week.
Presumably the boss has an actual “need” for these reports. (Laughable concept, I know.) That’s why this guy who walks around the office calling himself the “super genius” is so damn smart. “I know,” he wisely said to himself. “I have a 46 hour task for something I really need. Therefore I’ll give my ass monkey two work days to get ‘r done. Good thing I knew about this retreat months ago.”
I was supposed to be pulled from other duties yesterday to work on this all-important task. Yeah, right. We all know how that works. Employees disappear and then come to me and beg me to do their duties. “I’m busy. Can you take the order for this guy on the phone?” Also, “get out on the floor and wait on those customers.” And this was after the boss had told them to leave me alone! LOLZ! It was a typical Monday with the phones ringing off the hook. For added bonus we had a record number of in store customers who hit the doors the moment we opened and never stopped all day long. The other employees, who all have pressing tasks just like me, took the brunt. The boss doesn’t feel that we need dedicate personnel to cover the floor so when employees are out there for hours their other shit (like shipping orders) is not getting done. A lot of orders didn’t get shipped yesterday.
Oh yeah, Monday was a good day.
So I busted my ass, did what I could in the time allotted, and completed 12 out of the 29 major reports that he wanted. That’s only 41% progress on day one. I’ve got one day left. And I concentrated on the easiest reports first. This project ain’t getting done.
Guaranteed failure and putting your ineptness on display is a great way to demoralize and destroy your employees. Well done, Mr. Lumberg.