Sunday, January 18, 2015


My workplace has a "no digital devices" policy for visitors in a couple of sensitive areas.  This was implemented after we caught a guy taking photos of other people without their permission.  Because of the nature of our business, this is considered a privacy issue.  Therefore, we police our more open areas for cell phone use, and crack down on any dissidents.

Last week we caught a guy using his cell phone to make a call.  However, when a staff member asked him to turn it off and put it away, he claimed that he hadn't actually been using it.  His story?  It was powered off, and he just happened to be pressing it against his ear.

Just let that one sink in for a minute or two.

Next story:  A woman that I work with entered my office looking serious.  She held a small pile of papers.  "I wanted to bring this to your attention," she told me.  The problem?  She had printed a report on a shared printer.  Before she had a chance to pick up her print job, someone else getting their papers moved it aside.  "I found it," she told me gravely, "like this."  Indignantly, she showed me that the first two pages of the report had been reversed.  Page 2 was on top, then page 1, then the rest of the report.

The report was not stapled or otherwise bound.  It was not wrinkled or coffee-stained.  There were no pages missing.  The solution to this woman's concern was as simple as switching the two pages back into order.

She named the person who she claimed was the guilty party.  I told her "Well, let me know if it happens again.  If it starts to seem like a pattern, I'll have a word with her."  Sometimes the easiest way to end a conversation is to humour someone.  After she left my office, I literally had to put my head on my desk and take a moment before I could carry on.

One more:  A couple of years ago, my workplace implemented a software for keeping paperless records.  Since the professionals we serve are independent practitioners, not employees, I can't compel any of them to use the system.  So far, a handful have converted.

There is one older woman, probably around 70, who chose to convert.  I frankly didn't believe that she would see the process through.  I was her tutor, and the first stages of her training included me encouraging her to double-click more rapidly.  She also regularly got her left- and right-clicks mixed up.  So, not exactly a computer genius.  However, she proved to be remarkably persistent, and I was amazed to find that she progressed quickly.  My admiration for her increased accordingly.

Still, the stubbornness that allowed her to carry on is not always beneficial.  We are now in the final stages of her training, and all that's essentially left for her to do is get comfortable with the document retrieval system.

She took issue with our naming conventions.  These are labels we came up with to distinguish one document type from another, approved by a planning committee several years ago, and now in use by everyone on the system.  "That is not the right name for it," she told me about more than one document.  "Well, those are the names that the committee came up with, so unfortunately you're going to have to get used to them."

"No, it is wrong."

"I can't change it."

"No, that is not the name."

"I don't know what to tell you.  Either you use those names or you just don't use the system at all."


We were at an impasse.  She was obviously angry, and I was getting there too.  I mean, really?  We've come this far and you're going to get hung up on semantics?  I tried quoting Shakespeare at her (A rose by any other name etc.) but that didn't fly.  Finally I remembered that a governing body had been in to audit the records of two of our other professionals on the system, and they had not had any problems with our naming conventions.  I shared this fact with Ms. Stubborn, and she piped down.  I think she was just having a bad day.  But dang, I was too.

Now you guys are reminded to demonstrate to me that there is still some levity and common sense left in the world of humans.  :-)


Warped Mind of Ron said...

Did you mention to the one lady that if the document is sensitive and shouldn't be touched she should get to the printer faster? Ummm... in all fairness I tend to get a little crazy about the proper positioning of staples on a document.

Granny Annie said...

I don't know why but this reminds me of the early days when computers first entered the workplace. I was young and took to them like a duck to water but my senior counterparts refused to follow directions and do things right and were messing up the works. The stubborn ones were always there in some form my entire 32 year career. Again, have I mentioned how much I enjoy retirement?

DarcKnyt said...

Why, oh why, is nothing ever simple where humans are concerned? ever?

I wish I could help, Spark, but I've been off the 'Net last few weekends, gaming with my son. It's been a great time though.

Still, work people can be a bit challenging. And I know how it is when someone having a bad day chooses to make yours the same way.

Hang in there. We're rootin' for ya.

G. B. Miller said...

Gotta love that first example.

I worked for a guv'ment agency and we have signs posted inside our building, outside the building, in various common areas and its common knowledge not only in our agency but statewide, that the state actively performs electronic surveillance. Big Brother you might say.

But does that stop people from doing things on the computer that you're not supposed to do?


Vanessa T said...

Sounds like you could use a dose of Invader Zim, the ultimate Misanthrope. :D

I'm sorry you were having a bad day. Remember when a headbanger was some kind of intense heavy-metal rock concert? Now it's a frustrating day or person.

Tomorrow will be better! *hugs*

Ginny said...

I have a co-worker who rather than do something simple such as look up an address himself, he will try to get someone else to do it. I'll get an email saying "please tell me the phone number of this client". I respond back with "the number is in the office contacts." He then responds asking me to copy and paste it in an email to him. He actually wants me to copy and paste the phone number from the office contacts that he has access to!