Frontier Former Editor

December 21, 2008

Workplace sanitation and Russian military aircraft

My current employer (‘a leader in solutions for the business community’) apparently hasn’t a clue when it comes to solutions for its community of workers.

Case in point: Restroom facilities.

On Friday, we had staffers from our client (‘a leader in solutions for bank customers that ISN’T getting bailed out yet’ – not a bad selling point these days) visit the site to see how well we can do the job at about 75% of the cost of the client’s regular employees. Of course, so as to not show the visitors what heathens and savages we are, we were barred from using the front restrooms so they could mess them up, have illicit sex in private, etc.

Perhaps more details is required here. The building has four restrooms: a mass facility each for male and female and each capable of handling about 8 simultaneous excretors (I don’t frequent of surveil the ladies room, so maybe Chuck Berry could come in handy here), and a one-holer for male and female up front. During daytime hours, the building has about 300 people working.

To add to the normal hilarity, maintenance will shut down one mass facility – usually during peak break times – for cleaning.

I won’t begin to address the age-old ‘potty parity’ issue here except to say that our corporation needs to revise its standard floor plan for new call centers.

Back to Friday.

In the midst of trying to impress our client, our computer link with the client’s customer service software crashed for three hours. I was on my extended midday break and missed that fun, but they saved some for me for my evening shift.

A sequence of two e-mails announced that the men’s mass facility would be shut down that day since the single water shutoff valve handled both mass rooms. Since the visitors had left, the two front one-holers would be men-only.

Five minutes later, the internal e-mail service announced that both mass facilities would be shut down for construction, leaving one one-holer for men and one for women that evening. Even with about 100 people on evening/night shift, the front plumbing was running pretty heavily.

That arrangement persisted all day Saturday., when about 250 people were on duty.  Now, applied probability and statistics pretty well guarantees that, even with just adults in the user group, someone’s going to have some sort of catastrophic or extended incident during their visit. And even more application makes it likely that someone having such an incident will not have the decency to clean up after themselves.

That held true. In euphemistic terms, if Lee Harvey Oswald had dropped about two or three mils on his sighting on John F. Kennedy, the lower interior of his limousine would have looked much like the adjacent floor and wall tiles of the men’s toilet.

Saturday was an interesting day. When the computer system crashed again across our building and our client’s main facility, it was a relief when several of us were given early outs. Missing two hours pay was worth it to get the hell out of there. Otherwise we might have been assigned in shifts to burn diesel oil on drums of human waste.

What of Russian military aviation, you might be asking? The site manager had sent out another e-mail Friday, congratulating us for suitably impressing the client delegation  and for the wonderful military-themed bulletin board honoring our client’s main customer base. As I was heading out the door, one photo on the board caught my eye since I’m a bit of  an aviation enthusiast.

Amid all those photos of American servicemembers sacrificing themselves and defending our freedom was a photo of a Sukhoi Su-27.

Do svidaniya

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March 27, 2008

Mickey Mouse at the wheel of management . . .

Filed under: human resources, humor, management, Uncategorized, workplace — Tags: , , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 11:40 am

I share this not out of any sense that it tops other examples of gross mismanagement, but out of tired amusement.

My current layover in the employment arena is a call center which dare not speak its name (no, not a lesbian phone sex call center), but which motivates its employees with images of rock climbing, hiking/orienteering, and kayaking/canoeing.

When set in the context of this particular facility, all of those motivational images can be set in the context of some classic movies:

rock climbing, for example . . .

eiger.jpg

or a nice hike . . .

southern-comfort.jpg

or a relaxing canoe trip . . .

deliverance.jpg

You may get the point.

This past week has shown our facility’s management at a new peak of cinematic allegory. Our site director and the associated human resources director found it vital to change the morning clock-in process so that 400 people have to clock in at the same time – 8:25 a.m.

Two months ago, this would not have been a particularly intense logistic exercise, since everyone punched the clock at their respective cubicle phone. But why make something easy and efficient when you can adopt (drum roll please) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . THE LATEST IN TECHNOLOGY!

Coming from another company which dare not speak its name (no, not a homosexual lifestyle-oriented company – the gay community has much better taste than to be associated with this particular firm) is our new biometric finger-scan timeclock designed to simplify our clock in process by clocking in with our mathematically-modeled fingerprint image before scrambling to clock in at our phones as we did before.

As the supplier told out corporate purchasing and efficiency gurus, it’s a real ‘timesaver.’

And to speed the process of clocking in, two of these devices were placed in our lobby so 400 people could be processed at two chokepoints and one person at a time.

But wait, it gets even more efficient. Instead of keeping the 10-minute window in which employees could clock in with our new ‘timesaver,’ the site director decided that we all could wait (read: “cannot clock in before 8:25 a.m.”) to punch in at 8:25 a.m. so we could be ready to take calls at . . . . . . 8:25 a.m.

The past few days have been a wonder of an approximately 40-foot-by 40-foot lobby crowded with 100 people waiting to see if Newtonian physics can be circumvented and all clock in at the same time.

What of the other 300? They all learned fast to say ‘screw it’ and have their team managers correct their clock-in times on the insanely efficient site network.

But, not content with their contribution to a tightly organized example of Swiss-watch efficiency, said site director and HR director implemented another cutting-edge methodology to improve the workplace environment.

They sent maintenance out to take away the wastebaskets at each and every cubicle.

I can’t wait for the new directive where each employee will have a kidney removed once a quarter. That should solve the turnover problem, since the company will probably invest in two dialysis machines to serve 400 workers.

And this leads to the cinematic allegory for our beloved management . . .

 steamboatwillie.gif

And it reaffirms my suspicion of our HR department’s concept of human resources . . .

It’s a shame that I don’t get to talk to any sweet Canadian FedEx ladies

September 2, 2007

Just relax and take it in an inch at a time . . . .

Filed under: food, humor, I'm not gay, KY Jelly, pizza, straight men, workplace — Frontier Former Editor @ 10:29 pm

Probably the only high point of working Saturday – other than the worthless, incompetent, favorite-playing Limey supervisor that Great Britain was smart enough to chase from their shores to Southwest Virginia and my workplace – was the fat, stupid bastard who embarassed himself in front of about 50 fellow call representatives.

No, not me. I’m a fat, hateful bastard.

The fat, stupid bastard I’m referring to already has a Nero and movie-character ‘Fat Bastard’ reputation. Back in January, when management saw fit in their infinite wisdom to hold a cookout right at the time we get our Alberta clipper, FSB (not to be confused with moi, FHB) terrorized four of us as we were waiting in line inside for a tray of burnt offerings to be grilled and brought to the buffet line. As we stood polite and drone-like, the ‘chef’ brought in the burgers and placed them at the serving table.

Two seconds later, Jabba the Hutt with a crewcut burst in, yelled ‘FOOD!’ and cut in front of us. Thankfully, no one had limbs within a foot of the tray, but we all agreed later that about 8 to 10 patties disappeared in his wake.

Fast forward to Sept. 1, 2007: FSB and two other women are discussing whether or not to order pizza delivery (I doubted that there was enough Teamster and sealift capacity around to serve him, but I digress.)

One of the women suggests – without giggling – that they order a large pizza. FSB asks how big it is. She replies ‘Sixteen inches.’

FSB blurts out “SIXTEEN INCHES? THAT’S TOO BIG FOR MEEEE!!!”

I know that at least 10 people laughed their asses off within three seconds of his remark. I was one.

If I ever get wind that he’s ordered a pizza, I’m going to wait out front for the delivery guy and slip him $10 to include a tube of KY or Astroglide in the box.

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