M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Monday, May 06, 2002  

I work at a company that does recordkeeping for 401(k) retirement plans. We have roughly a hundred employees in our building, a number that will more than double by the end of the year. The department I work in is the Call Center. When people who work for our client companies have questions about their retirement accounts, they don't call their employers; they call us. So it's pretty important that our phones work all the time.

And yet, there isn't a single soul in our building who can fix the phones if anything goes wrong.

I have reason to hope that will change soon, but it hasn't yet. In the meantime, when something breaks I'm pretty much on my own. That's pretty terrifying.

Today I had a problem that I had half a dozen people working on. The head of the IT department, a couple of people from another of our company's offices that's a thousand miles away, two guys from our telecommunications vendor, and myself were all trying to figure out why one of the telecom terminals and its dedicated printer aren't working. Of the six of us, I think I was the one with the clearest bead on what had gone wrong, but none of us had clue one as to what to do about it.

To put it more clearly, I know exactly why they aren't working. They aren't working because somebody broke them. So someone does actually have a better idea of why things went pear-shaped, but that person isn't talking because that would interfere with that person's own-ass-covering duties, which after all take priority. I really want to say to everyone, "This isn't working because ____________ broke it, and we could probably fix it if ____________ would just say what ___________ did" but since the chances of my needing something from _____________ in the next few weeks are roughly one in one, I'm not in a position to say that.

Which is why we really, really, really need someone in our building who's qualified to address these sorts of issues, so we're not at the mercy of other people's priorities and schedules and ass-covering agendas.

This is the point where a lot of people would say, "I hope someone figures that out soon because it's really bothering me." But not this cowboy. No, I took action. I took matters into my own hands. I put my foot down, and I put my other foot down, and I stood up (at which point I was glad I'd had the foresight to put my feet down), and I cried out into the darkness, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!"

That's really a metaphor for what I actually did, which was to write a proposal. But just saying "I wrote a proposal" doesn't exactly have the ring of rugged individualism and swift frontier justice, which is kind of what I was going for in the last paragraph.

I shouldn't be too modest, because my little proposal is quickly ascending to among the highest echelons of the corporation, circulating among the desks of Executive Vice Presidents and other titans of industry. That makes me sound like more of a bad-ass, I think. Except that it hasn't gotten me fired, but I think that's something I can live with. Something good might actually come of my suggestion--not only for the company, but for me, which is infinitely more important. Stay tuned and I'll let you know how it turns out.

posted by M. Giant 8:42 PM 0 comments


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