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

Tuesday, August 12, 2003  

T Minus Eight Business Days

Wow, check out my stats today (if they're working, that is). I’m going to start having cliffhangers all the time. What’s today’s cliffhanger? Find out—tomorrow!

I also want to thank all of you who have e-mailed me with messages of support and congratulations. I appreciate every one, including the ones I haven’t responded to yet. It’s a party in my inbox right now, and everyone’s invited.

Meanwhile, back in reality, I’m rapidly learning that there’s a big difference between documenting procedures so other people can cover for me for a couple of weeks, and documenting procedures so other people can cover for me forever.

Part of the problem is that I don’t know who is going to be taking over for me after I leave. I don’t think anyone knows that yet. We certainly haven’t been grooming anyone to become a new Call Center Analyst, because, hell, M. Giant’s been here almost nine years; where’s he gonna go? So I have to write down these procedures so they’re just as understandable to the guy who keeps trying to sneak out carpet tiles in his briefcase as they are to my boss. It’s probably going to end up being a situation where the managers and my boss split up the stuff I used to do. Which would be fine, except the phrase “do stuff nobody else knows how to do” is practically my job description.

That leaves me in the position of having to pass down my knowledge. There are a couple of ways to do this. One is orally, in which I explain and demonstrate to them the various stuff I do. The drawback to that is that it requires their participation, and since they currently have other priorities connected to the buyout and training the temps, they’re having difficulty finding the time to learn the skills that I employ to prevent this place from becoming a smoking crater.

That leaves written documentation. Fortunately, I put together a “book of spells” a few years ago, and it’s serving as a handy foundation. Unfortunately, the original foundation took over a month to put together, and I’ve updated it maybe two or three times in the history of its existence. Pretty lackadaisical for a guy who has the word “anal” right in his job title.

I’ve been going through it the last couple of days, and I will be very surprised if it doesn’t end up being twice as long as it is now. Provided I find the time to double its length, of course. I keep finding notes like, “do this for now and I’ll figure it out when I get back.” Well, this time I won’t be coming back, unless something goes terribly wrong at the new place, and if I leave the manual the way it is, things will go terribly wrong here as well. If I have to come back, I’m not going to want to deal with the mess I left.

So I’m coming up with all of these highly detailed procedures, writing down and quantifying each tiny little detailed step of dozens of things I do all the time without even thinking about them. Imagine that dive Rodney Dangerfield does at the end of Back to School. Then imagine him describing how to do it in text so that it can be flawlessly performed by somebody who’s never seen a diving board before. This is my project for the next eight business days. And considering how frequently I whack my head on the edge of the pool my own self, I’m a bit daunted.

I have told my boss that she can call me at my new job if there’s anything they’re stumped on. I can probably deal with the interruption, considering that I’ve written some of these entries at work with one hand on the Alt and Tab keys. What worries me is that I’m a fairly visual person, and when someone calls me with a question now it often ends with me walking over to their desk. In two weeks, that’ll be unworkable. Even if I drive, I’m still looking at a forty-five-minute round trip.

Maybe I’ll tell my current boss that things will work out best if she just shuts the place down next Friday. I’ve never done that, so my experience won’t be missed in that case.

Today’s best search phrase: “Are Freemasons controlling the rap industry?” Well, if they were, do you think the Internet would tell you? Those Freemasons are way too sneaky for that, you know. They hip, hop, and they don’t stop.

posted by M. Giant 3:20 PM 0 comments


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