Home > Life or something like it > Entry 07/01/2007 08:31:22 PM – Mentat 341

Entry 07/01/2007 08:31:22 PM – Mentat 341

     Well, I certainly started the ball rolling towards kicking a hell of a hornet’s nest at the contract that I’m currently working at. God, the issues that I’ve got going on here can potentially powder-keg their way to a hostile environment, given what I’ve seen going on here, how fed up I am with the content and attitudes of the e-mails that I’ve been reading in my inbox. But I’m getting ahead of myself… Let me getting the picture into perspective first.
     I’ve been watching a process in development that is supposed to "streamline" identity management for this company that puts the power in the manager’s hands to add non-employees to their rosters (non-employees I mean float people, temporaries, contractors, outside auditors, etc) as well as allow them the ability to modify access to programs, systems, etc. for employees currently under their supervision. This hasn’t exactly been a smooth testing phase with several issues that routinely crop up due to the fact that the people doing the testing process are Helpdesk Analysts; who don’t follow scripts and subsequently need to often make intuitive leaps that appear to be like guessing in order to provide the level of support required for first call resolution. However, the biggest problem with this is that management oftentimes tells the Analysts to "not guess" when faced with information that may not always make sense.
     While there are times this acting like an automaton may work in getting through some of the more difficult situations, under routine circumstances, it seems to work as an anathema… Particularly when it comes to the Analyst knowing who’s trying to request what… To further muddle the problem — this company doesn’t seem to understand what it means to be an "Analyst". Following is the definition (modified a little bit to better fit the title in the Helpdesk.


1. Someone who is skilled at analyzing data
2. An expert who studies [financial] data and recommends appropriate business actions.

     Apply this to a Helpdesk position and you get someone trying to not only recommend the appropriate actions, but also to enact upon them to solve the dilemma.

     So, it was Thursday morning when this started. I had the routine laundry list that I was handing off to first shift because I had more than a couple of instances/problems that appear to have been the issue with. As I routinely do, I explain the findings, the possible course that lead to the error happening, and suggest the possibility of how to correct them (usually in the hopes that in doing so, they will correct me to the proper course of action or point out that the findings that I had submitted incorrect and show me the correct methods to troubleshooting them in the future).
     The next evening when I come in, I get an e-mail from the person that the findings that I had done were incorrect, that the information I had provided was wrong, and further when to accuse me in so many words that I was the one that caused the wrongness… For the next four and a half hours, I had attempted to put together an e-mail correcting the person of the errors that they had made, the errors in their findings, and the methods of proving me wrong had been done incorrectly. Four and a half hours later, I realize the e-mail is looking more like a missive, has words and phrases and comments that would be considered inflammatory, and I was no closer to providing a terse and mild mannered e-mail in the next three hours.
     I deleted the e-mail and put in its place that I will respond to the e-mail once I talked to my office for further advisement. I also included in that e-mail that I was heading into the office at the end of my duty shift, to discuss the contents of that e-mail.
     The next morning, when he came in and we were going through the laundry list of other issues that were ongoing from the evening before (there was a power outage in the area that had effected systems in an unforeseen manner) when he came across the e-mail that responded to his, and asked what that was all about.
     I said flat out that, "…I’m not at liberty to discuss the reasons for my response until such time as I contact my agency. However, I can tell you not to take it personal."
     Needless to say, the stream of swears and the level of frustration that he vented in my general direction indicated that he had in fact taken it quite personal. I left it and him alone and decided that I would bring this up as well with my agency, and left for the day at the end of my duty assignment.

     Getting into my agency after the ride into Providence, I come to learn that not only is my direct report — Eric — was gone for the last month, but also the account manager Gary (for the last two weeks) that I had sent the e-mail to. I then proceed to fill in the temporary manager on all the information as to what’s going on; my assessment that the entire Identity Management process should not be handled by the Helpdesk, and look for advice as to how this issue should be handled.
     Donna (that’s the woman I believe is taking Eric’s place at the agency) informs me that Amy (that’s the temporary replacement to Gary at the agency) is coming in today to have a discussion about this and the e-mail that apparently is sitting in her inbox. By the time I got home from that meeting, I had received a call from Amy which I had given a summary of the information I had given Donna.

     Apparently someplace in the middle of all this, my agency got in contact with the Department Manager to determine what was going on, of which she was left out of the loop. I had done so because I didn’t feel the necessity to contact her, as the issue wasn’t serious enough to have to warrant her attention nor make her feel like she needed to micro-manager the situation. Had I included her in on that e-mail, I guarantee that it would be serious in that I wouldn’t probably be returning to the position other than to perhaps wait until a replacement came into the position.
     So I have a meeting 7:30 Monday morning with the manager of the department to basically apologize for the apparent hornet’s nest I kicked up, and explain that I was at an impasse with the direction I should have taken both with the e-mail and the resolution of the problem, which required my speaking to the office about the issues prior to continuing.

     However, I’ve noticed that there are several issues that could come into play that could potentially cause for a hostile work environment. Like the fact that I’m going to be put into a role that requires me to have to report errors caused by individuals putting information into the system to the appropriate supervisors and managers. Particularly given that the errors are blatant, and provide more than adequate proof that certain individuals are following information lackadaisically. A situation that I had also found myself in the past that had gone downhill quickly given the fact that I’m a temporary/contractor and they are full time employees. I’m particularly sensitive to this given the fact that I’m already sensing a morale issue within the department.
     A difficult situation no matter how I look at it.

     As a direct consequence to all this nonsense and "drama" I admit that I’ve been sort of pulling a protest to doing the work that has been performed by me this weekend, until such time as I can get a better handle of what I can and cannot do. So far, I have been able to prove one of my suspicions that there are just some people that do not "pull for the team" as they’re supposed to; which means I get a good portion of the ire and "hand slapping" as to how I’m doing things wrong (and not always doing anything wrong, but simply because no one is able to follow logical processes.
     To make matters worse, I get the distinct impression that one of the biggest problems that stems from the other shifts is that they don’t read the instructions and procedures that are on the central SharePoint server, and simply give each other information word-of-mouth. Every time I have followed direction on this I have received a hand-slap which I had learned not to ask them any questions whatsoever and to do the necessary research before continuing.

     God… I can’t believe I’ve gone this far with all this crap! And I haven’t even remotely gotten to the fun stuff yet. As you can tell, I’m frustrated as hell from all of this.
     *washes his hands* I’m sure I’ll be talking about this some more after the meeting tomorrow morning — but at the present time I’m sick of talking about it.

     Had an interesting time chatting with my family yesterday when they got up and were over the house sorting through the remainder of grandma’s jewelry, finishing up with the thank you cards, and wanting to wander over to Precious Blood Cemetery to check the site and ensure that grandma was buried and the grounds around the tombstone were clean. Afterwards, when we were at Taco Bell for lunch, all three of them (my aunt, mother and uncle), all chirped up their thought that I should get a cell phone and were sort of wondering why I didn’t have one.
     "Why do I need a cell phone?" I asked.
     "Say you’re out in East Chapeepee," my uncle was the first to chime in with.
     "What would I be doing in East Chapeepee? I seriously doubt I would be out that far as I’m sure the bus lines don’t even go there." I smirked. "And if I was kidnapped, I seriously doubt that I would have my cell phone to make a call and say, ‘help! Help! I’ve been kidnapped!’"
     "What if you were injured?"
     "If I were seriously injured, the call isn’t going to be made until I either recover consciousness or they figure out the information is on my thumb drive which I’m wearing at this very minute." I showed them my thumb drive.
     "What if I need to contact you?" My uncle said.
     "For what? Computer issues? If my phone is shut off, there’s a good chance I’m sleeping. You want to get around the fact that I shut off my phone for a reason don’t you."
     They dropped it at that point because it became obvious that I wasn’t changing my opinion of wanting a cell phone any time in the near future.
     I swear my family sometimes. Like I’m not already in constant contact with them one way or another. I need to be in instantaneous and constant contact.

     To make it even confusing and sort of annoying in that not in the least bit comical way, I’m actually considering it. I don’t know why, but I am. Although this time around, I might consider a pre-paid phone instead of an unlimited calling plan type of phone so that I keep my cell phone use down to a bare minimum. I’ll discuss this when I get home this evening.

     In the entirely too desperate feeling department, I came across an article on MSN talking about the dos and don’ts of first dates. Talk about reinforcing pretty much what I’ve always known what to do or not to do on a first date. Of course, reading it puts me no closer to actually being on a date than before.

     Well, that’s about it for the time being. Until the next time.

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