Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's the little things

One of my primary functions at work is the day-to-day management of an Accounts Payable department of a trucking company. This is my convoluted contract job that started years ago and has morphed into what it is today. This department is responsible, in part, for the processing and reporting of parts invoices and is appropriately called Operations. As the name suggests, it is a detailed, goal-oriented, fast-paced sort of place that works because I have an operations manual. In my manual are step-by-step instructions of how to do our jobs. From policy documents outlining the rules we have to follow in any given case, to instructions on how to distribute incoming facsimile transmissions. It is very serious business, and we do a lot of frowning while we’re there –just to demonstrate how serious it all is.

When procedures are broken, things do not work so well. Sometimes broken procedures are not reported to me because they are small, with very little impact, so people just do what needs to be done to get around a broken procedure.

My mind thrives on order and balance, and I am like a small, angry queen when people fail to follow directions. Broken or ineffective procedures are the bane of my existence. I view them as challenges, obstacles to be eliminated. Not as little inconveniences to be worked around. I like to sort out problems and fix them; as well as balance, I thrive on my ability to identify problems and fix them. It’s really what I live for.

So when I find out problems, broken procedures have been in place for years that others have been fixing for years I get a little frustrated.

"I didn’t want to bother you", I heard. These words, like dirty water, swirl around in my brain. I keep hearing them over and over, like an insulting, annoying record stuck in a groove. I wanted to scream. It’s only my job, being bothered with details that need to be sorted out. It is why I do what I do. I’m good at it, I enjoy it, for fuck’s sake, just tell me.

"I had time to deal with it, I figured there was just a weird problem somewhere."

Yes, a weird problem that kept a function broken for three years. A weird problem that resulted in a relatively high-salary individual wasting hours each week printing invoices from the web when they are supposed to be generated automatically, but for one little coding error that I was able to have someone fix in minutes.

Those weird problems don’t fix themselves, sugar-butt. Next time, tell your god-damned manager, eh? I didn't get to say these words exactly, but I wanted to. Some days it takes all my effort not to lose all dignity and manifest evidence of my extreme frustration, right in front of everyone.


Cat said...

What a gift to know what you are good at - to like what you do - the details always get lost on me somehow - I just am not a detailed person.

Good for you for the self control!!!


Jade said...

Thanks Cat. It was total touch and go for a minute. :)

Carie said...

You can call me sugar-butt, I won't mind.

Jade said...

I'd be willing to be this year's salary that if you worked for me, you'd follow my directions, sugar-butt. :D

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