“I’m in the process of getting over myself,” I told the small band of do-gooders sitting around me.
It was my weekly meeting of advisors for my Building Emergency Response Team (BERT) program and we were discussing deployment of our website. This website isn’t a new idea, nor is it a new product; it’s just something that hasn’t been in our control and hasn’t been properly maintained
Years ago, I asked for access to the site so I could make sure the data relevant to my buildings was kept current. I was told I would have it and then the matter died there with no fulfillment or follow through. The site remained out of date and the person whose job it was to maintain it, the person who, coincidentally enough holds the title of “systems administrator”, couldn’t be bothered to keep up with it and wouldn’t post the updated information in a timely manner. No one seemed to care about this, besides me… and my 230 “clients” who utilize the information that was chronically out of date.
My little band of helpers and I started looking for another way to make this information available. My company has its own “Facebook” type site on the intranet and we set up a group for the BERT program, but the information we were discussing, that needed to be readily available and easy to find, would get lost on that site as newer items were added and pushed that information further down the page. Not everyone on my council is as jaded as I am. Some of them still hold the mistaken belief that things can be done properly around here. They wanted me to ask for access again. I explained to them that I had done so more than once and that the end result is always run-around and disappointment and it’s reached a point where no one wants to listen to me about it any longer. The perception is that I’m the rabble-rouser, troublemaker and that the Systems Administrator is doing nothing wrong. So some of the more optimistic participants of the group took it upon themselves to contact my boss’s boss on my behalf and request the access for me.
Somewhat to my surprise, no one got upset that it was requested. No one came down on me for stirring things up, or for sicking my “underlings” on them. A week or so later, I got a simple e-mail with a user name and password and a link to the administrative portion of the site, ironically hosted on WordPress.
On closer examination, however, I discovered that the site I had been given access to was an entirely new site. The old site had not been on WordPress and the decision had been made to move everything over for easy of use. As I perused the information that was available, I discovered that none of the properties that I work with were included in the site. No pages even existed for my properties. Nearly a week later, I got an e-mail from the Systems Administrator asking me to let him know when I had time to talk (on the phone) so he could show me how I could create the pages.
I discussed this with my manager and the conclusion that we agreed on (shocking, I know) was that it is the Systems Administrator’s job to build the site; the only thing I had ever wanted was the ability to keep the downloadable documents up to date. My manager sent an e-mail to the Systems Administrator and CC’d me asking him to create the pages for our buildings so that I could update the documentation. His response? “The pages are created, Kevin just needs to copy and paste them from the other buildings.” My manager didn’t respond and no additional action was taken until a couple of days ago when I sent him my own e-mail and copied my boss saying, “Can you tell me when the pages for my buildings will be created so that I can add the documents to them?” His response, once again, was to tell me to let him know when I was available so he could tell me how I could create them.
Now, rationally speaking, I realize that it’s not going to be all that difficult for me create the pages and customize them to my buildings. I realize that it will get the job done more quickly and my cohorts and I can get on with our project. Ultimately, I understand that it’s the thing to do. It makes more sense, I suppose, at least to most people, and it would be a lot easier on me, just to go ahead and do the work and get on with my life. I get that… Really.
But the problem is, I can’t bring myself to do it, at least not yet. I have such an egalitarian perspective on life that it stops me being able to shrug my shoulders and go on with the work. I believe so strongly in right and wrong, fair play, that it hurts me to do something that I feel violates that sense. I see it as a much bigger picture than just me getting my website built. Here is a person who doesn’t do his job and pushes it off on other people. A person whose customer service (and we are his customers) sucks. He makes no effort to understand his customers’ problems, he doesn’t communicate his answers clearly and he doesn’t do what’s asked of him, by the customers he serves, in anything like a timely manner.
And no one does anything about it!!!
Something needs to be done, and of course I realize, I’m not the one to do it. No one will listen to me; I’m only one man. Only then the thought comes to mind, “Martin Luther King, Jr. was only one man.” Except, I guess he wasn’t only one man once he actually accomplished something. He was a leader of many men and women who believed in his cause and followed his example. Something I’m not going to be able to do here and in this situation.
I have yet to convince myself that my creating these web pages isn’t an endorsement of this persons behavior, and while this is a simple and small thing for me to do and only a small part of his job, it literally makes me ill and angry to consider doing it for him. I mean, literally, I can feel tears burning behind my eyes just thinking about it.
How do I make this rational knowledge of simplifying my own existence translate into a psychological peace with performing the act? I do not know! Because it’s not fair!
K’s father has a saying, “A fair is a place you go to ride the rides and step in monkey poop.” (Actually most of his dad-isms involved poop in one way or another.)
I wish I could figure out how to reconcile the knowledge of what has to be with my reality of its wrongness…
I’m still in the process of getting over myself.
4 thoughts on “Rides and Monkey Poop”
See, I would just take a situation like this and do it myself. Because I can. And because someone is likely to realize that I was able to do work that they’re actually paying someone else to do. And that will open eyes.
But I also realize that not everyone’s world works the same way.
No, sadly, no one will think that at all.
I went ahead and set up the three pages I needed to set up, only to realize that there are larger issues, that I really can’t fix. I discussed it with my manager, having every intention of keeping a cool head. Turns out I was still pretty pissed about it and I couldn’t contain that. Woops.
After finding the additional problems, I told my boss that the Systems Administrator needs to come over to our office, with his laptop, for a meeting with the three of us, so we could go over the stuff and how to correct it and he said he agreed…
Which is roughly translated to “It’ll never happen.” It’s a work in progress…
You will quickly find that I am an awful blog audience. (Just ask Terri.) I seem to regularly fall behind in my blog reading and have a habit of catching up in chunks. 🙂
I am an IT guy, so this story made me cringe on the inside. Where do I get a job like that? I’m a Unix engineer, not a web designer, but I’m still required to complete the tasks that are given to me. If I don’t finish something, no one comes behind me and offers to do my job for me.
I’d be irritated if I were you too. I have a hard time when people make my organization look bad (and in effect, make ME look bad), and there’s nothing I can do about it.
I’m usually at least one day behind on my blog reader as well. The downfall of having lots of blogging connections is that you have lots of new blogs to read everyday. I don’t mind if you’re late to the party. 🙂
Sadly, what is going on in this situation is kind of status quo for my organization (at least my portion of the organization.) Without coming right out and saying who I work for, we’re the largest healthcare organization in California and I am consistently amazed that is even true given the kind of shenanigans I’ve witnessed.