30 July, 2007

So far, so good...

... to quote the captain of the Titanic.

One week down and my role as team leader has caused neither open revolt amongst my minions (although I'm keeping a close eye on Ted E.) nor catastrophic systems failure amongst the things I'm supposed to be looking after.

Or, at least, amongst the things I think I'm supposed to be looking after. Despite having several weeks where we could conduct a formal handover process, everything the outgoing manager felt I needed to know was condensed into a one-hour session where I was shown two large white folders full of emails and printouts, and proudly told "In one day's time, all this will be yours." The actual details of what I'm meant to be doing through the course of the day (or, indeed, how I'm meant to be doing it) remain vague. Given that I'm not being paid any more for supervising three minions, I'm assuming that what I'm meant to be doing is limited to "everything except anything that might mean having to pay you extra".

Ted E. has been in good form, however, although I wouldn't be surprised to learn his job satisfaction has taken a bit of a hit.
  • First of all he tried to convince the outgoing manager that because he was taking over a once-a-week task that our two-days-a-week casual does, he should be able to offload most of his full-time duties onto someone else. Perhaps surprisingly, this didn't work.

  • After all the stress and anguish of an office refurbishment and relocation of furniture (the outgoing manager had the well-intentioned if naive idea that everyone should be consulted about the new cube farm), we were told we needed to fit another desk in the area. Floor plans were consulted, common sense was referred to (no, really), and it was decided that Ted E.'s vast desk would need to be replaced with a normal-sized one to allow another person to sit at his end of our enclosure. A full week later, when final arrangements are being made, Ted E. announces that he's not in favour of this and tries to veto the desk-swap through sheer stubborness. Our casual, sick of endless discussions about the refurbishment, nearly had to be restrained from leaping across the intervening space and throttling him.
    In the end it was agreed that as Ted E. currently occupies twice as much floor space as anyone else, he has to be the one to lose some ground (which is exactly the same reasoning that led to the idea being proposed in the first place, but it was important to have a one hour meeting to reach this point again). Of course Ted E. had already wandered off to afternoon tea by this point (it's his usual strategy when he doesn't get his way in a meeting - slip away "to answer the phone", and then slip away a little further, etc.) so as far as he knows the idea is for us to work out a viable alternative to him being reduced to the same workspace as the rest of us. But Ted E. is the only one with an interest in doing this, and he hasn't come up with anything, so come next Monday morning he's in for an unwelcome surprise that will probably send him home early with a headache.

  • "I can't find these files on the server. Where are they?"
    "Stored under the relevant supplier. Everything was really inconsistent before."
    "I don't know who the supplier is."
    [I tell him].
    "I'm just going to rename the folder so I can find this again."
    "No! We're not renaming stuff. That's how things got into a mess in the first place."
    "Can I just rename it a little bit, then, so I can recognise it next time?"

  • "There's an email just come in to the shared mailbox. It's relevant to some other emails that are in there." Subtext: "I've been waiting for someone else to deal with them, and now I'm waiting for someone else to deal with this one. But I'm not going to say that out loud."


caircair said...

While, I'm sorry you're still frustrated, I'm glad you're posting again! I've missed hearing the stories from your side of the world!!

Argh said...

I don't know if I'm frustrated right now so much as apprehensive. I suspect I've been given duties beyond my level of competence, but no-one's told me what they are. So at this point I'm assuming I've merely been given duties beyond my training and experience which, surprisingly, doesn't do a lot to make me less apprehensive.

gregor42 said...

Glad you're back...

As for renaming folders to something else - would it not make sense to point out that an alias/link/shortcut to the properly named folder would work just as well and could be named anything you want without upsetting the filing system?

Argh said...


An excellent suggestion that I'll suggest to Ted E. the next time he brings this up, and which I'm sure he'll find fault with. I can't say what that fault would be, however, without first trying to think like Ted E. and, I'm sorry, but there are some sacrifices I'm simply not prepared to make.