05 February, 2010

From the "I know it shouldn't surprise me, but..." file

Ted E. has a really unique way of looking at the world. Well, I'd like to think it's unique but it almost certainly isn't. However he's the only person I know who does this.

We're under some political pressure at the moment to justify the way we operate. This has come about because the way we work was dictated to us by senior management several years ago and we haven't been allowed to deviate from it since. In the lastyear or so, though, virtually every level of management from this unit's team leader up to the director and his boss has resigned or moved on, and now no-one knows why we're forced to work this way. But they still won't let us change, or provide us with the resources we need to operate differently.

The Invertebrate has been asked to prepare a brief, large-print explanation of what we do, how we do it, and why we do it the way we do. What we really need for this is to dig through The Morass and find documentation from the upper echelons explaining this.

Ted, on the other hand, has decided that what we need are the semi-literate* email templates he sends to suppliers saying, in effect, "We buy stuff for this organisation, and we're special, so you should give us cheap prices", because they'll demonstrate to the higer powers that we operate this way because that's the way.

The Invertebrate makes a foolish attempt to explain that what he needs is something official from our management showing the rules their predecessors have laid down.

"But this is official. We send this to suppliers. Look, I even have a shortcut that will past it into an email automatically."**

"We write it, and it's automated. It doesn't get much more official than that!"  [paraphrasing]

The Invertebrate has had a rough couple of weeks and folds quickly. "Err, yeah, Ted. Thanks for that."

Ted all but wags his tail and goes back to drinking out of the toilet.

* I think they manage to be semi-literate by virture of being based on an original written several years ago by someone else, which Ted E. has been attempting to plagiarise ever since.

** This isn't a bit of technical cleverness on Ted's part. It's the result of some crap little piece of software that the unit tried to use in lieu of actually documenting how things needed to be done or using actual template stationery. Ted's the only one still using it, because it ended up being so over-used that no-one knows the two thousand different keyboard combinations needed to insert the right text (and because a combination like Shift-S causes it to embed a chunk of irrelevant text right into the middle of whatever you're typing. Ted doesn't use punctuation or capitalisation at all, so this problem never affects him), and no-one ever documented what the various combinations are.

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