Friday, February 19, 2010

Let me tell you about my day

Really, I like the place I work an awful lot-when my boss is absent.

Today was Friday and I had nothing on fire and half the staff was out. I have been feeling kind of squished for the past few days, so instead of aggressively going after the stuff that needed to be done (and there were things that today was perfect for-like updating software.) I just wanted to sit and stare at the Internet.

Half way through the morning one of my coworkers reminded me that she had a problem with her signature file (in spite of the fact that it's based on exactly the same html file as every other sig file in the office, all the rest of them show our logo and hers just shows a red, broken jpg x.) So I screwed around with it for a while. I deleted the signatures folder from the application data file for her user account and recreated it, and re-copied the files from somewhere else on the network (this has always done the trick in the past) all with no joy. And with her and another co-worker offering suggestions. To be fair, these are some of the more tech savvy coworkers I have, but I have come to the conclusion that geek cred is not straightforward and universal. What do I mean by that? job is to keep the desktops and their software happy. As such, I know a great deal about the documents and settings folder and I've become more comfortable with the command line and regedit*, but this doesn't mean that I can write Excel Macros or Perl scripts. Conversely, neither my coworker who writes nice Excel macros nor my coworker who used to write software for a living were being particularly helpful with their suggestions. ("Maybe the problem is that it's a gif not a jpg." "are you sure it's pointing to the right directory?")

Which doesn't mean I particularly minded them making suggestions. No that's not quite right-in hindsight I don't mind them trying to second guess me, because being able to answer their questions meant I was doing a thorough job and understood what I was dealing with. Either way it beats having to help the technically incompetent and I was pleased to see that I could explain the problem to them (more or less) instead of saying "look it's supposed to work but it just doesn't okay?"

I tried a few things off the interwebs to try to fix the problem (including the one that involved the regedit), but none of them worked. So I called back the software vendor who was supposed to help me re-integrate our document management system and our crm and attempted to restore another piece of software to its "pre-server 2008" state, and listened to a coworker bitch about the state of the trading policy (sympathetically, I might add. My vision may be a bit skewed by the political analysis paper I wrote, but when I think about the place I work I think about Aesop's fable about how the most powerful person is always right.)

And then the office manager sent out a request for help stuffing envelopes. I started as the office manager and I've stuffed plenty of envelopes in my life and I know how much it sucks to have to deal with a giant pile of papers to be folded and stickers to be attached all by yourself, so when my help at envelope stuffing is requested, I try to offer it if I can. (On the other hand, when it is imposed on me from above I avoid it. Envelope Stuffing is no longer part of my job description.) In fact, I judge my coworkers (especially those on the "support staff" side of the house) on how willing they are to respond to such requests and I have to say they all show up to help when they can.

So. We're sending a letter to all our clients telling them that we will donate funds to our Donor Advised Fund if they refer people who become clients to us (we had planned to donate money to the charity of their choice, but our compliance attorney said that wouldn't fly. So instead we're essentially offering to put some money aside for future donations to charitable organizations of our choice if clients refer people to us.) We have a letter explaining all this and a pretty flier that our marketing people produced along with a CD from the Boston Children's Chorus (one of our charities of choice) to send out.

Unfortunately, the envelopes that we have don't fit all of this comfortably. Plus, someone insisted that this letter be mail merged-even though we can't send it out in windowed envelopes. So someone has to make sure that the sticker that goes on the bubble envelope (bubble because of the CD) matches the name on the letter inserted. To do otherwise would be Very Bad because our privacy policy states that we do not disclose the names of our clients. So if you are Jenny Smith and you get a letter that has Bob Smith's name on it we have failed. For the most part we've managed this by buying windowed envelopes and stopping printing clients names on things, but someone (my boss) decided that we needed to print client names on this letter.

I spent an hour or so folding and stapling letters. I was pleasantly surprised to see my coworkers show up and ask to help. First Em-a financial planning associate who always tries to help out (partly because she is friends with the other young ladies who do the envelope stuffing) but also Er, the financial analyst dude who sits behind me. When I went back to my desk to see if the software vendor I had left a message for had gotten back to me (she had) I kicked another coworker off of her computer but she said it was all good because she had planned to help with the envelope stuffing anyhow.

So, all good people. All willing to lend a hand (while discussing what pranks we'd played on the owners and all sorts of amusing internal-non-bitchy gossip).

Why can't it be like this all the time anymore?

*although I still maintain that any day that involves a visit to regedit is a bad day. In part because it means someone whose software you need has screwed up.

No comments: