Friday, December 01, 2006

Ya know how I said

once that nothing ever really interesting happens at work, so I don't talk about work much? Well, this week was more of that uninteresting stuff, but I'm going to talk about it anyway. Why? It's my blog, that's why. If I can talk about men in pantyhose and bleeding gelatinous blobs, I can talk about work.

Bosszilla is on his way to Asia for a few weeks. Now to recite the details of the week that was.

First, background. I work part time, contractually (not a regular employee) as Bosszilla's assistant. Because I USED to work at this company, I know most of what is going on all around. I also help the QA manager, and do various little tasks as they show up. If there isn't much going on, I don't go in. When there is stuff, I am there a lot.

This month there was a lot of stuff.

Monday and Tuesday were helping the QA manager with our recertification audits, which is just a little stressfull but not so bad. I had some urgent stupid stuff for BZ as detailed earlier. Then came Wednesday.

We have some big money projects going on, with parts shipping and much paperwork required. One of the guys in charge of one of these project is...I'll call him D-man. D-man is a nice guy, a smart guy, and a guy who wants to do everything himself not because he thinks everyone else is incapable, but because he doesn't quite know how to tell people what to do, doesn't feel comfortable asking for help, and can't stay focused on any one thing long enough to actually formulate the idea of asking for help. He cannot say "no" to anyone, nor put them off, nor control and organize his own time. Thus, he is constantly overloaded and not getting things done. At the same time, he is required to do a lot of paperwork via computer, which, in a manufacturing atmosphere is equivalent to sitting on your ass doing nothing (most people in our company who build parts do not DO paperwork, nor understand why you need to.)

Anyway, one of these big project companies requires a lot of highly detailed, tiresomely repetitious, and very time consuming paperwork for new jobs. To give you a good idea what I mean, think of something simple, like a flashlight. To properly document the flashlight, we have a three part form that lists all the parts used in the flashlight, each with its own part number repeated on all three pages, and details about this component came from and if we know it is any good, etc. By component, let's say I mean the case, the reflector, the bulb, the switch, the contacts and the batteries. Ok, now we need another three part form for EACH battery (let's say this is a whonking big flashlight and it uses 4 D cells). Now we need another three part form for the lightbulb, the switch, and so forth. THEN we need ANOTHER three part form with the components of the light bulb -- the filament, the glass bulb, the metal screw threaded contact. Then each of THOSE must have a three part form filled out (unless we are blessed with OTHER pieces of paper that say all the stuff that we don't need to create ourselves but need to make copies to include.)

You getting the picture here? We had six parts go out, each of which had a minimum of 8 sub assemblies, of which at least 4 if not 6 required their own paperwork, and the rest required copies of other people's paperwork, all collated and stapled and neatly piled. I'm talking a good 25-30 hours worth of work here, with two people on it. The only satisfaction I get is knowing that some QA manager has to READ all this crap. If they get it and toss it, I will have to hunt someone down and give them a staple enema.

Now, Bosszilla, when he is pissed about something, tends to exaggerate for effect. He also yells, points, talks over everything, gets really nasty, and generally expresses his feelings. He does calm down and become reasonable after a while, but his particular style of management tends to leave a person feeling worn down. Bosszilla does not care to listen. He likes to be RIGHT, therefore he IS right. But we won't go into details there. He has some nice points, too. But not when he's pissed off. So Bosszilla is saying the project has been going on for X months when actually it's X-3 months, and that the paperwork should only require 12 hours when actually it's taking, working flat out, 30 hours. In between times, he does this thing where, in a quiet voice, he badmouths D-man to me to get my aggreement that D-man is being stupid. This is what Bosszilla does when he is pissed off.

And he had reason to be pissed off. D-man, due to his assorted character traits, did not start on this massive paper project until the day before parts were due to ship. The parts themselves are slightly late. He had not asked for any help, and was going in several other directions, unable to focus. (I know why he can't focus. While I stood and watched, Bosszilla commanded him to be in two places at one time. I'm talking about true simultanous place/time bi-location. He was supposed to be working on the paperwork project while ALSO training to use a testing machine. Oh, and there are three other people who think he should be working with them. See what I mean?) Nevertheless, D-man did indeed have several weeks to head off all this paperwork. It was not a surprise prize in the bottom of the box. So Bosszilla hauled me in to assist. I've done this kind of paperwork many times before -- not this particular brand and flavor, but similar. I'm also reasonably good at organizing other people and keeping them on task (I can't do it well for myself, but I am EXCELLENT at doing it for others. Go figure.)

Anyway, three days later the paperwork project is NOT complete, although very damn close. There were several delays and diversions because of Other People Not Thinking Paperwork Is Important -- see above -- and lots of copies made, corrections corrected, staring at the walls going "Ok, how do we bullshit through THAT one?" and trying to figure out instructions. We also kept saying "Oh, we could do this another way that would be faster/better/more organized...but not right now." The last of the paperwork must be checked, signed, duplicated and mailed on Monday, but it's all created and printed so the hardest part is over.

Oh, did I mention that three more parts in this project have to go out NEXT week? Yeah, we get to do this again with barely a day of breathing space.

Thus, after a week of this, I now remember most clearly why I decided to go to work part time. I handle tension by channeling it directly into my body via teeth clenching, shoulder tightening, back stiffening, digestive problems, and bad eating. I actually had a cramp, a la Charlie Horse, in my FACE last night as the TMJD that has been in abeyance since my braces came off roared to life. My right cheek has a slight swelling in it that is all tension. I am REALLY tired, REALLY not wanting to think, and now that I've spewed it all out, done with it for the weekend.

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