Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Beauracratic Bullshit

"Is there anything you don't like?" I asked one of our newer scientists. My position in R&D allows me contact with the team and I like to keep track of how they're doing. He replied that he was quiet happy and I nudged a bit on the independence question since much of the direction toward time allocation does come from my team in headquarters.

I like my job. I don't mind having priorities delivered from on high (to some extent). I do what I'm told and balance that with what I feel is important. And it generally works.

Except I'm sometimes a sucker. And when a poor, lost engineer comes to my door with pleas for help, I'll typically shrug and pitch in. So when I heard there was an urgent need to test a new piece of hardware, I nodded and said I'd support it. I joined three different meetings. I wrote out some tests that should be completed and added in the appropriate spots to initial and fill in some blanks.

Problem solved, yes? We have a change. We need to (1) test the change and (2) document the results. Check and check.

Except this turned into a system of two different teams refusing to sign off on the set of documents that were created from an approved fucking template. And you look at them when they talk and they shrug and say they've not done it this way before and wouldn't I rather use this other template? Or write this other justification? Or do it this way and that way and maybe the other way as well?

They blink at me when I glare my meanest glare and say "I don't care," in a hiss. "Just make up your mind! You've turned this into some horror show of ridiculous paperwork that does nobody any good! Just tell me what it takes to make you sign and I'll do it."

But they pushed my past my limit when - after saying they'd all sign - someone decided to change the approach again. So I thought, when I left work in a huff after snapping at more people, that I despise this part of my job and can't imagine ever being very good at it.

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