Stupid Work Stories, number 437

I work for a non-profit.  Because of our mission, I always do my best to save money, even when others don’t.  Toward this end, I have recommended Open Office instead of Microsoft Office.  They’re compatible and Open Office is free.  Microsoft definitely offers a seductive charity rate but free is still better.

On Friday I got an email from someone to whom I recommended Open Office.  They complained that they were unable to download it for free; it kept asking them to pay.

I’m sorry.  There’s just nothing I can say or do.  I was speechless (an extremely rare event).  They might just as well have told me they couldn’t get to Microsoft.com with Internet Explorer.


One of my team popped by recently to let me know the Brass were getting Crackberries.

Interesting, I thought… especially as no one consulted MIS about this decision.  You know, MIS.  The people who have to support the Crackberries.  Not only didn’t they contact me, they didn’t even speak to the CIO (my boss).

But wait, there’s more.

There was a committee formed to look into this sort of thing.  Even the committee didn’t know we were getting Crackberries.  Somebody just decided to go out and purchase them.

There’s even more

The person who went to get a Crackberry was told that if she wanted more than one, she had better order them now, as they’re so hot she’ll never be able to get another one.  So she bought six or seven.

I only wish they were this easy when we asked for a raise.

Back in semi-reality, no one is really aware what is involved with these phones from a server standpoint.  Not only that; apparently some don’t care.

I asked my boss what to do because I’m new at this and not exactly the most polite and political player on the block.  He was not amused by the decision either and intended to put in his two cents.

Two days later my boss came back with word that server software was on its way.   It would appear that his two cents were worth approximately that: two cents (or less).

The phones were ordered with a thirty day return privilege so his theory is that the software will go back with them if they don’t like it.  My theory is that they’ll hate every phone they get anyway.  We have software that was purchased by group consensus.  The current consensus is that everybody hates it.  Perhaps they need to blame the decision-makers.

It must be noted here that I am a loyal employee.  I do my best to support the company as best I can and pass this along to my team.  But I have to draw the line somewhere and this is a pretty good place to do it.

What would happen if the people Up Top started making other decisions without consulting anyone?

  • “I got these servers for us because the blinky lights are a nice shade of blue!”
  • “They gave me a great deal on these brand new analog cell phones….”
  • “No, I don’t know what Pentium II means, but the cases match our carpet.”
  • “The desks are nice.  I decided not to shop for chairs.  Let everybody stand.”
  • “No, we don’t have desk phones, but I did trade them for these magic beans…”
  • “Let’s see… more disk space or an indoor fountain in the lobby…   Hmmmmm……”

There is a reason they have MIS people.  We are not only handy when things break; we can also provide advice and guidance on technical matters.  If we don’t know, we can research it.  But to hand us some server software and insist it work without any consultation whatsoever is irresponsible, both fiscally and sensibly.

Surprisingly enough, this is not the first time this sort of thing has happened.  They do not learn quickly.

You know the tune: if I want to keep my job, I have to go along.

I hope your work day is better.