Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

[Work] The Never-Ending Report

Posted by Lex Fear on December 18, 2005

Every day I have to create an exceptions report for customers who are supposed to send billing data but haven’t for some reason. This data really is only for billing and in most cases simply requires contacting the customer and asking them to send the data. But because of factors beyond my personal control such as:

  • Sometimes there’s an IT problem
  • A spineless manager who will let other departments shift their work onto us
  • The way our crappy [flux capacitors] are setup that can fail in so many new different and wonderful ways.
  • This task falls to myself. We have around 6000 customers, every day at least 1000 do not send their billing data. With only 2 hours of my working day free to chase these customers, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that most of them are going to fail for a long time.

So my report always shows at the top end, customers failing to send their data over a large period of days and my progress of resolving that. The problem is, as with all exception reporting, is that once an issue has been resolved it falls off the report and is taken up by the next highest failure. To a sharp mind it is pretty obvious something is moving, something is happening as the report changes daily. However to a pretty unfocused, scatter brained individual it just seems like nothing is being done about those top failures.

And if that said individual has some sort of bonus coming for performance of the billing data exceptions before Christmas, then it’s important he sits with IT Monkey and makes sure something is done, because clearly IT Monkey is having problems if he can’t seem to clear the top failures and they are still going for 30+ days.

The person we are of course speaking of is my manager, The Clown. He now feels it’s necessary to sit with me for up to 2 hours next to my desk and “help” me to resolve some of the failures. What makes this patronising, baby-sitting experience especially excruciating is that he somehow seems to see this as a bit of a brunch, therefore he’ll bring a bag of peanuts and literally start munching away in my ear. How I have kept myself from exploding into rage I don’t know. To give you a taste of the experience, imagine standing on a busy London tube at peak time, with people so close to your face you can tell what they had for breakfast and your journey lasts for an hour. The person who has his chin rested on your shoulder now decides now is a time for a good snack. On the tube we might forgive people for invading our personal space, an unfortunate necessity we are not able to avoid. But to sit next to me, inches from my face and ear, munching a bag of peanuts and questioning my every action, like I am a 5 year old being instructed, makes me feel like smacking him in the face, very hard.

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