It all started yesterday when Bryan brought the purchase order into my office.
"Purchasing says you need to check and see if [insert contractual clause] applies to this."
At this point it was 2:58 and I had a report due to my boss at 3:00 and I still had about a half hour worth of work to go. If I had gone through the training manual, I might have been able to answer his question, but the manual was boring and I had put off reading it.
"Um.... I can't check right now Bryan. I'll try and get back to you in an hour."
By 4:oo I had his answer, No.
Today purchasing called me to tell me that I had read the clause wrong and yes it did apply. They sent the PO back to Bryan so that I could fill out "The Paperwork".
I had no idea what paperwork they were referring to. I read through the training manual twice, through all of the process instructions listed on our intranet site, read all of the instructions on submitting a PO and I couldn't find a thing on The Paperwork that I needed. Finally I called the head of purchasing and asked her where I could find it.
She replied with, "Well, it was in that e-mail I sent you."
"The one you just sent me?"
"Oh heavens no. The e-mail I sent about a year ago."
I have no idea why I wouldn't have looked in my e-mail archives for the procedure. That's a perfectly logical place to look. Silly me.
I found the e-mail and followed all the instructions. I answered the questions on the PO and initialed them all.
I finally turned the PO into the purchasing assistant who looked at it and said, "Where's the form that goes with this?"
At this point, I had spent all afternoon dealing with this stupid PO and I lost it.
"There is no form. Not in an e-mail. Not on the server. The form doesn't exist. I followed the instructions in the e-mail. This process is so ambiguous. I have no idea what I am supposed to do."
She just stared at me for a second and said, "Well Beth made a form up. You don't have that?"
I just stared at her.
"How about I type a form up, and send it to you?"
"Thanks. That would be great."
"By the way, what clause is this that you have listed on here?"
"Those are my initials. The e-mail told me to put them on there."
And then I curled up under my desk and cried for the sheer absurdness of it all.