Thursday, June 15, 2006

All you can do is laugh... or stab yourself in the eye with your pen

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.

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