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Technical Torture


If you came here hoping for an S&M for Dummies manual, sorry - not this time. :-)  This post is about insanity in the workplace.  (No, not just when I'm there... this has little or nothing to do with my mental stability either, that post would take pages, and I know you aren't up for that!)  What I'm talking about it what happens when a "paperless office" (yes we do have plenty of t.p. - no worries there) has it's scanner go on the blink... and remain inoperative for the great majority of the past two weeks!

Keep in mind that I work for a law firm. We get paper, lots and lots of paper - from the court system, from the Social Security Administration, from Disability Determination Services, from doctors, and from the clients themselves.  Every document arriving at or departing from our offices gets scanned into the system, and then attached to the appropriate client's file.  There are distinct advantages to this - along with eliminating the need to maintain huge paper files, everything one needs to know about a client's social security/disability claim is at our fingertips and can easily be accessed. It saves time and labor, and increases the odds of documents being filed accurately and not being misplaced.

Now let me explain how it works at our office... we are a satellite branch of the firm's main office located in a city about 100 miles away.  The main server to our network resides with them.  This means, that when I walk down the hall to the office where the copier/scanner/fax machine is located and scan a document to my files, it does not travel thru the cables back to the computer in my office.  No, that would be too simple. Instead, it travels 100 miles away to the home office, and then makes the return trip back to my computer.  I don't have to tell you how "speedy" this process is.  The same happens when I print an envelope on my computer.  The request first travels to the home office, then returns to the printer in my office less than 3 feet away from the computer. It's not so bad, gives me time to check my phone, update my blog and Facebook, and play a few rounds of Words with Friends and DrawSomething. :-)  But seriously, if you're processing the mountain of paperwork we do, and it has to be done in a timely manner due to filing deadlines, court hearings, etc. - the waiting game can be maddening.

Now imagine what happens when the high dollar copy/scan/fax machine crashes.  Paper begins to pile up, information to respond to client callers can't be accessed, and nerves get short.  Then we have the "pass the blame" game, with our company's IT people, The ATT ISP people, and the  Xerox machine people all pointing the finger at each other as they "strive" to troubleshoot the problem and get us up and running.  This goes on for over a week with lots of name calling and very little progress.  Finally our IT folks admit it might be they put in some numbers wrong, this after we about killed the Xerox guy because everyone but him believed the problem was with the equipment. So finally our IT folks get their part fixed, and once again we are up and running... for about fifteen glorious minutes.  More heated phone calls, return visits from the Xerox guy who then has our machine in 30 pieces on the floor, and finally, God Bless them all, at about 1 PM today we were finally back online and stable!

Add to this comedy of errors, the fact that the Xerox guy brought out a small loaner machine last week that worked, randomly, for a couple days, then required a toner cartridge that they had to order, and then stopped working altogether. Great backup plan!  Would it take a genius to suggest that just maybe the firm should spring for an additional copier/fax/scanner so that we could not only get things done more quickly overall, but would have at least one machine up and running when the other is having a nervous breakdown? I can't begin to tell you how much fun it's been... not.

Needless to say, we will all be scrambling for the next several days to reduce the backlog of paper and get everything once again moving. Keeping up is a nearly impossible task as it is.  There is a bright note though, the attorney who owns our company agreed to the request to hire an additional part-time person to help us with scanning.  She/he will work 3-4 hours a day and will be a real blessing, since we all have felt very pressured, and at times defeated in trying to get everything done in a timely manner.  I am overjoyed, since being the newbie means much of the grunt work err - I mean scan/attach process - falls to me. 

Another highlight of the day - I finally completed my 90 days of probation, scored 5 out of a possible 5 on every item on my performance eval, and am now a salaried employee, with an accompanying pay increase.  No more time sheets, no more short/long paychecks.  Yeah me!

And on that note... just last night I was grumbling to my husband that  my next paycheck would be short because we closed at noon on Good Friday. Salaried staff weren't affected of course.  So this morning I opened a stack of mail that had been sitting on our kitchen counter for a couple days, among which was an envelope that I thought contained the pay report from my last paycheck.  (Since we all use direct deposit, they mail out the the check "stubs".)   Sure is a good thing I opened it instead of tossing it in the drawer... it contained an unexpected 5 hour bonus check due to a major increase in business in the past quarter that our boss decided to pass onto employees.  That took care of the short-paycheck concern, and certainly was a day brightener.  Life is full of good surprises!

I celebrated the successful revival of the copy machine with a long soak in the hot tub after work and an icy cold beer.  Ahhhhhhhhh!  And tomorrow is Friday, I go in an hour late, appointments are few, and the day passes quickly.  Looks like I'm going to survive the new job; it's one hell of a lot better than some I've had, and if I have to work - and I do - then I guess this will do just fine.  I love the wall of windows in  my office too - the view from the 9th floor isn't too bad!  Though I must admit if feels weird to have a 34 year old attorney/supervisor reviewing my performance eval with me... she and her husband are the same age as my children!  To their credit, they are both super-friendly and easy to work with.  Well of course I did a great job... did you expect anything less?! :-)

14 comments:

  1. Technical problems annoy me to no end. I'm a rather tech savvy guy. If I don't know how something works, I can usually figure it out without the need for a manual.

    So when I call someone to report a problem I can't fix, I know where the fault lies, or at least when it's not on my end.

    The blame game drives me nuts as I have to assure the idiot on the other side of the phone that I did in fact make sure the equipment was plugged in, turned on, supplied with whatever it uses, is connected to anything it needs connected to.....

    I understand why they ask you to check all these mundane things, as someone that is regularly asked to fix things for other people, I've seen a computer that "didn't work" because it wasn't plugged in. But it always feels like they are trying to make it my fault or something I did wrong.

    I just wanna scream "I'm not the idiot you're used to, come fix your damn machine."

    Sorry, ranting again.

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    1. Exactly, Monkey. We encountered much of that in the last two weeks. Each of the three players involved were certain that we or one of the others were at fault, yet no one wanted to come out and actually work together to resolve the problem. Hell, we couldn't even get them to talk to each other most days! I'm pretty sure our network is from the dinosaur era, isn't all this shit supposed to be wireless now??

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    2. Lol, I'm not actually a fan of wireless. I know it's made some great improvements but wired is faster and doesn't lose its signal unless someone cuts the cord.

      And you wanna talk about ancient, I work for a multi-billion dollar company and when we need to look something up, it's actually quicker to pull out a hard copy and read it there.

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    3. Guess I should count my blessings then, Monkey. And today is Friday, so hey, who cares? It's just "Git er done" and head for the weekend! :-)

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  2. Well I enjoyed this all the same but I'm sorry for your frustrations! Did love the part about having time to work on your blog and dabble with different things as you wait for your envelope to print!

    Also, at the very end when you said you had a nice soak in the hot tub - I read it as "I had a steak in the hot tub"... now THAT sound rather exciting! lol

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    1. LOL, Bozo! I actually do have a little tray that fastens to the side of the tub, so I suppose I could enjoy a nice ribeye there, if only I had a butler to serve me! The built-in drink holders have colored lights underneath them, so your drinks glow in the dark... really cool! :-) You were talking about THAT kind of steak, weren't you??? ;-)))

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  3. My wife and i did the hot tub thing last night as well, she works in an accountants office and has been working 6 days a week with extra long days getting peoples taxes done. I know it isn't technicial difficulties, but i can tell sh'e getting a little stressed.
    It looks like the week is poised to end well for you. :)

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    1. Ewww, tax season is miserable for accounting people. One of the ladies in my office moonlights at H&R seven days a week until April 15th. She is so glad it's nearly over! Hot tubs are the greatest invention for soothing away the aches, pains, and frustrations of the day. We love ours, best purchase we ever made!

      Yes, things at work are looking up as we head into the weekend, lots of catch up to do, but at least we can now start making some headway! HOPEFULLY, fingers crossed that the darn thing keeps working!

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  4. Bonus, surprise hours rock! I'm so happy for you! I must have an office with a view, but an elevated view is even better! I hope, one of these days when I get a job LOL. I have an office just like yours.

    A good soak in the tub sounds fabulous!

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    1. This is the first time in over 30 years of working that I've had an office with windows, L, much less with a good view. I can see West, North, and East, and if I walk down the hallway I can see a Southern view too. It's going to be awesome for storm watching this summer!! I've had my own office before, but in my last job I shared a small room with three other ladies and let me tell you that wasn't fun. This feels like luxury, and I can close my door during lunch hour and blog to my heart's content... heavenly!

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  5. Would you believe that our copier/fax/scanner has locked down this morning... somehow stuck and won't do a thing! We can scan from the little back-up temporary loaner, but now fax. My computer also locked up and it took 30 minutes of playtime and restarting the system to get me online. Joy of joys, isn't it 5 PM YET??

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  6. As of 2:30 PM today, both scanner/fax/copiers are non-functional. We are down for the count. The Xerox man is here, but is convinced the problem is not with the equipment since both machines are encountering the same issues. My boss in on the phone with Tech Support. What day is this again, Friday the 13th?? Two and a half hours to the weekend... and counting!! As you can see, there's not much I can do workwise at the moment, other than to rearrange the stacks of paper on my desk. I can't even put postage on outgoing mail that is ready. Why? The postage meter is tied into the copier!
    Arrrggghhhh!

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  7. By now you're home from work. Yay! You survived the non-functional machines. Hope you're kickin back!

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    1. Five o'clock couldn't come soon enough Cheryl. It really reached the point of being funny in an asburd sort of way. So parts have been ordered and maybe, just maybe they can put Humpty Dumpty together again sometime next week. In the mean time we will muddle along the best we can. I've never been so happy to see the weekend arrive! Home now, next to Papa Bear, surrounded by the furkids who shared my deli sandwich with me... I'm a sucker for pleading eyes. :-)

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)