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?! :-)