Be careful what you wish for

One of the problems I had with Floundering Non-Profit was the fact that it was floundering. It suffered from a bad case of Founder’s Syndrome which meant that new ideas were often rejected without any consideration on their own merits. It also meant that structure, what there was of it, was haphazard at best and often hidden from view; a typical example is the simultaneous lack of any sort of coherent inclement weather policy existing right beside the unwritten policy that all leave needed to be taken in either half-day or full-day increments. It’s not surprising, then, that when I went looking for another job I looked for organizations with more structure. And I thought I had that. Turns out, I have it and I don’t.

I have so much structure at my new job that the IT guy for our group only takes care of hardware problems. For software problems, network issues, or password issues, I have to call the help desk. Allot a minimum of 20 minutes per call.

I have to get my software requests, like having Firefox installed on my machine, approved by our operations group but they don’t actually do anything with the request. It’s then up to me to wheedle, cajole, and plead with the IT help desk to actually install the software. Because yes, it’s important to have a web group that is restricted to using only IE 8.

There is, in turn, so little structure at my new job that we’re a web group serving internal clients yet we have no standard document we can offer them to guide them through the items we’ll need to see in order to approve their design or redesign plans. So…we’re expecting them to meet a standard but giving them virtually no guidance on what that standard is. Is that right?

I have so little structure that an original “request” I ended up getting from one of my internal clients when the e-mail chain was already about 6 message, and 5 carbon-copy addresses, deep consisted of “Here’s the Word doc and the PDF. They’ve been checked for accessibility on our side. They need to be posted.” Not only did this “request” not contain any actual information, it crossed internal groups that shouldn’t have seen it at all in order to get to me.

Because I am having to adjust to so much – new issues, a new role, new colleagues, a new way of doing things – I have been working hard to suppress my incredulity the during the past couple of weeks. I could probably bench press a VW Beetle using only my WTF reflex at this point.

If it sounds like I’m complaining a little bit that’s possibly because I am. The only saving grace at this job is that my co-workers realize things are messed up. But, since the organization we work for is so large, mostly they’ve taken a “what can you do?” attitude toward this problems. For the most part, I’m fine with that. I already know that I’m not going to fix the major problem with most of my clients’ web sites. I’m fully prepared to let that one go.

What I can’t let go, what I absolutely refuse to let go, is a work process that makes sense for me. So in between feeling like I wanted to cry and I wanted to punch something today as I waited until nearly noon to get access to my computer, I started to figure out how to systemize the work requests I’ll be getting from my clients.

After all, they should be used to having to fill out forms by now.

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