Archives for category: Workplace

Our lips twisted into a sardonic smirk as we arched our eyebrow in disbelief. Was there no limit to the ridiculousness that the PTB would engage in to defend admin?

It started innocuously enough. With some spare time on our hands we were asked to do a particular task, one not relished by anyone in the office. Indeed, almost studious avoided. With the universal dread we accepted it and that is where the trouble began.

Like our colleagues, we noted the procedural flaws. It is something with a bit of time (and admittedly money) could be streamlined far more efficiently. There at heart of the current dispute laid the letter.

The letter, due to legislative reasons needs to conform to particular strictures, but we pointed out that a certain paragraph shouldn’t be formatted in that manner and another needed slight amendment. A two minute job. Yes? No.

“But that is how is it supposed to be. The paragraph is supposed to be like that.”

“No, it is not. We checked (insert relevant website) and it is not supposed to be like that.”

“But that is how is formatted.”

“No, it is not. You can check the (insert relevant website) and you can also check (collaborating source) .”

“It must have been like that. It wouldn’t be like that otherwise.”

“It has never been like that…(until your stupid admin started we added silently)”.

This continued for a while, as PTB drew upon every possible defence that it was not a problem within the remit of admin.

“Fine, we have a look at it.” PTB said exasperated and wanting me out of their office.

A week later, we asked if the template had been fixed. You guessed correctly, of course it hadn’t.

“Is it fixed yet?”

We were greeted with silence.

“Why don’t you tell me where the template it is and we will fixed it.”

Again silence. Otherwise, it would be interpreted as bullying the admin, if it was to be fixed.

“There is nothing wrong with it and that is how the template is (insert relevant website)”. We were amused but not surprised how quickly they were to defend admin vigorously and their *cough* infallibility.

“No, it is not.” At this point we thought, Why are we bothering?, if you want a letter to go out indicating a deficiency in education in the organisation, not my problem.

Reluctantly, PTB looked at the websites and conceded that the template may need to change.

So, a month later, the template has not been changed as to do so would be an admission that admin was wrong. We can’t have that as it is better to appear amateur hour than upset admin.

“You didn’t read my email, did you?”  was my accusatory tone to PTB.

“We did read it!” was the defensive reply.

“Really and what? Didn’t comprehend it?”

We have always been a cynical and bitter person but with every passing year immersed in such unrelenting stupidity it is sometimes hard to bite one’s  tongue.

Admittedly, emails can get overlooked in an inbox but when there is a pattern of emails being ignored and questioning emails demanding information that has been provided days, weeks beforehand is aggravating.  Some days there is no point bothering.

 

 

 

Why?  Because the genesis of this blog is to document the mind numbing stupidity of the work-place.  A prohibited activity if we were a public servant.

Daniel Starr,Starr v Department of Human Services [2016] FWC 1460 a front line public servant first came to the powers to be’s attention when in April 2015 he contradicted posts by the Department of Human Service’s social media unit on the online forum ­Whirlpool.

The social media unit (Flick@HumanServices) posted youth allowance claims took at least 21 days to process but could be longer than expected.

Starr (mmmdl)responded by posting the benchmark was now 42 days and claiming that by giving incorrect information, it was “doing nothing other than giving people false hope, and increasing customer traffic”.

The department then trawled mmmdl’s various comments posted over the years and built a profile which they then ran against internal HR files to determine mmmdl’s identity.   Are you following?  A poster corrects the department’s erroneous assertions and they go on a witch-hunt!!!!

Of course there were the injudicious comments which hereto had not come to the Department’s attention. In 2012, Starr described appointments with long-term social security benefit recipients as “an appointment for the ­spastics and junkies.” It is Centrelink…

Starr was sacked as he breached the Code of Conduct (not for the post that first caught the Department’s attention) but the Fair Work Commission stated the Department had overstepped and should he should be re-instated.

This case is important  as it makes a distinction between senior and lower level public servants, and spells out how admin(front-line) workers are unlikely to derail government policy, no matter how critical they are online.

The Vice Commissioner found: I reject completely the proposition requiring all members of the APS to be respectful at all times outside of working hours, including in the expression of their attitude to the government of the day. It would require express and absolutely unambiguous language in the statute to justify the conclusion that such a gross intrusion into the non-working lives and rights of public servants was intended.’

It can be argued that APS Code of Conduct is being used to silenced Government critics but where does a public servant’s private life boundary begin?  Should you be sacked for something that was posted years ago?  Where does it leave employees in the private sector?

The Department intends to appeal the Starr decision to the full bench.

 

Sources:

#86 (08.04.2016) Unfair Dismissal: Social Media Posts No Grounds for Dismissal

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/public-service/the-hunt-how-the-public-service-tracks-down-internal-critics-20160404-gnxjqv.html

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/silencing-public-servants/7367576#transcript

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/industrial-relations/centrelink-staffer-who-called-clients-spastics-reinstated/news-story/b0dc565d93a9c33b34d6cc0f9efd6048

 

 

We are too much of a muggle to possess a cloak of invisibility rather my guise is far more simple, far more common and that is being female.  We are certainly not the first nor shall be the last to be told bluntly that gender is a disqualifying factor for communication.  Though it has reached absurd heights in the past couple weeks.

Remember that subcontracting job(SJ)?  It is proceeding in the same efficient pace as a death by a thousand paper cuts. Why? Apparently, we require a Mansplainer Translator (MT)as effective communication can only be carried out by two men. (Silly me to think otherwise). Mansplainer Translator is not familiar with the minutiae of the job but all communication is now passed through him.  It reached the sublimely ridiculous last week when the passive aggressive ‘pass me the salt’ pantomime was performed.

Mansplainer Translator and I were summoned to the office where not once were we directly addressed with any salutation or question. Queries, solicitations of health, comments. complaints were all directed towards MT.  SJ would ask the question.  MT would turn to me, we would supply the answer and MT would have to repeat it back to SJ as otherwise the communication loop would not be complete.  This meeting lasted well over an hour and we were pointedly ignored by SJ for the whole duration. Like WTF???

You nominate the form of communication, telephone, email, in person, have all been conducted in this manner.  Try to communicate with SJ directly without MT and you are ignored.

Irony is, if you listen to those with the double x chromosome they may just have the answer (and this job just might have been finished months ago).

Move over Newton’s Cradle. The latest trend for destressing is the humble colouring book. Okay, not so humble with its $20 price tag but it does come with a pack of pencils.

Colouration by Stan Rodski contains 26 patterns as humans like patterns apparently. Rodski observed‘when someone is focused on colouring, their brain will produce alpha relax waves, instead of beta active waves. The level of adrenaline in the brain is reduced and the level of dopamine rises, in the same way someone relaxes while listening to music or watching a movie.

“I thought here is an idea. Let’s use some of the other principles the brain loves – the brain loves pattern, the brain loves repetition and habit – and put it all together in a colouring book that is non-competitive and focused,” Rodski says.

“It’s a simple idea but there is so much science behind it.”

Sure there is. Does this mean I can buy a Frozen colouring book and claim as a tax deduction as I am too stressed?

Image fromhttp://amolife.com/image/inspiration/10-precious-quotes-about-time.html

Is there but a greater crime than frittering away the fleeting immortality of our youth on the thanklessness of the daily grind? We occasionally subcontract (long expletive laden story)for an organisation when staff are short.  After this latest stint, it is not hard to see why staff turnover is high (you know it is really bad when a colleague squeeze your hand telling you ‘To be strong’).

Here is the top nine ways to irritate your staff:

Feed them to the lions: Management’s complete and utter failure to take responsibility FOR ANYTHING.  Scapegoating an individual team member (junior or not) to a client creates disharmony.

Blame others:  Similar to lion feeding, fault lies elsewhere but within the organisation.

Ignore time differences: If we accept the definition of holiday as ‘A day free from work that one may spend at leisure’ then ringing a person 8 o’clock Sunday morning their time while on vacation is disrespectful.  To continue ringing them until they pick up is harassment.

Ringing a person after hours for a trivial matter that can be easily be solved during office hours also over steps the mark.

Violating the private sphere: Disseminating the private contact details of staff to clients.  Do we really have to spell out why this is wrong?

Impossible deadlines: Do not promise a client a task in an impossibly tight deadline then move it forward particularly when staff have accommodated you working 16 hour days and 12 hour weekends to meet the original deadline.  Humans need sunlight.

Passive Aggression: ‘Client is happy but wanted to know why you didn’t use Method B’.  Bullshit.  Unless the client is in the trade, they do not know the difference between Method A, B or C or care as long as optimal outcome is achieved.  We told you repeatedly Method B was not achievable in the time frame and only is optimal if other factors were in play which they were not.

Drip Feeding Information: Watching paint dry is more productive.

Micro-Managing: “Before you show Cubicle Slave X how to do something, run it pass me first…” Um, the program only allows you to enter it one way.

Misalignment of expectations: If you employ someone to make coffee and then expect them to make Danish pastries without training then the lion feeding become more egregious.

It’s that nebulous time of year where the days are neither classified as weekend or weekday.  Where the days seem nameless until the countdown of New Year Eve and the fireworks light up Sydney Opera House.

It is the time of reflection, promises and new resolutions (well the same resolutions reheated).  Boxing Day sales and sunburn. The mingled aroma of sunscreen and Aerogard. And anxiety.  If there is one word that sums up 2014 it is disruptive.

Disruptive technology, disruptive innovation, disruptive influence.  You have to congratulate the marketing geniuses who can take a word with negative connotations and spin it.

New ideas, new markets, new opportunities…sure fine great…but there is something sinister when you attend a product’s roadshow and the ‘product evangelist’ with a very straight face is telling you that one of the advantages of the product is the ability to tend to a client’s need 11pm at night. You don’t need to stick antiquated office hours.  Service the client anywhere, anytime, anyhow.

Technology has revolutionised users’ expectations but has it empowered its users or enslaved them?  11pm is not empowerment.  1am is embitterment.  2am is disruptive to sleep.  Disruptive technology…so very 2014.

Happy 2015!