Monday, April 17, 2006

And again: Still Alive

Been really busy lately. Looks like I may be moving to Exeter, NH in May--perhaps the early part of the month. Talking to a great company about a good job. Looking at apartments--probably look for somone who is looking for a roommate.

I can't wait. I feel like I've been marking time, just spinning my wheels with everything on hold while I've been in Alabama.

Still dealing with stupid crap at work. I don't think I'll be working at any universities any more. Too many folks in positions of authority who are there because they lack the competence to rise above assistant french fry cook in the marketplace.

I end up questioning my sanity and my senses all the time. "They didn't actually say what I thought I heard them say, did they?" "I must be hallucinating--they can't actually be doing that, can they?" "I'm crazy for suspecting someone must be either severely mentally damaged or too stupid to live to think that they would do or say X, right?"

I am convinced that I am capable of handling any customer service oriented job after this place--because it is literally customer service hell--stupid, illiterate, innumerate, and downright insane people, asking stupid, nsane questions, having absolutely no clue where they are, what the problem is, or what exactly it is they want, and asking for the 1)literally impossible; or 2) things above and beyond our current capabilities, without decreasing their prior demands, and most certainly without being willing to pay for the increased demands. Furthermore, they are extremely rude, do not bother to take responsibility for doing their own jobs (such as complaining to us about their not having AC, when they have the purchase order from the contractor who is to repair the system on their desk, and they refuse to sign it), and refuse to follow even basic submission guidelines--e.g. they will call me to ask to speak to my boss, who is out of state. When informed of this, they will refuse to tell me what they need. They will instead call him on his cell phone, and then he will have to drag the nature of the problem out of them, and then call me back to tell me what it is, so I can pass it on to the proper manager. Of course, when they call him, they will also complain that I was unhelpful.

Of course, the one that amuses me is when they call me asking for something that is completely outside out contract--e.g wanting me to dispatch someone to fix something at their private residence, or a piece of precision equipment, or something for which the University contracts with another company (e.g. elevators or pest control). When I explain to them that we do not cover that, they get irritated with me, and "go over my head" by asking to speak to one of the ladies who work for me. Despite my having explained to them that these ladies work for me, and not vice versa, and that, therefore, they cannot overrule my decisions, and despite explaining to them that I am more than happy to pass them on to my boss, the Director, they persist in trying to call the wrong person.

They have been provided with the "Manager On Call" list with all the relevant phone numbers, and yet they will NEVER call the manager on call until they have exhausted EVERY OTHER NUMBER ON THE LIST FIRST! The Campus Police call us to handle animal control--we are neither trained nor equipped for that function, nor is it in our contract. Yet they (who are, of course, the only ones allowed to be armed on campus) will call us at 2 am about someone living next to the woods having seen a snake on the edge of their lawn.

We have faculty members who lock themselves out of their office--no shit--4 days out of every week. The policy is that we do NOT unlock offices (as we don't know who is supposed to have access to any particular place) unless the campus police make the request and have an officer on the spot giving his approval. The procedure if somone is locked out is to first go to the head of their department (each of whom has been issued a master key for all offices belonging to their department). If that's a no-go (incidentally, all the department heads deny ever having been issued these keys, despite having signed for them) the next step is to call the campus police (who refuse to accept responsibility for any keys--the Chief says he can't trust his officers with they keys. But apparantly they can be trusted with guns. More on that later).

The police will then (in theory, if they determine that the inidividual is supposed to have access to that room--in fact, they just approve it without bothering to check) contact us with their approval and let us know when an officer will be there to oversee the granting of access. So every time these faculty members lock themselves out, they immediately call me. And I patiently (externally so, at least) explain to them yet again the proper procedures for getting back into the office they locked themselves out of. Then, rather than calling their department head or the campus police (as I have just explained to them they must do) they will call everyone BUT the folks they are supposed to--seekling to have me overrulled. They will call my boss, they will call the ladies who work for me, they will call the vice president of the university, etc. And then they will finally, after having screwed around for 4 hours trying to work around the system, they will finally call their department head, who will deny ever having heard of any such keys.

Then they will call me again. And I will explain the policy and procedures to them again. And they will call a few more people, then they will finally call the campus police. Who will immediately call me back and ask me to send someone to unlock the door. And I will have to explain to the campus police yet again that they will have to send an officer, and they will screw around and cry and complain, and we'll have to kick it up through a few levels of university administration again, and then it will come back to the Chief, who will tell them to send an officer. By this time, we will have wasted 6 hours going round and round about unlocking a damn door. And the same friggin person will call back tomorrow, and we will go through the same 6 hour song and dance.

On the campus police and their guns. First of all, a story that makes me (tyet again) question my sanity. I spent 2 hours talking to an armed campus police officer, who didn't know the difference between a revolver and an automatic. I thought he was joking when he told me he didn't know which he was carrying (it was a Smith and Wesson .38 Special). He wasn't. I was afraid to ask if he'd ever qualified with it. But he hadn't heard of the 4 basic rules of firearms safety, nor did he have even the foggiest grasp of basic marksmanship (based on my questioning). I gave him a crash course, if only in the feeble hopes that it would slightly reduce my chances of being shot through stupidity on his part. He also didn't know how to wear his vest properly, and he thought it made him impervious to bullets. I explained to him the difference between pistols and rifles (he thought rifles and shotguns were the same, and that pistols were more powerful than rifles--because pistol bullets were bigger around than rifle bullets), and explained the velocity differences and their effects on small caliber pistol-rated vests.

And folks wonder why I develop a twitch when I'm at work.

The ROTC--both students and faculty--bother me as well. I know I shouldn't, but I am inclined to hold them to a higher standard, based on my own experience. One Air Force Captain can't reliably plan her way out of a wet paper bag. This would merely be a problem for some prospective young zoomies, except she is the one who is in charge of all their event planning. So we never know they're having an event until the evening before the event, and inevitably we have to do all the planning for her. Sadly, we pull off a miracle, and this makes her look like she can get things done. So she is considered the "go-to event coordinator." So the system persists.

The ROTC cadets who are just about to be commissioned are helpless. They can't navigate their way across campus during the day without getting lost. It's absolutely true--the most dangerous creature in the universe is a 2LT with a map and a radio. I'm glad I ain't in anymore.

Anyway, enough rants about this place. I'll be leaving soon, and I'll never come back.


liberranter said...

Wow, it sure sounds like you need a change of scenery. Hopefully things in the Granite State will work out better for you.

Good luck!

Simulacre said...

Yikes! You're scaring if the campus police weren't bad enough, those ROTC kids are the future of the military. How bad off are they if the event planner is that bad? How can you plan an op if you can't plan a campus event?

Your blog reads like Ringo Novel!