November 16, 2004

Worst case scenario

The office manager pursed her lips in frustration. "He's too far behind on his timesheet," she told me, referring to the office clown. Well, yes, I thought, now he has to go back and fill in hours from a month ago. There's no way he still remembers what he was doing a month ago. He can fake it, but that kind of defeats the purpose of keeping tabs on his billable hours in the first place.

"I mean, what if-- worst case scenario, right?" the office manager continued. I glanced at her and wondered what kind of scenario she had in mind. "What if something happened to him... you know, if the worst happened... not that I want it to, of course, but we wouldn't know what to do with his hours!"

Business does strange things to people's priorities.

Posted by dianna at November 16, 2004 02:07 PM

and i thought i was screwed up because i caught myself this afternoon, as i was about to step in front of a bus, wondering who would return my library books.

and i like the office manager's implication that no one else knows what this guy does with his time. i wish i had a job like that. oh wait... i kind of do.

Posted by: katie at November 16, 2004 09:39 PM

Wow, if that were a law firm that guy would have been professionally ruined by now. He'd be fired, no doubt. Horsewhipped, probably. Unable to use his employer as a reference, definitely, because "he doesn't keep track of his billable hours" is pretty much the worst thing you can say about a guy. Like, in that movie "Philadelphia," if the law firm had figured out a way to slap that on Tom Hanks, that would've been it. Denzel probably would have bitch-slapped him right there in the courtroom.

Posted by: poot at November 17, 2004 05:54 AM

Apparently, in an architecture firm not keeping track of your hours will not only not get you horsewhipped, it'll get you made a project manager. Don't quote me on that if you intend to try it, though.

She's actually wrong; there's pretty much no one in our office whose hours couldn't be recreated if necessary, particularly the project managers. You'd just have to see whose timesheet said "coord. for project number blah blah blah", which translates to "pestering this guy for help". So I think the truth is more that he doesn't know what he's doing with his time, but everyone else does.

Posted by: Dianna at November 17, 2004 07:49 AM

I don't know what it's like in an architectural firm, but I know that at JPL many consider the 'promotion' to management to be the worst of all possible calamities.

Posted by: Erik at November 17, 2004 12:13 PM

I suppose that's probably the case around here too. Project management seems to bring along with it the dreaded Construction Administration (CA for short), which is so terrible that it's currently necessitating a meeting between the owner and the project managers to discuss exactly what a train wreck CA is and how much they don't want to have to do any more of it.

Posted by: Dianna at November 17, 2004 01:27 PM