Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Big Man Goes Down

Yesterday, my agency sent out a press release that our executive director is retiring on August 31 (the last day of our fiscal year). I guess you aren't allowed to stay in charge when on your watch the agency gets an audit report as brutal as the one handed to us this year. Robert and I are trying to decide whether the parks division director is also going to be "retiring" or "pursuing other opportunities" in the months ahead. I have two good sources of information I plan on working tomorrow to find out the skinny on this situation. Yeah, I know, I have historically eschewed the gossip chain but what the hell.

People have been fleeing the department in droves the last few months. I can't turn around without getting an email bounced back from someone who left quietly, seeing an invitation to a party for someone retiring or leaving for another job, or hearing someone say "Well normally we could ask so-and-so, but since she's no longer with us...." And you know me, I'm such a joiner.

I need to put in my notice so as to avoid getting another email like I did today from my compatriot J (from another division), who I've always gotten along with extremely well, but who is now kind of freaking out and getting "concerned" about the fact that I am not acting as team lead on a joint project. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was decided by my chain of command over a year ago that I would not be leading that project, back when I had about half a dozen fewer major projects on my list and the auditor report was just a gleam in a politician's eye, so I sure as fuck am not going to be taking this on now. I know he's feeling overwhelmed, but he doesn't know the trouble I've seen, he hasn't known the sorrow.

I've also been trying to convince my immediate supervisor that it is madness to see the latest, most appalling statements from the audit team as an "opportunity" rather than a set of requirements to be taken care of in the easiest way possible consistent with covering our asses.

Today's "lesson" in survey research, as inferred from our audit response team's rewriting of a plan I submitted to them: "to increase the number of completed surveys" (my description) is the same as "to increase the response rate" (their edit). Silly me, I've always thought that a response rate would require having a countable denominator. Thanks for straightening me out on that one.

I think the organization is moving right through Kafka toward Orwell this week. Ignorance is strength, people.


Tam said...

The "completed surveys" / "response rate" issue is about your web survey?

Sally said...

Yes, the rewrite team stated that making the web survey available in paper format would increase the "response rate" of the survey (while I said it would "increase the number of completed surveys"). Actually, because the paper survey would be targeting a different sample (and one which I anticipate to be even less likely to respond), it decreases the response rate. Today I had to come to terms with the fact that I will have to write a paper version of the web survey to be inserted in our magazine. Argh.

Tam said...

Perhaps they think that time units are the denominator for "response rate."