Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Circle of Excellence

A Major Pain in the Ass--Wednesday, 6/17/15

When I saw this white scarf with a brown patterned skirt and a chambray shirt, I thought, Hmm.

I have a knit shirt that is basically chambray blue--how would it work to treat that top like a neutral?  The blue top worked quite well.  But the skirt...god, that was another story.

I have this skirt in a beige/black/white circle pattern that I'd never worn, and when I put it on, I realized why.  First of all, it's about two sizes too big in the waist.  That's not necessarily a deal-breaker because I often wear skirts lower on my hips (which has the side bonus of making them longer).  But the way the waistband of the skirt was sewed onto the body of it was somehow super-extra bulky so that it formed a huge ridge around my belly that was highly visible and bizarre-looking underneath the knit shirt.

So I folded the waistband over, and when I turned it to the outside (not the inside, which would have made more sense but did not help the weird ridge problem) AND I put safety pins on both sides of the waistband to take it in the several inches necessary for the skirt to sit at my waist, the prominence of the ridge diminished appreciably.  Not all the way to nothing, but by quite a bit.  Of course, the folded over waistband caused its own problem by sticking out a bit oddly on either side of my waist and causing a bump underneath the knit shirt.

At this point, I said, Fuck it, and I put on a cardigan, thereby covering up the strange side waist bumps.

I seriously considered giving up on this skirt entirely--ridges, bumps, who needs this nonsense?--but I really, really wanted to wear it with my new white/gold polka dot scarf.  See?!  Is that not a vision of pattern mixing loveliness that was worth 10 minutes of screwing around with the skirt?

Chambray blue knit top (thrifted, Macy's), $2.00/wear+
*White polka dot scarf (Target), $14.24/wear+
*Black/beige/white circle skirt (thrifted, Sag Harbor), $5.00/wear+
Black traveler cardigan (thrifted, Chico's), $0.58/wear+
Gold pointy-toed flats (Nordstrom), $4.54/wear+

I've decided to give this skirt a go, and if I like it, I will try fixing its various problems with the wonders of my sewing machine.  If you're wondering why I didn't fix it for realz with my sewing machine to begin with instead of undergoing the half-ass measures described above, you go.  This is what my sewing table looked like in March--not very organized but the sewing machine is at least visible and accessible.  The situation has worsened significantly since then, as this table has become the place where everything in my office goes to die.  It would probably take me half an hour to reach a point where I could start looking for thread to put into the sewing machine, etc.  It's an odd thing.  Since we started using a maid service, everywhere else in the apartment is in better shape, but my messy sewing table has become borderline hopeless.  I will get this straightened out at some point, but it was not going to happen in the middle of getting my outfits ready for the week.

In other news...Today was our Excellence meeting at work.  As I told Robert this morning, it was scheduled, but I didn't know if it would happen or not--maybe we would return to the mediocrity from which we came.  The meeting did happen but only my manager, N. the technically-inclined analyst from my department, and I showed up.  Nobody from the technology department attended or bothered to say that they weren't coming.  We had a productive time working through some issues we'd been experiencing with our recent software upgrade.  After the meeting, N. and I talked to another woman in our department about an issue we thought she might be able to troubleshoot [we were right; she figured it out and fixed it] and she asked us whether technology people had shown up for the meeting.  Nope, I said, it was just N., J., and me--a really high concentration of excellence.  She seemed to appreciate the implications of this statement.

This Excellence meeting occurred on the heels of our weekly project meeting (within our department) that had opened with my manager relaying the conversation in a recent meeting with the technology people in which technology said that they were "not able to support" the roll out of phase two of the project (note: this whole project was THEIR IDEA in the first place).  We spent the next hour boggling among ourselves at the various aspects of this and related declarations by technology. 

I could write a book about the crazy shit that technology said but I think my favorite is technology's idea that our current data system is totally messed up and they don't really understand where a lot of the data are located--100% accurate and yes, frightening--and so they are thinking of switching to a new data system (and they somehow think that because they might do this in some foggy ass possible future that there is no point in supporting the current data project).  So, what--are they thinking they are going to wipe the data slate clean and start over with nothing?  Um, no, they would have to find the data in the current system in order to migrate it to a new system, right?  

Later, my office mate and I were talking about it, and were both amazed at the concept of using the term "not able to support" as another way of saying "Yeah, I'm just not really going to do my job."  We tested out different ways we might incorporate that in our day to day work lives.  "C., will you have that data submission to the state ready on Friday?  No, I'm not able to support that."  "Sally, X [the CEO] has asked for an analysis of the V data updated for the current quarter.  I'm not able to support that."  "Email to J: I'm not able to support coming to work for the next month.  Sincerely, Sally."

Have you ever run into a phrase like "not able to support" used at work? 


Tam said...

We have computers in our offices, and at a certain point they become too old and the IT department will no longer support them. So if you call with a problem with one of those machines, the IT person will try to help you over the phone, but if they can't easily fix it, will inform you that they no longer support that machine, the implication being that your department should give you a new one.

Debbie said...

No, my guys would say "That's a maintenance issue," as if maintenance is not part of their job. They make a new program, then they declare themselves done and thus not needing to do maintenance. This was especially problematic when the legislature would mandate some change that would require updating a (current) program to make that possible. You guessed it: maintenance. I think the problem is that maintaining a program does not look exciting on your resume.

Eventually it was decided that actually, 25% of their time should be spend on maintenance. Whew!

Also, we learned to say, "this is a data integrity issue." "Data integrity" issues are more important (and exciting) than "maintenance" issues. Later we would also try to find some connection to the university's goal to improve the four-year graduation rate. Maybe you can also find some good lingo to use for your counter-attacks (or, preferably, pre-emptive strikes).

Your story also reminds me of "Bartleby," Melville's short story where one employee says, "I'd prefer not to" a lot.

Sally said...

Tam, that actually sounds like a very reasonable conception of the technology folks not supporting something. Glad to know that this concept is not 100% nonsense in all arenas.

Debbie, I think you and I could exchange horror stories for a while--what is it about the education sector? I don't know whether to be relieved or sad that higher ed seems as bad as K-12 in this regard. You'd think maintenance would be an obvious part of developing software for users but I guess they want to whip something out, call it done, and move on to some other sexy project. "It's an equity issue" would probably be a useful (and true) catchphrase for my department in a lot of situations.

And ah, good old Bartleby. I was in a grumpy mood in 12th English class when we were discussing that book. The teacher asked me if I would this-that-and-the-other, and I said...well, you know. The rest is history.

Debbie said...

Ha! I'm laughing about your Bartleby quote.

I'm not ready to blame the whole education sector. I'm going to blame one particular guy at my last job. They hired an IT guy to be registrar, which I thought would be good, at least for the IT stuff, but then I heard that he was a terrible programmer, so, oops. Good luck with your equity issues!