Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Fun? Let Me Tell You!

     Sat down yesterday to fill in a position my department shouldn't even be staffing, but we do so to help out another department.  All very cut-and-dried stuff, variable, but tasks that have to have beeen scheduled well in advance since the process is automated and the automation "script" has to be put to bed* at least fifteen minutes before it starts.  For that matter, a lot of the far end of those tasks has been in position for hours before things start.  There's a computerized scheduling setup to keep track of it all, a kind of spreadsheet that looks like a well-organized schedule board.

     Nothing on the board; I asked the guy who will run the thing in real time once it starts, and he allowed as how there were going to be two events, and "the info should be showing up any minute now."

     It did -- after the first one had called in and I'd set it set up.  Then two more popped up as things were getting underway.  Things were already running when three more appeared and I had to rearrange settings and equipment assignments in a hurry so it would line up with the automation presets (which cannot even be directly seen; you have to ask).

     "No good deed goes unpunished;" I'm starting to think we're not "helping" so much as "enabling."  Most of the last-minute scramble was completely unnecessary; the information was known for all but two of the events and the rest could have been set up well in advance and been ready, if the information had been shared with the position that does the setting up.
* An old newspaper expression; the paper is "put to bed" when the pages of hot-type and dot-grayscaled images are locked down and ready for the printing press.  This persisted into the age of offset printing and on through computerized layouts; radio and TV picked it up and a news script is "put to bed" when it's put into final form ahead of airtime.  Of course, unlike a newspaper, TV and radio can rearrange on the fly if necessary, but you don't make a habit of "winging it;" you get all your ducks in a row so that if something crash-urgent happens, the rest of the newscast is already taken care of.  Nowadays, all news is breaking news -- but it doesn't all break during that thirty, sixty or ninety minutes.


Witold Pilecki said...

Ah yes..."no good deed goes unpunished" is the story of my life in the fire service. I tell my wife as I leave for an extra duty assignment, "I'll see you in a couple of hours" and she asks, "a real couple of hours, or a fire department couple of hours?" It usually ends up being the latter, which means I am kissing her goodnight long after she has gone to bed, and I flop down next to her exhausted.

I guess I could be declared insane; since I continue to do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.

rickn8or said...

"...if the information had been shared with the position that does the setting up."

Oh, but what fun would it be to do your job without stressing out the setter-upper?

And my fellow squids and I have often spoke of "putting the airplane to bed" so the phrase is making its escape from the journalism world.

RHT447 said...

Thought you might enjoy this--


Roberta X said...

Thank you, RHT447! That's a poignant documentary, and remarkably analogous to changes underway in my workplace.