Friday, May 26, 2006

Too-Technical Bitching and Moaning

I'm sorry to do this, but what's the point of a blog if you can't alert people to the very, VERY foolish things that happen at your job, thereby making them feel less suicidal about the very, VERY foolish things that happen to them at their own jobs?

Two months ago, I opened a ticket on a report that our organization provided us that doesn't do what it's supposed to do. This is all normal, and it's fine.

The technical elves who fix these things (who are sort of like the elves in Santa's workshop who really want to be dentists) duly started working on it. Over the past couple of months there have been biweekly assurances that progress is being made, couched in the kind of tech-elvish that specializes in obfuscation. "Your higgledy-piggledy table is pulling from the wrong data warehouse gzornonplatt." Fair enough. I came to them 'cos I can't fix it, so who am I to argue?

This week I received an e-mail from an elf saying that she had lost the DTO file on the ticket. DTO stands for data tie-out, and it's a 1 MB file that I had to spend about an hour assembling in order to prove to the elves that the report was broken. I have learned to include explicit instructions for reproducing the DTO file, with bright colors and happy fonts and arrows saying, "Here is the incorrect data," and "Here is the data I expected to see." The fact that they've just now discovered that the file is missing makes me sad.

How did the elf lose the file? It was in her INBOX. I don't know how your company uses your e-mail program, but our company archives inbox items after a month. "Archive" sounds safe and happy, but actually you need tech elf assistance to get the things back, and sometimes it's not possible. And here's the thing, it's one of those very elves who lost the file. When I asked if maybe there was a better place to keep important files, she said that it was her "system" to keep things in the inbox.

I think both of us need a new system.

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