Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reinventing The Wheel

One thing I've observed at my new job is that it has a lot in common with non-denominational Christianity.
  • Do it your way even if it is the most ridiculous way
  • Make it up as you go along
  • If you screw up blame it on someone else
  • Be surly and disgruntled if someone dares suggest there are more efficient cost effective ways to conduct daily rituals
  • Be sure to say at least a dozen times a day at suggestions 'But we always do it this way'
  • Be annoyed if someone else does something faster than you assumed they would
  • Be inefficient with staff, supplies and salaries.
In the last three weeks I've been treated to bad attitudes, breath taking waste of resources, time and people and seen things done that have to violate some sort of laws.

This week I got stuck working in the health clinic records division. Which is my specialty from my years at the medical clinic, so I thought this would be fun, old hat. Not so.

Yesterday I had to spend the morning shredding documents. Yes, my education and experiences were just so sorely tasked with shredding up at least ten full 55 gallon bags of documents in the only room in the joint without an air conditioning vent with a south facing wall of windows. Now I know what my late father in law meant when he used to say it was hotter than hammered hell.

And of course the supervisor just had to train me the correct way to use the industrial shredder. He carefully fed one sheet at a time lined up in a perfect OCD way. After he departed to smoke a cig I figured out his way would have me shredding till sometime next month so I figured out a way to do a continual feed of around ten sheets at a time sideways to use all the shredder knives and cranked it all out in a few hours. My mind wandered while I was shredding on auto pilot.

Let me tell you that if the CIA or the FBI wanted to torture and interrogate someone all they would have to do is make them shred documents in that airless glass fronted room. They would give up all state secrets to get out of there. I was shredding with sweat rolling down my face and body. By the time I was done even my hair was damp. The collar of my blouse and my bra hadn't dried out by the time I left work at 5 pm.

Got back to the main health records office and asked what else they needed help with. Each task was the same, I looked at the way they'd been doing it, remembered how I'd done that task at the medical clinic and did it quickly, accurately and differently than they had to reach the same result. The supervisor was surprised and seemed not a little pissed off that my companions and I had zipped through the piles of undone tasks, so he said that the next day (today) we would start a three day task of working in the archives building filing old patient files.

Keep in mind that we three ladies had knocked out a getting files ready for a government audit project that was forecast to take two or three months in three weeks and review showed we'd done it correctly.

I nearly laughed when the supervisor showed us his archival system in the basement, it might have been better than what they used to do (randomly toss files in piles in the basement) but it wasn't any great shakes either. He was actually proud of it! I couldn't get over his pride because the system he set up to replace the piles wasn't much better. There was just so much screwed up. Reminded me of the mess of records rooms I'd redone entirely at the medical clinic, setting it up so the files were easy to find yet not in the way. The way the files are done at this place is a clusterfuck of confusion. 

We did the three days work in one day of completely reorganizing and standardizing each box and had plenty of time to goof around, talk and take coffee breaks.

Are we super women? No, I think the three of us are pretty average but we all three have instilled in us a decent work ethic, which seems to be in super short supply at the facility. In my observation most folks up at the place seem content to either try to push word off on someone else or do it as slowly as humanly possible. So three women working at a normal pace start seeming like they are working at a pace that rivals Superman folding his laundry.

The drag of today was the fact that we had to lift up heavy file boxes to put the paperwork in. My back is killing me. But I'm throwing in some tylenol so that I can do a few more things there in the morning and not have to go in on Friday. I got just as sweaty today wrassling those files as I did the day before working the stupid shredder.

It has been a good object lesson in what happens when an entire community of people believes in something very wrong and the detrimental effect that can have on the community as a whole.

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