And though I had slain a thousand foes less one,
The thousandth knife found my liver;
The thousandth enemy said to me,
'Now you shall die,
Now none shall know.'
And the fool, looking down, believed this,
Not seeing, above his shoulders, the naked stars,
Each one remembering.
--John M. Ford, The Final Reflection

The Asylum Director

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"The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any." - Russel Baker

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gripe # 12: Excessive Observation

I'm starting to develop a deep-seated disapproval of a number of things going on in my current company. Granted, I've let some questionable things slip past me before, using the rationale that the division is a new one and the company isn't quite sure how to handle us yet, but this is getting ridiculous.

First off, there's no official or unofficial "support" structure in case the editor is not present. The man is responsible for a lot of things and, while there is a back-up system for editing our output in case he's gone (which includes me somewhere along the chain of command), there is no back-up structure for everything else. Oh, I'm sure it somehow ends up on the lap of a certain someone whose name I will not mention for purposes of plausible deniability, but said person is clearly, clearly unable to handle that. The person can barely handle the daily workload supposed to be done, let alone someone else's!

Another thing I have noticed and that I do not like is the fact that there is no clear definition of what exactly is our division supposed to be doing. Yes, we're labeled "Web Content Writers," but that's not exactly the only thing we're doing. The "special projects" that come our way all have an odd habit of going just that step outside of what you'd expect a web content writer's job to include. Everything, from making sure a website meets the registration requirements of some sort of directory to coming up with possible URLs that the web design division can use (complete with silly one-liner marketing taglines that ought to be handled by a completely separate department) has been assigned to us. We've even been asked to fix the screw-ups in the content of existing sites, mainly because all the content for new sites are copy-pasted from older sites owned by the client.

Is it wrong for me to ask that we have a concrete, single job description? One that clearly defines what the division can and cannot be assigned to do? Is it so wrong to ask that they stop heaping projects on us that are better handled by completely separate divisions? Is it so wrong to ask that if we're going to be assigned to write the content of some silly webcam consultation website that it go through us first, so the site is top-quality from the get-go, saving the company a lot of time and the employees a lot of effort? Is it so fucking wrong to ask for detailed instructions when the project is time-sensitive (given 2 hours before the deadline and the project needs at least a day to be completed) and needs to be perfect the first time around?

And I am not a god-damned spin doctor. I did not sign on for this boat to do company marketing or damage control because some agent from the call center division got pissed and started bitching about the work conditions on the Internet. People do that all the time and I believe they have every right to do that, even on a public forum that their employers can read. It is their opinion and sending out an undermanned writing division to go out and spin doctor it is just bad form on the company's part. The fact that I have to do it just hurts me on a personal level, given that I'm the type who likes to opine about my complaints at how employers treat their employees, though my subtlety in that regard has been...declining.

A minor, minor concern for me is just how often the HR people lose my god-damn ID. How many 1x1 pictures have I actually had to give for that stupid thing? And how many times have I asked for them to give it to me? For the love of the Kings of the Ten Thousand Hells, it's a simple, fucking ID. How hard can it be to take a picture, fill up some sort of card thing, laminate it, and had it over to your employee? Is it really that hard to know where somebody's damn ID is? Or at least be able to know whether or not said employee has even been given his damn ID? If I didn't say anything, they would not have known that I still didn't have it yet.

To be utterly and brutally honest once again, I am starting to sense some truly rotten things about what's going on in this company. Truly rotten. About as rotten as what happened in the "state of Denmark," to blatantly steal from Shakespeare. But I'll give myself some more time, try to see where all of this is going. Like the predictions that the Nintendo Wii was doomed to catastrophic failure, I may be wrong about my current predictions. We'll see.

For now, I go back to playing Baldur's Gate II. At one point or another, I'm going to have to get around to installing and playing the Classic Adventures mod.

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