Wednesday, June 5, 2013

So what do they actually mean?

Periodically, the two project managers from the firm, who are on-site on this project, will come out and let us know that "someone" is fucking up in some way. We always are assured that most of us are fine, but that a small number of people are fucking up and in danger of being fired for it, so we should all get in line, straighten up and fly right.

Usually, it's pretty vague. Sometime in February, not long after I joined this project, we were told by the project managers that some unidentified people were not meeting production expectations. To quote one of the managers, "58 documents in an 11-hour day is not enough. It means you don't get it." They couched the production shortfall they were talking about in terms of someone not understanding the document requests who was, as a result, struggling with the work and not really knowing what to do with a given document. Everybody understood, of course, that what had happened is somebody, probably only one person, was just a seriously lazy fuck who needed to speed up. Why this has to be brought to everyone's attention is beyond me. Everybody knows that in Temp Town most folks will look for the Mendoza Line -- the number of documents they have to code per day to keep their job. The guy who is averaging less than 6 documents per hour is an outlier -- the Mendoza Line is higher than  that. Or maybe not, since no one seems to have been fired following that particular speech.

So today they jacked us up a little -- assuring us that 95 percent of us were doing just fine with regard to this particular issue -- about timekeeping. They wanted to make sure that we were accurately recording our time spent at work each day. This gets stupid and complicated. Maybe even contagious. (Sweet Nirvana reference there.)

We have, on this project, a paper sign in/sign out sheet. Everyday, we are supposed to write on this sheet what time we come in, what time we take our mandated breaks and what time we leave. Yes, we have professional degrees and yet we are subjected to a Middle Ages timeclock. This exercise is rendered even more pointless by two things: first, we are required to submit timesheets each week (used to be paper, now -- finally -- online) that lay out what time we come in, what time we leave and the time we take for our mandated breaks. In other words, the sign-in sheet is superfluous. Second, the review platform we are using keeps records of what time we sign into the program, and what time we sign out. In other words, it records how long we work each day, thus verifying our timesheets in a way that cannot be faked. If we claim to have worked X hours, and the review platform shows we were logged in for only Y hours, if Y is less than X, we have some splainin' to do.

My point here is, if you're going to try and cheat on your time sheet, you're going to get caught. Frankly, I think this is an ethics violation that should result in the pulling of your bar card, but what the fuck do I know. Here, apparently, it doesn't even result in getting fired. Instead, it results in a vague warning to everyone to make sure our timekeeping is accurate -- even though we've just been told that 95 percent of us are fine. So why not pull aside the 5 percent and talk to them? Or maybe even just fire the fuckers? Or are they just trying to scare people? I don't know, but my money is on door number three.

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