Dun.der Miffl.in

Since things are slow around here (post worthy items anyway), just thought I would start a little side series called "Dun.der Miff.lin".  This is what dh calls my work.  (Carrie, I will seriously hunt you down if you share this!  And I mean that in the most loving way possible!)  Here is why-Introducing Mary, Willy, Bonnie, and Jonas (and a few other players that may make a later appearance).

Mary is an assistant for a technologically challenged brilliant man (my boss) that also is extremely forgetful (Willy). She does all his typing/computer work. He edits via paper. Problem is, Mary doesn’t know computers herself. Mary repeatedly sends items with no subject line, making it difficult for her and us to search emails. Maybe that was the problem in example three. Mary also has sent out professional documents with the title “RECOVERED”?!  I spend most of my time resending Mary emails she sent me and then can’t find and asks me to send back. Or a lot of time is spent asking Mary for something she doesn’t recall or can’t find. Then I have to reminder her of it. Then she claims to have never been involved. Then I finally find it and show her involvement.

Bonnie is the account manager for several large grants. Bonnie has the habit of telling people that we are running out of money and making everyone fear for their job unnecessarily. Bonnie also hoards money to protect us and those she cares about. Bonnie has let $80,000 go unspent on a grant. It expired. The money had to be given back. That looked bad.
These are the three people I interact with in the office and quite often via email. The other person I interact with is Jonas.  Jonas knows nothing about my job, but often tells me how to do it.  Jonas expects others to be anal (though isn’t himself) and Mary drives him nuts. He has been working on her about subject lines. He actually has asked me to footnote all our documents and page number them so they don’t get out of order when he prints. Yet he keeps his calendar and to do list on a notecard in his pocket. And when I asked him where he comes up with the numbers for the budget (for example, how many days did you plan on the summer training being or how much did you estimate rental cars to be), Willy doesn’t really know and tells me it was a “rough estimate.” Hmm. Thankfully, I work from home most days! 
I should also note that I work with three amazing women, two of which I barely ever see, and then two students (one is a shadow and the other is busy tooting her own horn and backstabbing on most days). Let’s call them Abby and Hilary. As a sidenote, with the exception of Hilary they are all incredibly nice well-meaning people. Infuriating sometimes, but very well-meaning!
I have compiled several past examples.  I hope in my hurriedness you can still get the main message.

Example one (occurred via email):
Samantha-Please send us updated scores for X school.
Me-Mary, do you have these? I do not.
Mary-(sends scores)
Me-Wow, I really wasn’t sure that that school had updated scores. It wasn’t on the list I was given. Any others I should know about? (communication is horrible, that part is not mary’s fault)
Mary-She wasn’t asking for the ones that changed was she? I just sent what I had and wasn’t looking for changes.
Me-Yes she was. She asked for “updated scores”. And you sent her one set that was old for that school and one set that was new. So you did send her what she was asking for (along with a little extra-I don't mention that out loud).  (Mind you, I am thinking, omg, read the freakin’ email first off, secondly, really read it before you send something, and thirdly, you sent her the right thing and didn’t even know it. Geez!)

Example two:
I send Mary the report in sections-goal one, goal two etc are separate documents. Mary evidently saves them on her desktop only. Mary informs me she can’t remember which ones he has seen and approved or not. I can't remember the details, but during that conversation I am compelled to ask Mary if she is saving them as “namefinal” or something similar. No. She shows me her strategy. She is moving the desktop icon from the left side of the screen to the right side of the screen once he approves the sections. Um, seriously?! Blind leading the blind.

Example three:
Mary asks for availability. Everyone gives it to her via email by date. Everyone signs in a different color on the same document. Mary does the date. The date needs to change due to circumstances outside everyone’s control. Mary asks everyone to resend their availability. Evidently she can’t search received emails?! I mean, our deleted emails are even held on to FOREVER!

Example four:
Everyone is working on a grant. Mary sends out a section evidently to many different folks for their input. At the same time. No, we aren’t talking google docs here. We are talking email attachment. The document name? “Narrative_use this one”. Hmmm. Sound like a disaster waiting to happen?! Well it did.

Example five:
Bonnie tells me my student funding will end in May, despite me no longer graduating in May. I tell Bonnie I am graduating in the fall, but can’t I continue at least until August when the new students come on? That makes sense because they will pick up when I end.  I realize the new students need the money I am using and have had long enough, but really do I need to end months before they begin?  The money will just sit going to noone over the summer. Bonnie says no. She is concerned my service obligation is too big. That is not for Bonnie to worry about. I get an email a month later when I ask for my exact end date. It is August. I ask Bonnie why August now and not May-did something change? She says no, she asked my boss repeatedly and asked me repeatedly for an end date and no one would get back to her (huh?!) and so she chose an end date of Aug. Is that okay with me? Yes, Bonnie, that is fine with me. Do I work in the twilight zone?

Example six:
Willy sends me an email. Please fill this out and return. It is for a spring graduation. This is in March. Yet, I have not proposed my dissertation. To graduate in the spring it would have had to have been proposed (via large meeting that includes Willy there), worked on for months and months, and then defended (via large meeting that includes Willy there) by April. I tell Willy I am not graduating in the spring. This is news to him. He is actually quite shocked and upset this is news to him.  Yes, I guess I should have blantantly spelled it out, but I kind of thought the emails regarding the illness and the lack of progress or meetings on his calendar might tell him something.

There is more, so much more.  And now that you have the main players down, I will let you know as they continue their nutty behavior.  Not only will this give a good laugh and make you appreciate your work, but I have noticed that I need another sane person to hear the situation and agree it is absurd.  Becasue if I hang out with looney folks long enough, I may just start thinking the sky is green and the grass is blue-just because they say it so often!  Did I mention how nice they are?  (They are, but I am clearly feeling a little guilty for this).


Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

At least they keep you on your toes! :)

Karen said...

Hahaha! This is too funny! I work with the same type of people. There are days when I just scratch my head and walk away. I especially love Example 2! That is some organizational skills. :)

mrsblondies said...

Wow, that's crazy. At least they keep you amused, even though they drive you crazy.