Mischief Update: Workdon’t Addendum

Because I’ve been extra naughty, my exploits have spilled over into a whole other update!  This one is all about my little gift to the University, Workdon’t, the all-in-one-HR software.

Day by day, Workdon’t keeps on revealing its nefarious intricacies. It’s like one of those big boxes of chocolates. At first, it looks as if all of the goodies have been eaten, but Lo! Take up the waffly paper divider, and there’s a whole other layer of treasure underneath.  So, while the mortals in the humans’ workplace have become somewhat inured* to the yoke of inefficiency that was their first experience of Workdon’t, the revelation of some of the other little “features” of the program has been amusing us all. Or me, anyway–and that’s what matters.

Summertime at the University brings with it the period known as Annual Enrollment. During this period, each employee can choose his or her insurance options for the coming year. It ought to be straightforward–decide on how far you are willing to push your luck with regard to purchasing hedgements against disaster, all the while balancing the concomitant deductions to your paycheck.

In practice, however, things often become Complicated. This year, I decided to meddle with the employees who work nine-month appointments. This includes most of the faculty, who take summers off. Many of them have other funding that covers their summers, making them 9+3 employees. All would be well except for one thing: Workdon’t can’t “math.” Earlier this year, many of them discovered that all of the premiums for the summer months had be deducted from their last regular-semester paycheck, leaving about enough paycheck left over to purchase a large(ish) jar of peanut butter–if that.

All of this had been tidied up, but Annual Enrollment brought to the fore that Workdon’t cannot comprehend multiple payment accounts. I thought it would be funny if all of the 9+3-ers ended up in the system as 9+2-ers. You should have heard the squawking! Apparently that one-month pittance matters to them! Cue HR personnel in all the departments trying to correct this for each person, individually. The Biology Department’s HR person (who wears so many hats that he’s going to open a men’s haberdashery when he retires) manually added a further 1 month to each person’s file. Workdon’t decided, then, that they were all one-month appointments and thus ineligible for any benefits whatsoever. When they tried to access Annual Enrollment, Workdon’t laughed at them. When they tried to pick up prescriptions, they were refused, and Workdon’t giggled. And I laughed too.

Once that was attended to, it was time to make up the annual budget, including all the salaries for everyone in the department. A few, a select and chosen few, will be receiving raises. The Departmental HR person had to open several spreadsheets and various and sundry documents all at once, because Workdon’t does not have a Budget Module. (It has plenty of B.M., all right, but not that particular one.) That’s when Workdon’t’s Presto-change-o Feature introduced itself. Each time the budget-in-the-works was opened, the amounts for each individual had changed. Thus someone who was set to receive a 2% raise might show as due a 2.01% increase the next day, and a 2.3% the next. Each person had to be adjusted, again and again, in a process akin to trying to keep an unhappy octopus fully contained in a loose-meshed bag. One professor, whose monthly salary is, shall we say, “x”, had worked his way up to about 3x by the time all the flailing tentacles were nailed the to the deck. I finally had to let it rest because of the terrible stitch in my side.
Then there’s hiring. Workdon’t has its little idiosyncracies there as well. Initially, applicants’ packets for open positions were screened by computer at Central HR before qualifying applications were released to the individual hiring departments–a complex and tedious process. So tedious, in fact, that HR threw up its collective hands and devolved the whole process upon the departments, where applications must now be screened by hand. The human female is needing to hire a new Tech I (what did you do with the last one I sent you?!), which should offer me many happy hours, as applications from psych majors and English graduates are weeded out to get to the biologists.

Even now, thinking of all of this, I find myself chortling. Oh, Workdon’t, you are my finest creation!

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*Google “learned helplessness”

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