workdon’t

Mischief Update: Turning It Up to Eleven, Part II

The chronicle of Mischief continue!

Computing on campus continues to be fun. Anyone logging in to do anything with HR, Workdon’t, purchasing, the library, etc., etc., is now required to have dual-factor authentication.  (Must make sure the peons are who they say they are.) I arranged the tutorial website to not match the actual Duo interface, which was good for more than a few giggles.  The human female had to buy a little dongle-thingy to generate a Duo passcode, since her phone is a bit of a dinosaur.  The various websites are supposed to remember the code for sixty days, but for some reason, it never does. I wonder why?

I had a little fun at the human male’s expense as well.  Two computers kept throwing error messages saying that they couldn’t connect due to “trust issues.” After a not insignificant amount of sleuthing, he determined that two computers had the same “name” as far as the network was concerned.  That took a while to clear up.

Right after Spring Break, one of the human female’s Tech Is quit with no notice.  She got to experience all the fun of hiring someone through Workdon’t, including processing applications from someone who no doubt is a very nice individual but whose Psychology degree and many years of employment in the lawn care industry didn’t precisely fit him for the job.  Another applicant had one name at the top of her letter of intent and a different one at the bottom. One gave no address on the resume.  The top candidate took another job before she could be brought in for an interview, and two others declined to come for interviews, but the human female finally was able to hire someone who promises to be an asset to the team. The girl studies maggots on corpses, which makes me think she and I might have some shared interests…

Prep Staff found a wrapped string-cheese stick in a bag of stick-on electrodes. It expired last May.  Don’t look at me.  Well, okay, do look at me.  I put a student up to it last spring, but I certainly don’t eat those things myself.

The Teaching Assistants were my able helpers this semester too.  One of them gave out half the answers for the large Animal Diversity assignment to her students, and the only way to make things even for everyone in the other 83 sections was to give all of them the info too. Of course, part of the original info dump consisted of erroneous info, so that was a nice contribution to the muddle.

April ushered in the dreaded Annual Employee Evaluation period. This is announced a million times and is supposed to last until the end of May, although everyone got the email that This Extremely Important Thing is Due–and the due date is given as two days from then. Then everyone spends the whole two months with the fool thing Overdue! People shouldn’t complain, though, because Workdon’t helpfully guides supervisors through the process.  Each successive evaluation category won’t load, though, without hitting the next button, which loads then next page, and then hitting the “back” button to get back to the previous item.  It won’t let the human female see her supervisees’ self-evaluations, though, which leads to some flying blind.  I’ve told the human female to just flunk all her employees and let the higher-ups sort it out.

HR is just always fun.  The human female missed a call from them one day when she was home sick. When she returned the call the next day, the person who’d called was quite unable to remember what she’d called about.  The new employee?  Nope.  Information about increasing contributions to the humans’ retirement accounts?  Nope, not that either.  No one has called back, so I suppose it wasn’t important—or WAS it??

Someone wrenched the doorknob off the door between room 305 and room 309.

Speaking of good old room 305…  Earlier this year, the human female and her staff had to move out of there because Anatomy and Physiology had to move in because the second floor (where A&P was) was going to be renovated.  Well, what with one thing and another (read: Loki), this did not happen, but A&P had the third-floor room all semester anyway.  Now they have to move out again, because no one let the registrar know about the shell game and the room’s been assigned to Biology again for the fall.  Renovations will *finally* start in January, so they’ll be back upstairs again. Quit whining, humans!  Moving microscopes and models and skeletons and dead cats and spectrophotometers gives you muscles.  I just saved all of you a fortune in gym memberships.

Someone stole the human male’s credit card number and started buying things in a different state.  He got it cleared up quickly, but it raises an important question:  Who would want to be him???

Someone called the human female, a botanist, and asked her how to get rid of toads in his pond, since they were keeping him up all night and he needed his sleep after having surgery and… The human female always wonders how these random callers manage to find her.  Duh!

Health-wise, the humans are plodding along. The human female has been trying for months to get the second half of her shingles vaccine.  I’ve been hindering the production of same, so that humans everywhere are wait-listed.  I’m also working on developing my own vaccine, and when it’s ready, I’m going to make millions.  Anyway, she called the clinic ahead of time to see if they had any and was told they had six doses and if she came first thing on Shot Giving Day, she’d get one. On the day, I delayed her and delayed her with Workdon’t shenanigans so that she missed the morning hours (only realizing she’d done so when she was already in the car.) She tried again in the afternoon, only to be told there was no dose available.  The kind lady at the check-in went to look and managed to find one dose. When the human female got back to the exam room, she was told they were all out.  Then that person went to double, triple check and managed to find a single vial.  The human female took it gladly–and then spent the next 48 hours feeling as if she had been beaten half to death.  Can’t have her feeling lucky or smug, now can I?

And then there’s the weather.  My idiot brother Thor may be the god of thunder, but I do have the ability to nudge storms about, with an eye to inconveniencing the human female, with an ever-increasing degree of precision.  I allowed only five sunny days in February, and since then, there have been severe weather outbreaks on a fairly regular basis.  I managed to steer a tornado within just a mile or so of the campus, and all the humans got to hunker in various windowless classrooms and hallways.  On another occasion, the human female was out at the herbarium all by herself when the tornado warning was issued.  The herbarium is in a big metal building, the sort tornadoes like to demolish most, so she climbed inside an empty, unplugged chest freezer and hunkered there for a while.  As Odin is my witness, I wish I had a photo of that!  It was never my intention to harm the human female or the house, just interrupt her day and make the phones go off with weather alerts every ten minutes for days at a time.

It has rained so much and so often that the human female was unable to mow what passes for a lawn for over a month.  By the time I finally let her, it was long enough to want a scythe and not a mower.  Results=not winning any awards. Especially since she has been slaloming around 1) little oak seedlings she wants to save, and b) presents left by the next-door neighbor’s dog. Truly, the lawn looks like it has mange.

She’s especially nervous in bad weather now, because one of the big oaks in the back yard failed to leaf out this year. It’s reeeeally close to the house, so it needs to come down in a controlled manner before a storm brings it crashing down on the roof.  She’s been calling around, trying to find someone to do the job.  The outfit that did such a good job with the last big tree removal project seems to have gone out of business. We’ll see if she can find anyone to do the job without charging an arm and a leg.

She doesn’t have an arm or a leg to spare, but she might be willing to give up a foot.  I’ve been treading on her toes again, and her trotters are giving her misery again.  Unless she comes up with a miracle in the next week or so, I’ll have successfully derailed vacation plans for the year.  Shut up your whining, you/1  I’m saving you money and keeping you from a) eating a lot of fattening foreign food, b) contributing to global warming with airplane exhaust, and c) boring all of your friends and acquaintances to death with innumerable photos and poorly-written travelogues.  “But!” I hear you say, “Don’t you and Sigyn enjoy going on vacation with the humans?”  On vacation, yes.  With the humans? Not so much. And remember: Magic-user here. Sigyn and I can go wherever we want, whenever it’s convenient. And since temperatures are flirting with 90° F, that may be sooner rather than later. I think I hear the icy fjords calling.

Well, there you have it.  Several weeks’ worth of finely-crafted mischief. I really do think this merits an 11!

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Mischief Update–It’s Not All Pens Around Here

It’s not all pens around here, though you’d never know it by the ink samples on the dining room table.

No, there is a lot of messing with the human female so that she gets her exercise running around.  Take, for instance, the time the stockroom folks delivered a package that patently was not anything she had ordered.  It contained petri plates full of nutrient goo, meant for doing environmental sampling.  She called the Vendor Who’s Responsible and asked whose name was on the original PO.  They told her it was for someone named Craig Bell.  Armed with that info, she searched the A&M directory for anyone named Craig Bell.  She found a Greg Bell, so she called him and said she might have his package.  Then, since the VWR had just sent the good that were manufactured by another company, Hardly Diagnostics, she called them and was told the package was something ordered by one B.E., who actually is in the Biology Department.  So the human female called B.E., who met her in the hallway for a handoff.  B.E. got her plates, the human female had thirty minutes of her day wasted, and I had a good laugh.  Win-win, I’d say!

The human female and her prep staff were in charge of the snacks for the big, ten-day Teaching Assistant workshop that took place right before the start of the semester.  They received a schedule of all the break times and the human female carefully calculated how many snacks and drinks they’d need–six snack breaks times sixty participants, etc..  She went on a huge shopping run.  Then she found out they were responsible for two other breaks, so she had to go again.  I made sure that, on the second run, the Big Box Store was out of the cookie assortments everyone likes so much.  Or rather, they had them, it was just that each one had been opened. No idea what happened there (munch, munch…)

I also saw to it that on one of those runs, the human female’s university ID fell out of her pocket.  She didn’t know about it until she got an email from someone who works on campus saying that someone had found it and put it on the windshield of her doesn’t-work-on-campus boyfriend’s truck in the Big Box Store’s parking lot.  Rather than turning it in to the store, the boyfriend had taken it home.  The human female had to call him up and arrange to get it.  He wanted to take it to some coffee shop he was going to and leave it there.   The human female actually had to explain to him why leaving a card that identifies the worker’s department and which functions as, you know, a KEY in a public place was not a good idea.  She and the human female ended up driving all over the southern part of the city, out in the country, to catch up with him and get the card back.  That was a good one!

The first week of the semester was an absolute joy–for me.  One lane of the humans’ route to work was closed on the first day, and I arranged a fender-bender-tieup on the second.

The Thursday Night Home Football Opener caused as much trouble as predicted.  Traffic was a zoo.  Some employees were told they could leave at 1:00 and others were not.  Students were told to attend their afternoon classes, but some buildings were locked up early so they couldn’t do that.  I worked with the Memorial Student Center to be sure lockers in the MSC were available for the students to stash their stuff so they could go right to the game from class.  And then the next day, I saw to it that offer was rescinded.  Confusion is so exhilarating.

I’m still having fun with Workdon’t.  I had it mess up September’s insurance deduction for a lot of people.  And since the human female was finally able to hire a fourth Tech, I’ve had opportunities for mischief there, too.  He was hired three weeks ago, and he’s not in the system yet as far as anyone being able to code his ID card for the door locks.  Ah, door locks.  Love’em.  I’ve favored some of the Teaching Assistants and Lab Instructors in the same way.  There are all sorts of people wandering around who can’t get where they need to go.

The Purveyor of Squiggly Things continues to be a willing and able partner in the human female’s mental demise.  They are located in one of the states that bore the brunt of Hurricane Florence, so they shut down for a few days.  The human female had to put in her weekly order with them early, and then hope it came in time.  Then there was the time they canceled one item without notice (no Nostoc for you!).  The female didn’t notice it until the shipment arrived without it–no backorder notice had been sent.  Quickly, she scrambled to put in a phone/credit card order with the Alternate Purveyor of Squiggly Things–who also cancelled without any notice, on the exact same item.  The human female and her staff had to make do with prepared slides.  Then on the same lab, it wasn’t until Tuesday that the human female discovered that in one room, the jar of Nitella (a lovely freshwater alga) from the APOST contained no actual Nitella, just a lot of Bazania, a weedy aquatic liverwort that I’ve had fun spreading through all the freshwater tanks on the floor.  The human female called up the APOST to chew them out for sending bad merchandise, but they couldn’t find the PO in their system.  Why?  Because the human female had canceled the order when they couldn’t ship the Nostoc, so the Nitella in the lab was from a previous semester.  Didn’t she look like an idiot for not remembering?  Yes, she did!  And even moreso when she discovered that the Oedogonium in one of the lab rooms was also mostly Bazania.  Have I mentioned how much I like Bazania?

Then, on another order, the Purveyor of Squiggly Things just randomly changed the shipping date from one in September to one in October.  The human female caught it in time.  I still don’t think she’s realized that half of the employees at POST actually work for me.

I’m still playing my favorite game, Vendor Roulette.  The human female ordered a bunch of prepare microscope slides from several different vendors.  She received most of them.  That was too boring, so I had the Vendor Who Was Recently Swallowed by the Vendor Who’s Responsible (VWRSbVWR) send the invoice to the university’s satellite campus–in Qatar.  Never mind that POs are distributed with the email to which invoices should be sent.  Nope!  The invoice went all the way to some foreign fellow in the Middle East.  Someone there sent it to the human female, who let the VWRSbVWR know what to do with the invoice.  That was such fun that I started a whole ‘nother round–VWRSbVWR to Qatar to the human female to VWRSbVWR. That time she talked to an actual person, and it seems to have been resolved for now.

I’m still having another vendor, Lonza, send the human female Angry Past Due Notices for any university invoice, regardless of whether it is hers or not.  It’s such fun that now I’m doing it with a second vendor as well.  She’s everybody’s scapegoat, and I love it!

The last time the human female’s set of teaching labs and prep rooms was inspected, the inspector seemed preternaturally fascinated with the breaker boxes.  In one prep room, he found several slots without circuit switches, and he wrote them up, promising to send a tech to fix this Very Dangerous Problem No One Else Had Ever Found.  Nothing happened.  Then more nothing.  The human female called the department’s safety officer, who promised to put in a work order.  Not too long after, someone from Slow, Silent, and Costly came out and did the job.  A week later, someone else from Slow, Silent, and Costly came out to do the same job.  Also, the one worker at SSC who came when he was needed, actually called with updates, and did a good job the first time has retired.  I love it when smoke curls out of the human female’s ears.

The human female lost her yoga t-shirt, and I hid it so well that no one ever turned it in to lost and found.  She couldn’t ask the custodian if she’d found it, because said custodian quit on no notice.  The new custodian can’t figure out how to lock the human female’s office door, or that of her nearest office neighbor, since their locks lock and unlock “backwards.”

Construction continues to make driving anywhere in town a misery.  Lanes disappear for no reason at all, with no warning.  Getting to work is more and more like a video game every day.   And the TexDOT  (i.e., the Texas Department of Ongoing Torture) has just announced that in the next few years, they are going to widen the east bypass around the city.  Yes, the one they just spent five years redoing all the on-ramps on!

And one day, anyone trying to approach the Blocker Building suddenly found there was no actual way to do it.

construction on campus

The human female occasionally likes to listen to books on tape or books on YouTube while she works.  She was really enjoying a good murder mystery.  Too bad I saw to it that the last two hours were missing.  Never fret.  Waiting a few weeks for the book to arrive on interlibrary loan was a good exercise in patience for her.

On the homefront, the felines continue to offer me amusement and the humans bemusement.  The swirly one, at my prompting, has begun a new routine of rubbing up on the human female if she sits on the floor, with each arching rub going a little higher up her back, until she can nibble on her shoulder or her hair.  When she’s not tearing around the house or rubbing, she’s Sitting Funny.

goobercat

I taught her that too.  The humans have since had to barricade that lower shelf of that bookcase you see there, because she likes to NEST.

Aaaaand the human female  is still waiting for the needlework kit she ordered in January.  Some jokes never get old.

So you can see that I have been very busy.  And a busy Loki is a happy Loki.

Sometimes I smirk so hard my face hurts.

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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”

Mischief Update

I’m trying to make good on my resolution to keep my populace up to date on my doings.  Since I last reported, I had all that good fun in New York, but not all of my mischief has been travel-related.

Vendors continue to be the bane of the human female’s existence.  Well, one of them, anyway.  I saw to it that the outfit that sold her the brobdingnagian paper shredder for the office ignored the billing instructions.  She received a “Past Due” notice on the not inconsequential purchase price , even though a) she hadn’t received the first notice and b) the invoice shouldn’t have been presented to her anyway.

The last batch of mosses and liverworts (ugh!–liverworts!  Sounds like something you’d need to take strong antibiotics for!) from the Purveyor of Squiggly Things is doing pretty well, survival wise, but some of the little sealed trays have been sprouting Arabidopsis seedlings right, left, and center.  I gather that the plant is the botanical equivalent of glitter.

The two new hires on the human female’s team are working our surprisingly well.  They and the two old tech are forming a really stable, cohesive unit.  I shall have to see if I can drop a few accusations in a few ears and turn them all against one another—or against the human female— before the cheerfulness level reaches annoying proportions.

Both new techs were hired at the same time, but I am having extra fun with one of the new employees and Workdon’t.  I made it so that he wasn’t showing up in the system and couldn’t log in.  Workdon’t didn’t recognize him.  It took about a week to get him to show up, and even then, he was only in there as his ID number.  “Good morning, ID number!”  It took another week to get the system to call him by his actual name.  Everyone was happy, until he realized that somehow, Workdon’t has latched onto his Social Security number and is using that for everything.  All attempts to code his ID card for building access and room access have failed, because Workdon’t’s number for him is his SSN, not his ID.  Meanwhile, he is also unable to select insurance options, so he’s completely uninsured.  No one seems to know the magic words to make him a Real Boy as far as Workdon’t is concerned.  He exists in Administrative Limbo. vENN

Everything works perfectly for the other new tech, of course.

I’ve arranged more fun surprises for the female’s work group.  There are some Mysterious Damp Patches in the hallway ceiling and in one of the rooms just adjacent.  Slow, Silent, and Costly came out to look, replaced the wet tiles, banged around, and said it was fixed.  (This was before the female went to New York).  The spots reappeared.  SSC decided it was the fire sprinkler system and sent three more techs, who said, “Nope, not our problem.”  Supposedly there is another work order in, but no one’s holding their breath.

I invited some little beetle-y friends to overrun the break room and the offices.  For days, no one could figure out what they were or where they were coming from.  Slow, Silent, and Costly sent out someone to set traps.  The human female returned from New York, took one look, and said, “Pantry pests.  Find the infested cereal and get rid of it.”  All sorts of nooks and crannies and drawers were investigated, to no avail.  Finally, after much consternation, the custodian found an old, abandoned carton of oatmeal behind some dishes in the back of a high cabinet.  Well, to be more precise, it was a carton of 75% insects and 15% insect frass, and 10% actual oatmeal.  I was peeved they found it so quickly!  Next time, it will be rotten shrimp heads behind the refrigerator.  Let’s see them suss THAT one out.

It wasn’t my only arthropod amusement.  The lawn, upon our return from New York, was courting-city-citation long, so the human female mowed.  I was trying to nap, and the mower annoyed me, so I tucked a green lynx spider inside her sleeve when she wasn’t looking, and it BIT her.  How was I to know she’d spring up in a big red welt and itch for a week?

Coming home from a trip is always a let-down.  There is always a huge pile of bills and junk mail to sort through  (I arranged a “buy a commemorative brick in the sidewalk” appeal from a church the humans don’t belong to, along with several “renew your membership” pleas from organizations they don’t belong to), the houseplants look floppy, there is weird stuff in the cooling unit, and no magic hotel staff to do the cleaning.  I’d left the felines instructions to shed copiously, which they did enthusiastically.  The human female has been sweeping regularly, and there are still cat-fur tumbleweeds drifting lazily from room to room.

The house clamored for some attention too.  The sprinkler system is old and crotchety, so it wasn’t much of a chore to get it to run in the middle of the night when the dial was actually set to “off.”

Then the human male decided to shave one day and pulled up the stopper thingy in the sink.  Imagine his surprise when the stopper-pull plunger bit came off in his hand!  (Yes, of course this was one of the faucets installed just before we left!)  He decided to investigate one of the two other identical faucets, to see if he could figure out how to fix it.  In so doing, he pulled the knob out of that one as well!  Ehehehehehe!  The human female was not happy.  She managed to get the stoppers out so the sinks could be used, and she made the male stay home from work so the plumber could make a return visit and do the work properly.

She was also not amused when the male, still suffering from a bum knee, used a towel rack to help lever himself up off the necessary.  Have you ever calculated the force necessary to pull one end of a towel bar out of sheet rock?  Hint:  it isn’t much.

I’ve had some fun with the weather as well.  Last week, it was supposed to pour buckets of rain for five days.  The Big City to the South had flooding, the humans had about two or three inches after getting nothing for three days of near 100% chance, and the local airport recorded half an inch total.  It often happens this way.  The human male’s hypothesis is that there is a thirsty bird at the airport, one who drinks out of the rain gauge.  That’s ridiculous!  Everyone knows it’s an opossum.

While the weather was gloomy, the human female got the notion to make a chicken pie, despite the fact that it was WARM and cloudy and not cool and cloudy.  She tried a new crust recipe.  It tasted all right, but she’s lost the knack of getting the top crust on straight and had to patch it up.

pie

The joins leaked in the oven, and the crust stuck to the shielding foil and ripped off.  it was tasty, but Volstagg’s beard crumbs!, that was definitely the “don’t do this” illustration for a pie-making article.

It’s good to be home…

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Back in the Saddle

Adventure over, the humans needs must settle back to work.  Back to students and faculty and vendors and invoices and strange directives from above and, and, and…

…And Workdon’t.  

They really have no room to complain, because I’ve given it a major overhaul.  No need to thank me, it’s a labor of love.  There is a whole new interface for them to enjoy!  (I’ve worked so very hard on it.  Behold!

new-workday

See?!  It must be improved.  I got rid of all the garish colors in favor of a nice monochrome scheme.

And the icons!  I’m particularly proud of them.  Don’t you think it’s convenient to have the same one for Team Performance,  Performance, and Career?  And for My Team and My Team Management?

And don’t say  you can’t tell the difference between Talent Management and My Team Management?  Those icons are very different.  It’s not my problem if you don’t know what they refer to!

I’ve heard mutterings that folks can’t decipher the symbols on the Benefits worklet.  Seriously?  It’s a heart and a tooth and a pair of spectacles.  Duh.

Best of all–just look at the Time Off icon!  That stuffy old briefcase is gone.  Gone, I say!  Look at it, people!  The suitcase now has zipper pockets.  And wheels!  See?!  It must be better!

Oh–you wanted improvements to how Workdon’t  functions.

Yeah, no.

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Mischief Update–

Sigh.  I don’t know why I always let so much time go by between updates.  It’s just makes it longer and more tedious to write up.  Not that I don’t relish reliving my naughtiness, you understand.  It’s just all the typing.  Can Frost Giants get carpal tunnel?  I may be the first to find out.

Remember the trip the human female took to visit her sister?  On her first day, I saw to it that she got an automated message that several of the lab rooms were over temperature.  She spent a lot of time on the phone trying to figure out, long-distance, what was wrong and who could fix it.  Turns out there was a chilled water outage and there was nothing anyone could do but wait for maintenance.  In the meantime, I arranged fifty-six further alarm messages (ding!), coming every little while, day and night.  Since she was bunking with her mother, I was able to deprive two people of sleep with one misdeed.  I like to be efficient.

The estimate for the humans’ property tax bill for the upcoming year has arrived.  The city and I like to do a little jiggery-pokery.  One year we’ll claim not to have raised taxes, but we up the evaluation by about ten percent.  The next year, the evaluation will remain nearly constant and we’ll protest, “But we didn’t raise rates last year, so we need to do it now.”  It all ends up the same, eating into the human female’s quilt fabric budget.

I’m growing daily richer, since I now own the traffic cone and big orange barrel concession for the county.  I’m making a mint off University Drive alone, where they’ve taken away two lanes so that they can re-do medians and turn lanes and traffic signals.  I also like to nudge people to cross against the light or else do a left on red.  If I time them right, I can back traffic up on University Drive from Texas Avenue to Wellborn Road!  Meanwhile, Wellborn Road itself is under construction, as is the whole Harvey Mitchell Parkway-FM 60 intersection.  They’re building a Diverging Diamond interchange, but hte locals have already dubbed it the Death Diamond, which is hurtful.   I mean, just because I designed it so that  drivers will end up on the wrong side of the road if they want to turn left, is that any reason to resort to name calling?

So, basically, throughout town, one can’t get there from here.  I advise you to invest in anything that comes in safety orange.

The Purveyor of Squiggly things shipped an order of delicate little hydra on Monday, not Tuesday.  They didn’t actually arrive until late on Wednesday, nearly too late to be useful.  Living on the edge is good for her.  Another order of the beasties arrived all dead.

The Purveyor of Paper Goods, usually vastly obliging, is not returning the human female’s telephone calls.  Probably because he’s found out she’s going to go with a different supplier for her enormous glove order.  (That’s an enormous order, not enormous gloves.  They only come up to extra large unless you special order them.  Then you can get ones that would fit Hulk.)   She’s ordered biodegradable gloves, which I actually do approve of, because they’re green.  I don’t care two of Volstagg’s waistcoat buttons about conservation–I mean the gloves themselves are green.

A different vendor keeps sending the human female past-due notices for orders she didn’t make of goods she didn’t receive. She has helpfully pointed out to them that A) she does not work at the Vet School or in the Chemistry department, B) she is not the person clearly named on the invoice, and C) she couldn’t pay the invoice even if she wanted to, since all  university’s invoices are handled by the Chief Bean-counters.  Every time she has to respond to one of the vendor’s dunning emails, her own terse reply gets shorter and pricklier.  I plan to keep this up until she’s returning nothing but key-smashes.  @*#%$^7fh&6$#!

Another purchase was a ladder.  I got very excited, because I can have all sorts of fun with ladders and high places and heavy objects and slippery floors, but it turned out to be a DNA ladder, which is just a little tube full of little bits of stuff that the humans use to do Science with.  I was able to work with that, though.  She ordered two, 1 kb ladders and I sent her one.  Plus one 100 bp ladder.  Nyeah, so there.

She also tried to order oculars—eyepieces—for some of the student microscopes.  The Purveyor of Expensive Optics (POEO) told her that some of her scopes were too old, and the part was no longer available.  She searched surplus sites online and found a different vendor, who told her that a different part would work just fine, and she should buy some and prove it to herself.  She did, and lo!  The part fit not only the older scopes but the newer ones as well.  Thus did she discover that Mister Slightly Smarmy POEO cannot be trusted.  Rats!  He was one of my better operatives.

I’ve been having fun with other bills, too, ones sent from the local medical clinic.  Last fall, when the human female was having such trouble with her trotters feet, she made several trips to the podiatrist, making the requisite $30 copay each time.  Now the clinic says she owes an additional $26.32 for each visit, no explanation given.  It also wants an additional $6.00 for a visit she made to a regular doctor last September.  She has talked to them three times on the phone, and each time, she’s told that they are Looking Into It because These Things Take Time.  They also billed her for her annual physical, which should have been free.  They further billed her for a visit to the doctor when she hurt her back at work.  She tried to call and get that refunded, since Workman’s Comp should cover that, but the clinic’s bean-counters just said they’d apply it to her outstanding balance–which consists of those extra payments she doesn’t actually owe.  She’s tried talking directly to the insurance people, who all agree she’s owed a refund. She asked them to talk to the clinic people, but so far no rapport has been reached because, as they keep reminding her, These Things Take Time.

And she has a plethora of places to keep up with her health online, because the Midgardian motto is:  Applicationem ad eundem finem destinari est.  She tried to get to one of the websites the other day, only to find that her “personal” login wanted her to enter the University’s “token.”  Which no one had bothered to give her.

I’ve been tinkering with the elevator in the human female’s work building.  It started smoking one morning, which made everyone in the building a little nervous.  even after the smoke cleared, it was a little like playing Elevator Roulette–one never knew if it would actually stop on the floor selected.  Or if it did, whether the doors would open.  The repairmen fiddled with it for days.  One of the human female’s Techs ignored the “out of service” signs and got stuck in there for half an hour one day.  That was fun.  It’s working again now, but I can think of at least three large orders the human female’s going to have to bring up before the summer is out, so I will have some more opportunities.

I’ve actually sort of taken up meddling with machinery as a hobby.  The humans’ dryer has been turning itself on and off at random recently, as well as cycling through various settings at random during a load.   The human female stayed home one day to have the repairman in.  He could not, of course, duplicate the problem.

On the same day, a plumber came to replace all the leaky  ever-running bathroom faucets.  The human female bought the faucets ahead of time.  It took two tries, because the salesman gave her two of one kind and one of another, when they should have all matched.  The clerk at the checkout was Deeply Suspicious when the human female wanted to exchange the odd duck for a more conforming clone.  When the plumber arrived and put his hand to the valve to shut off the water, it came off in his hand!  So it was all more hassle and expense than intended, which is how I like my DIY projects.

It wasn’t my only foray into the fascinating world of faucets.  I arranged that the one in room 303 of the human female’s building would suddenly start fountaining water from the top of the tall fixture-stand.  It rendered the sink in the busiest dishwashing room completely unusable.  The maintenance man did arrive, eventually, and showed the human female and her techs how to fix the problem in under a minute.  Now that they know how to fix it, next time, I will make something else go wrong.

I dosed a TA with sleepy pills so that he missed proctoring his lab final.  The human female had to cover for him, putting the finishing touches on his exam at short notice and running his students through it.  Was he properly apologetic?  No, not so much.  Another TA had to have it explained to him that telling a student to meet him “by 4:00″ was not the same as meeting him “at 4:00.”  The student couldn’t figure out why his TA wasn’t there in the morning, and the TA wondered why, at 4:00, there was no student in sight.

I made grades and assignments disappear randomly from the electronic gradebook.

I made the plagiarism-checker website send nearly everything back with a “0% match” report, which ought to be impossible (ehehehehehe) because there should be at least a little match if the students all typed “test tube” and “experiment” and the names of the reagents.

I put mealybug on the ferns and scale on the pitcher plants.  I trained the felines at home to nestle in the African violets and shove them off the window ledge.

I fixed it so that the office copier/printer/scanner/coffee maker will send a fax, but not receive.

I had a talk with the sewing machine, and as she was putting the last bit of binding on a baby quilt, the human female mitered a corner wrong and had to pick it all out.

Lest you think that the human female is the sole recipient of my mischief, let me tell you about the long-term prank I’ve been pulling on him.  The Department has a Really Exceptionally Expensive System (REES) which is supposed to monitor temperature and water leaks, etc., and call people automatically if something goes amiss.  Earlier this year, the system was overhauled/replaced, at Great Expense.  Things went well, until the techs couldn’t tie it properly into the system.  At one point, all the alarm calls were going to the human male’s server room and his office phone was turned into the REES number.  The system is not what was ordered.  There are monitoring nodes no one can physically find in the building.  The system self-checks and keeps saying, “Yep, all good!” when all it means is that it has been able to ping a node and get a reading.  Telling what that reading actually is?  Pfft!  That’s for sissies.  It won’t properly connect to anything and no one at REES wants to take the credit for having sold the Department something that doesn’t work or schedule someone to come out to fix it.  The whole shebang could be on fire for all anyone on the emergency call list knows.  Oh, well, at least it eliminates those pesky in-the-middle-of-the-night robo-calls!

And you remember my treasure, my jewel, WorkDon’t?  The humans have discovered a few other features.  It is incapable of encumbering funds for grants.  There is no way to tell it to set aside a particular amount to be spent later.  Also, pretty much all HR communications pass through the Dean’s office, often bypassing the peons at lower levels who actually need to see them.

But oh!  The Dean!  She was such an able ally,  manhandling the budget and inflicting her whims upon the Biology Department, but she is departing to make some other university’s faculty and staff miserable.  So you see, it hasn’t been all beer and skittles  (or Kool-aid and Twinkies) for me, either.

Odin’s Eyepatch!  I didn’t realize, until I had written it all down, just how much I have accomplished since last I updated.  A busy Loki is a happy Loki!

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#WorsethanBAM

Remember my beloved purchasing software, BAM(N)?  For over a year, I tortured the entire University system with it.  It was slow, cumbersome, unpredictable (well, unpredictable as to results; it was PREDICTABLY awful to use), and universally despised.  The University abandoned it, which was a real slap in the face to me, and I vowed my revenge.  It has taken a bit, but I am nothing if not patient, and I am getting my own back.

With interest.

The miasmic fiasco that is Workday makes BAMN seem like a pleasant game of Pong.  People are fondly calling it Workdon’t.

Look at this friendly interface!

workdont

See?  It’s like some happy child’s game!  Hearts!  Balloons! Stars!  Money!  What’s not to love?

Oh, foolish child, where to start?  I’m so proud of all of it!  It’s meant to be a complete, all-in-one payroll-hiring-HR package.

It’s a complete something, all right.   Here are the features I installed:

–No one received any useful training.  At all.  Oh, there are some videos, but they don’t really tell anyone anything that helps.

–No one on campus who uses it knows how it works, not even those who are supposed to be in charge of it.

–It has trouble with timesheets.   The human female tried to put in for 16 hours of sick leave over two days, and her request got bounced for “trying to put in for two 16-hour days.”

–It can’t handle payroll.  People get paid too little, or too much, or have their tax withholding tinkered with unbidden.

–It doesn’t understand about people who get paid from two sources, such as a grant and a salary.  Or a joint appointment in two different departments.

–It decided all the 9-month employees (such as faculty who don’t teach during the summer) would have all of their summer insurance premiums deducted from their June 1st checks. Even if they are still teaching from a different appointment during the summer.   Surprise!

–It cannot handle transferring an employee from one department to another.

–It won’t let anyone change their name.  Not even a middle initial!  The human male’s coworker tried to add his middle initial to his record and was asked to present a birth certificate.

–It will allow a supervisor to delegate permissions for things to underlings and flunkies.  But I made the list of functions that can be delegated really uninformative and cryptic.  The human female and her boss and the Assistant Department Head spent an hour one day trying to give the human female access to a few of the boss’ duties while the boss was on vacation.  In the end, they could only do this by giving the human female ALL the boss’ Workdon’t chores and emails.

–It’s employee evaluation season, and instead of giving everyone until the end of the month to complete self-evaluations, evaluations, discussions, and reviews, the program has chopped it up into little pieces with deadlines that are immutable.

–The email reminders for these evaluation tasks are cryptic and require users to start up the program to access the message try to figure out if they’re reviewing or being reviewed.  Or being asked to name an alternate reviewer.  Or be an alternate reviewer.  Or comment on an alternate review…

–Sometimes, the program will let a supervisor see the employee’s self-evaluation while they are writing their own review.  Sometimes it will not.  Or one that was visible will vanish without warning.

–Sometimes it will eat all the comments a supervisor left, so that if they want to revisit things before final submission, they have to try to remember what they said and put it all back in–or trust that it is somewhere in the Workdon’t system.  Maybe.

–What the evaluated employee sees is quirky, too!  The human female can see her ratings from her boss, but the only thing that appears in the “comments” box for each item is the name of the boss’ boss.  I think he got made an additional reviewer, but clicking on his name doesn’t do diddly.  (Love that word!  “Diddly.”)

And oh, the shining jewel that is the hiring process!!!

I am so, so proud of the whole hiring part of the program.  I get positively misty every time I think of it!

–Is there a word that means the opposite of “streamlined”?  “Bilvetous”, perhaps?  “Adiposian”?  “Congressional”?  If there isn’t one, someone should invent one and apply it.

The human female has been trying since MARCH to promote one of her Tech I’s into the open Tech II spot.  The request went from her and her boss to the Program Head to the Assistant Department Head, to the Department Head, to the Dean’s Office, where it languished for a week or two before being launched upon the rest of the FIFTY-SEVEN STEP PROCESS required by Workdon’t.

–All of these steps require someone to approve an action and forward the request to the next person on the list.  At quite a few of the steps, the action gets sent to a dozen or more people all at the same level, any one of whom can approve or torpedo the request.  Or, if they feel like it, they can all ignore it and assume that someone else is doing it…

–Every three steps or so, the request routs back to the Assistant Department Head or to the main HR office.  They then have to answer some question that was answered in the original request :  What will this person’s title be? What will be their pay rate?  What account are they to be paid from?  When should this take effect?

–Because some employees on the campus are graduate students, EVERY hire approval has to go through the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies. Every. Single. One.

The human female’s request, after about a month of bouncing about, was almost to the end of its journey, when someone in the Dean’s office decided that a different form should have been used, so the whole promotion request was booted back down to Step One so it could start over.

I think I hurt myself laughing that day.  Supposedly the request is near the end of the process again, but no one’s holding their breaths…

The human female has also been trying to hire two NEW Tech I’s.  The first posting was sent up the food chain for approval, and the human female was told that it was approved and posted on the University’s employment site.  Except it wasn’t.  It wasn’t the next day, either, when the human female’s boss got a chirpy little email telling her it had been posted.  Finally, the posting did go up, and the applications began to trickle in, bringing a new appreciation for Workdon’t’s complexities.

–Each applicant is screened by an actual human in the HR department, and they are all far behind.  When they finally reach an applicant’s application package, they get to decide whether to pass the candidate along.  Or not.

–Only the one person designated the Hiring Manager for a particular posting can see the submitted documents.  The human female, even though she has been tasked with collecting all the applications, sorting the applicants, calling the lucky few for interviews, completing the hiring matrix, compiling all the interview results, and getting the new hire through the hoops toward actual employment, is NOT the Hiring Manager and cannot see diddly until her boss prints it out and gives it to her.  (There’s my favorite word again!  Diddly!  Diddlydiddly! Diddlydiddlydiddlydiddlydsquat.)

–Each applicant is either tabled or passed to the “to be interviewed” pile.  There is a lovely computer screen at this stage, with a large display of what looks like a ribbon coiled into a cone or funnel that hangs there, urging one to move the lucky applicants down one turn of the vortex.  Except, if the applicants are moved ahead from this screen, the application process breaks.  One needs to do it instead as an action item from the inbox.

–The applicants’ info is presented to the hiring manager in one big table with itsy-bitsy print.  Of course, each applicant’s package can also be viewed individually.  Well, most of it.  I’ve fixed it so that Workdon’t has a subroutine that rolls a die.  If the applicant has been asked to submit a resume and a cover letter, one of those, both of those, or NEITHER of those may actually be attached.  Is Workdon’t acting up, or is the applicant terrible at following instructions?  Who knows!

–Applications come through with about 1/3 of the information that they used to carry under the old system.  Life is more fun when it’s mysterious, don’t you think?

–When there are enough applicants that one wishes to interview, one can make the request to put the position on hold (i.e., no new applicants).  Or, as Workdon’t terms it, one can “unpost” the job.  The human female and her cohorts did this with their position, choosing two likely-looking applicants for interviews.  When the first candidate proved lackluster and the second called on the day of her interview to say she’d accepted a different position (as who wouldn’t, after what by then was two weeks of waiting for Workdon’t), the human female asked that the job be re-opened.  This, apparently, afforded the higher ups at HR some much-needed amusement.  The job is closed and cannot be reopened.  It seems likely that the position will need to be abandoned/rescinded and the whole approval for posting a position process, which takes WEEKS before it even gets to Workdon’t, will need to be begun anew.

–In the meantime, the announcement for the second of the human female’s two Tech I positions has gone up.  There are currently twelve applicants, two of whom were applicants for the first position, three of whom do not live in the U.S., and two of whom have no work history in Biology.  IF the human female and her staff decide to interview some of them and then choose to hire one of them, all of their application scores, interview scores, and reference scores will need to go into a large hiring matrix spreadsheet and be submitted to Workdon’t.  Of course, this cannot be done through Workdon’t itself.  No, it will need to be submitted to a different website, and then someone will have to go back into Workdon’t to tell it that it has been done.

–Meanwhile, I arranged for all the University’s users to receive a “Tell us how much you love Workdon’t and the training you were given” survey.  The human female wrote a blistering response, which was no doubt therapeutic, and which–also without doubt–has vanished into Workdon’ts treacherous maw, never to be seen again.

Oh!  And the person who was involved in getting Workdon’t rolled out University-wide received special praise and a bonus for a job well done.  It doesn’t matter if the program works, only that it was installed on schedule and under budget.

Ehehehehehe!  Is this not a fine prank to play upon the University?  Are you not impressed?   I know I’m having a wonderful time.  Half the staff is in tears and the other half is threatening to quit or retire.  You can be sure I will be getting more mileage out of this as time goes on.  This thing may turn out to be the one thing that finally brings the campus to its knees in thrall to me.  A bit more, and the populace will promise me ANYTHING to relieve them of this monstrosity!

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