Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Burocracy over productivity?

I know this has probably been discussed over 100 million times, especially in blogs, but i just have to get it out there before i die.

When will companies, especially big coorporations stop giving top priority to burocracy and start crediting a little, tiny, winny insy bit more importance to productivity?

I work for a contracting company that lends services to a fortune [insert small number here] company. At first I accepted the whole system, because i realized it is a huge operation and it needs to be organized in order to maintain a certain level of sanity.

My perspective on this has changed over time, and this has been especially accentuated over the last couple of months with events like the following:
  • I walk up to tech support, give him a good description of the problem and point to the computer with the issue. He instructs me to go back to my desk, write him an email with what i just said, go back to where I'm standing at the moment, and escort him to the computer with the issue. And whats most depressing about the problem is I could fix it in 10 minutes if I was allowed to. The problem hasn't been fixed yet, if you are curious.
  • Mountains upon mountains of required spreadsheets, documents, and presentations, which no one reads but any one of the manager on the CC line will bite you head off if he notices that you have not sent the appropriate reports.
  • People more worried about how a certain issue is going to affect 1) his personal image, 2) his team's image, 3) what his superiors will think of the incident, 4) his organizaitons image,.... 26) what was the problem again?
  • Spending hours (yes, hours) in a meeting discussing cosmetic details about reports.
  • Receving a phone call from someone, requesting I explain to them the status on a project. Only problem is that I send that status EVERY SINGLE DAY; it's required by the guy on the other side of the conversation. He just didn't bother to read the damn thing.
  • Being sent from person, to person, from team to team, around in circles because no one is responsible for whatever it is i'm working on.
  • Superiors handing me assignments where the effort taken in assigning the item to me is equal or higher than doing it themselves. Examples: Calling me to tell me to call someone. Sending me an email to asking me to send an email to someone else.
Again, I understand the need of big companies to stay organized. It would be chaotic if everyone just did as they pleased. I understand how maintaining a documented history of events is useful. I personally agree that many activities need to be documented.

Having said this things, it amazes me how burocracy outweighs goal of our company. Our purpose is to directly or indirectly is to offer a service or product to a client. We do this, because it makes his or her life better in some way or another. If it wouldn't he or she wouldn't bother to consume the product/service in the first place. It doesn't matter if you are the mail boy, you're role is important in the overall objective.

Is this going to change anything? Probably not. If a manager from one of those big companies reads this, will he change the way he controls his particular sub organization? I highly doubt it. In any case, now that I have your attention, just let me tell you, this is not the way. In my personal case (which may, or may not be the case of my coworkers, or any of the millions of people who have to spend 10 hours a day in a cube), what drives me, what motivates me is that idea that I am adding to the objective. I am making a difference. My work, as miniscule as can be is going to make somebody's day better, even if it's only for 5 minutes. That brings a smile to my face, and satisfaction to my craft, not pretty numbers on a spread sheet, a detailed document or a fancy presentation.

In the words of one of may favorite comedians, dennis miller: "That's just my opinion, I could be wrong".

1 comment:

Elvis said...

The exact same thing happens around here everyday! It makes my little heart tremble in emotion to actually see I'm not alone... :)