A Poll: Your boss asks you to find some information

Your boss calls and asks if you can find out the results of Proposition H in Beverly Hills.

You go to the California Secretary of State’s website, to the Election Results and Election Dates link. Nothing newer than the June 2008 state-wide Primaries. Screw that.

Go to Google. Type in the following:

election results california prop h beverly hills

On results page, the first hit is an irrelevant PDF from 2006, but voilà, the 2nd link is this one! Right there at the top it says:

Election Results
Total Reporting:100%
  Name	                  Votes	                 Pct.
✔ NO	                  6,326                  50%
  YES	                  6,258	                 50%
LAST UPDATE: Nov-05-2008, 01:47 PM Pacific Standard Time

Now for the poll, which is multiple guess. You have a 50/50 shot at getting this right.

Do you:

(A) Copy and paste the entire chart with the results into an email and send it off to your boss
(B) Go back to Google and look for another link, thinking you might find something more recent than one from the day after the election that shows 100% of precincts reporting

If you picked (A), you guessed wrong. If you’re my boss, apparently you think doing (B) makes the most sense.

Often election ‘results’ aren’t official unless they’ve been certfiied (which doesn’t happen the night of the election). And especially in close elections (as this one was), the possability of a recount is distinct (and in some circumstances required, as in Georgia Senatorial election). So, I’m w/your boss.

I’d look for another couple sources to either confirm 50/50 or support one result over another.

But on the hole I think Proposition H feels good.


That is the official page from the county registrars office. Local items aren’t reported by the SOS office. (It passed by 16 votes)

It depends. Did your boss ask you to do this as a personal favor unrelated to office work, or was this part of your job?

If the latter, I’d say “b” because the margin was so slim and things could change. (Is Al Franken elected yet?)

If the former, well … he can do his own more detailed research, if he cares that much.

Well, the answer was obvious from the way the question was written.

I’m not sure what I would have done. It’s easier to say in hindsight. I guess it depends on the urgency of the request. If it seemed really urgent, I might go with one of the first things I saw. But if I had a bit of time, I might get a couple more data points to make sure that the data was correct.

One of the things that would give me pause was that the information you got was from a newschannel. That means there were reporting the information as quickly as they could and may not have had time for final results which is apparently what happened here. But again, that’s easy to see in hindsight.

Well, in an effort to keep the OP as short as possible, I didn’t go into all the various search strings I tried before I even found one that gave me any results that were at all relevant. Seems there was a Prop H on the California ballot in San Francisco, too. And try as I might, I could find lots of websites that were either Pro or Con on Prop H before the election, but I kept coming up blank on the final results.

So when I finally found a search that gave me the damn answer, I grabbed it and sent it. I did consider that it seemed awfully close, and was surprised I hadn’t heard anything about a recount. But neither did I come across any articles that mentioned a recount in any of my previous searches that would’ve given me pause about relying on those numbers.

I mean, there was a checkmark by the results. 100% of precincts reporting. Nothing of any relevance came up in all of my previous searches, and I was tired of digging for it. And let’s be honest; it apparently passed by an even smaller margin of votes than how close it was when it leaned ‘No’, so the closeness alone wasn’t necessarily a give-away.

Had I glanced over the entire results page instead of getting excited when I saw the first one that seemed to give the relevant information, I’d’ve found it right below the link I chose. But at that point, I’d found the answer, took it and moved on.

Perhaps I wouldn’t be so annoyed had my boss called and said something like, “I’m pretty sure there has been a recount on this since those results were posted. Do you mind checking further for me?” But instead, he immediately starts chewing me out for it not being the most current information.

Well fuck you, I’m not following Prop H. I know diddly about it, it’s not on the news, and I spent like 15 minutes already searching for it. Sorry it’s not the “final answer”, but there’s really no reason to brow beat me over it.

To answer your question, CairoCarol, I guess it depends on your definition of job or personal related. On the one hand, Prop H has nothing to do with our business. We aren’t working on it and it’s never come up in conversation before. My answer wouldn’t have any relevance or outcome on a single thing we do in this office.

On the other hand, in addition to being the Office Manager, Business Manager and Property Manager, I’m also my boss’s “Personal Assistant”. So when he calls me and asks, “How do you spell Itinerary” (Real question from this morning), it’s my job to answer him. Hence, if he asks about the results of a certain proposition, even if he only wants to know for personal reasons, it’s still my “job” to find out as best I can.

Sounds like your boss is a bit of a jerk.

Hindsight being the wonderful thing it is, here’s what I might suggest you could have done, short of going straight to (b):

give him (a) and accompany the cut-n-paste with a note that says: “Seeing that the results are close and these numbers are right after the voting, do you want me to do any additional research? Just let me know, thanks.”

Of course, you know the guy, I don’t … maybe that would just encourage his jerkhood.

Oh no, you nailed him in one. Jerk.

Absolutely nothing pleases him, nor can I manage to do anything right lately.

He rarely comes into the office and his accountant wasn’t going to have his tax returns done in time to get them to him for his signature, then to me to mail. It’s too long a story to bore you with. But for the first time ever, my boss was going to have to <GASP!> go to the post office all by himself!

Well it fell to me to find out where the nearest post office to his house was (an area I’m not the least bit familiar with – I neither live nor work anywhere near that vicinity) that had extended hours on tax extension filing day. Believe it or not, he constantly complains when I get information for him from searching the internet. “Why can’t you just pick up the phone and call someone?” :rolleyes: Can’t tell you how many times he’s had me follow up to either verify information or to just call to be calling, because he wants me to talk to someone. Fine, whatever you say, dude.

Except that he’s totally inconsistent about it! In the case of the post office, all he could offer me was that he thought there was a post office in some Federal Building on Wilshire, but he didn’t know what that building was called or the address or anything that could identify it for me. I did try to use usps.com to search for post offices in his neighborhood, but after clicking through pages and pages of hits and only finding ones that close at 5PM, I phoned the post office and asked a live, human being.

Guess what she did – searched the same damn database I had searched, based on his zip code, exactly as I had. She had no clue what I was talking about re the Federal Building, but found a post office in Santa Monica that was open until 7PM.

I explained all the steps I’d taken to try to find what he was looking for, and this was the best I could find. So the next day he calls me, furious, that there was, indeed, a post office in this Federal Building (that he couldn’t even name or describe), just like he thought, and they were open until midnight. How could I not have found that one? And by the way, his friend John says I could’ve found it on usps.com. :mad:

There are times when I feel like saying, “You know, if you can’t be any more specific in your request than that, then you’ll just have to look it up your damn self.”

Ok, so this got off topic a bit. Sorry. :wink:

Since it was a 50/50 tie, look for something newer. Those day after results are volatile.

If it had been 60% No and 40% Yes, then the day after results would be good enough.

But your boss is an ass.


I frequently have to look up hard-to-find information like this as part of my job, and my response was (b). Either find separate sources that corroborate the first, or submit the first with the caveat that only 50% of the votes have currently been counted.

Pssst, Sublight, 100% of the vote had been counted, it was just a virtual tie at 50% / 50%. Turns out, they must have done a recount, and although the vote is still “virtually tied” at

7001 NO
7017 YES


that’s actually a closer margin than the original count, as posted in my OP, but now they’re carrying out the percentages to decimal points, calling it 50.06 to 49.94.

As a researcher myself, this is exactly what I would have done.

I had one of those once. If we asked for follow-up information, we were stupid and couldn’t think for ourselves. If we did a project and he didn’t like the results, we should have asked for more information (and of course, nine times out of 10 we had asked and been told we were stupid and couldn’t think for ourselves).

Always assume that someone is requesting certified results unless specifically stated. I’d have gone with b).

Your boss may be a jerk, but I don’t see it from this instance. Seems like a reasonable assumption.

You and I have had the same boss. If you called and woke him up you were chewed out. If you handled the problem without calling him at 2 am, you were still chewed out. No way to please him.

OMG, Shayna, I worked for that guy! Yeah, no matter what it was always “call someone.” Okay, retard, like WHO would you suggest–some mouthbreathing counter monkey? I’m sure that will be VERY helpful. I really hated working for someone so incompetent it was amazing he made it out of the house wearing matching shoes and with his fly zipped but who felt comfortable criticizing me for not instantly procuring very esoteric information by “just calling somebody.” Don’t EVEN get me started on when Mr Technologically Impaired would expound on how some computer hardware issues “should” be “easy to fix” or that software conflicts and OS crashes “shouldn’t happen because that doesn’t make sense.” Yeah, fucktard, but YOU were the one who didn’t know the shortcut on your desktop isn’t actually the real file and freaked yourself out when you accidentally moved something and therefore thought you’d deleted all your picture files.

Deep breath–he can’t get you any more, ever again, it’s allll in the past and he screwed his business into the ground after he fired you, it’s all good… whew Vocational PTSD is a bitch!

I am NOT glad you ladies had the same kind of boss as I do (I wouldn’t wish this on anyone trying to remain sane), but a part of me is awfully glad to know I’m not alone!

SmartAleq, you also nailed him. Utter technomoron. When I started working for him nearly 9 years ago, there were 2 computers in the office – neither of which was connected to each other in any way. Messages were taken on those old-fashioned pink phone message pads and physically placed on his desk, where he would yell and holler that I hadn’t given him a message, when it was right on his desk, buried under something he’d moved. The woman before me kept 3 separate versions of his appointment calendar; one on her computer, one in a “Month at a Glance” calendar on her desk, and one on a Day of the Week “Flip” calendar on the boss’s desk. Things had to be written in pencil so they could be easily erased in multiple places when they changed, which was constantly.

And that doesn’t even scrape the tip of how backwards this office was. They had Quickbooks, but used an old-fashioned 3-up, leather-bound checkbook to hand-write checks, then entered them into the computer. They then photocopied all the check stubs for checks that had cleared on that month’s bank statement, manually wrote out a deposit detail report and sent all of that by snail mail to the accountant. When I asked why they didn’t just run reports from Quickbooks and send them to the accountant electronically, she looked at me like I was from Mars. Turns out, the accountant didn’t even know they’d been using Quickbooks – for FOUR years!

Trying to get my boss into the 21st century has been the battle of all battles. And now he drills me down because he got better search results on Google than I did. Boy Howdy I had a bad day yesterday. Perhaps this should’ve gone in the Pit. :slight_smile:

You should have asked him to buy his own hemorrhoid cream. :wink: