Work Bureaucracy Stories

Got something at work that makes a simple task very difficult? Here’s a chance to vent. :cool:

I work as a Laboratory Manager for a university, so bureaucratic red tape is everywhere. Here are some things that drive me up a wall:

We must have the longest address in the world. Here’s the template for it:
Line 1: Individual’s Name
Line 2: Department Name, Mail Stop #
Line 3: Building Name
Line 4: Street Address, Room #
Line 5: PO Box #
Line 6:City, State, ZIP

Ordering supplies is a challange, not only because most places don’t have enough room on the order form for our address. Last week we need some suture silk. Here are the steps I had to take:

  1. Call the “preferred vendor” (we’re required to contact them first for any order). Find out that they don’t carry the silk, but will order it for us from the manufacturer at an extra $20 a box plus shipping and handling. Why can’t I order it directly from the manufacturer? They don’t have a contract with the University. :smack:
  2. Go to the online internal supply system. Maybe the University keeps the silk in stock. They run a hospital after all. Find out that the Internal Supply Procurement system has been privitized and I need to fill out forms with the company for an account number (break out the address-from-hell and argue with the rep about emailing our account info.) :rolleyes:
  3. Call a friend that does surgery on a regular basis. Ask her to add some silk onto her next order and I’ll trade her for some other supplies that are easier for me to get (for now).

I got a new flavor boss.
Until now, my bosses could be classified neatly in two boxes based on “who is in charge of getting things done”.

Class A, Nava is. If Nava needs someone to do something for her, Nava finds the someone and asks (emails, whatever). Nava informs boss of request, if needed (i.e., when things will be running late). Nava keeps asking as needed, until thing gets done. Nava informs boss when request is completed.

Class B, boss is. If Nava needs someone to do something for her, Nava tells boss. Boss asks/emails. Boss informs Nava when request is complete. Nava doesn’t bother ask again unless things are running extremely late.

New boss is a class C: if Nava needs someone to do something for her, Nava tells boss. Boss asks/emails. Nava must keep informing boss every day until things get done. Boss asks Nava about the status of everything under the sun every time Boss feels like it and expects her to know it in detail (sorry but until now when Nava knew something was “done” she didn’t bother remember any more details, like by whom, when, how long did it take and what did every person say in each email).

It hasn’t been until today (I’m on week 7) that the boss finally answered my question of “how often should I inform you of the status of requests?” Daily. OK. Thanks for informing me of your needs, that will make it easier for me to fulfill them.

He also likes to give codes to tasks. The codes follow no logic that I’m privy to and they may repeat. Of course, I remember tasks by name and he asks by code.

My current favorite:

The head of our office is so disorganized that we cannot simply bring something to her attention via e-mail or putting a document in her in-box. Instead, all communications have to be in writing, and submitted through an administrative assistant (which leads to the question of what to do when the AA isn’t in?)
Apparently she still lost stuff, so she decided material had to be placed in a distinctively colored folder. As I understand it, approximately 1/2 of a management meeting involved spreading out all of the various folders and deciding upon a color.
Her choice - magenta!
And the punchline, she had a cow when the AA ordered a stack of folders, and when they came in she proclaimed them not magenta - but burgundy!

Suffice it to say that the primary goal of all aspects of my work is to ensure that it cannot be caegorized as requiring her attention and involvement.

The support staff seem to resent placing mail and other materials in my “cheery yellow” folder, contrary to specific procedures…