Friday, January 04, 2008

Corporate Efficiency

Hear my sad tale of corporate woe...

I worked five shifts in the week of Christmas, which under Canadian labour practices means that two of those shifts are overtime, since both Christmas and Boxing Day are statutory holidays here. I also worked the closing shift on New Year's Eve (yippee!) and since I worked until 2:00 AM, I was entitled to 2 hours of overtime on the feast of Mary Mother of God (or as my company calls it, New Year's Day).

As a manager, however, overtime doesn't automatically appear on my paycheck like it would if I were an hourly employee. No... I have to fill out a form.

So I print off the form. This itself is a significant task. I have to log in to our intranet, find the right form, and send it to the printer. It used to be that we had printers interspersed throughout the building, so you never had to go more than 20 paces to the nearest one. Now, because it's more efficient, we have one huge super-printer in a "secure" room (with no door) way across the building. Imagine walking across a football field to get a piece of paper. That's what I need to do, but no problem. I could use the exercise - I guess the company knows I'm out of shape. I should thank them, really.

This form is a full sheet of paper, but for some inane reason the nutbar who created it only gives me tiny blanks in which to fill my name, employee number, and the shift I worked, plus an even tinier blank to fill in why I deserve to paid overtime for those days. So already the experience is an unpleasant one; the form itself makes me feel like I'm a burden to the company.

In the section for "Overtime Actually Worked,"I fill in the blanks beside Wednesday and Saturday with 8 hours each; Wednesday because I actually worked on Boxing Day, and Saturday because it was the fifth shift I worked in a week when I should only work three shifts (yeah, I know it's complicated, but that's why I get paid the big bucks). Then I write in my two hours for January 1 in the Tuesday blank, and go in search of my boss to get her signature approving it. Now, understand that my boss is my new boss effective January 1 (the project bosses like to rotate amongst themselves on a yearly basis), and my old boss had pre-approved me working all this crazy overtime when I told him that if I merely took the time off that I wouldn't get my work done. So I have to explain all this again, and she goes off to find him to confirm my suspicious tale. Then she comes back to me and says I need to fill out two forms because the shifts for which I'm claiming overtime fall into two different weeks.

Log in, print two new forms... walk across the football field... fill in the tiny spaces with the same information... find my new boss again, who takes the forms back to my old boss. He signs them and brings them back to me, and tells me that I need to fill in the same information on both forms in the "Pre-approved Overtime" section as well. More tiny spaces to fill in... finally done.

Then I have to fax it to our payroll department. Before my employer introduced all these efficiency measures, I used to be able to actually walk up to my payroll rep and give her the paperwork. Now I have to fax it to her.

Is the fax number on the form? I think you can deduce the answer. Is it on our company's intranet site? Not there either. That would be a logical place. So I have to call a toll-free number to get it.

I've called these guys before, so I know enough to put on a headset because I know it'll be a while and I don't want to strain my neck by shouldering the phone.

The hold music is actually somewhat enjoyable - a rare ray of sunshine into this bleak process - but they keep interrupting it to tell me that they still haven't answered my call. After about five minutes, Kyle answers the phone. I identify myself and tell him I need the phone number to fax in my overtime form. I rightly guessed that this task is simple enough for him to fulfill it, and also know that if I ask him when the deadline is to catch the next pay cycle that he'll be stumped and need to "open a case" to get me the answer. So I steer clear of that question.

The number Kyle provides is naturally a local one - very local, it turns out. It's in my building. I head over to the fax machine (which is actually the super-printer across the football field) and dial the 5-digit internal extension for the other fax machine in the building and send over my completed forms. I swear I can almost hear it ringing through the wall separating me from the Secret Chamber of Payroll.

The fax machine asks me to wait while it produces a confirmation page so I know that the fax went through. It gives me two of them for good measure.

I shouldn't complain, though. The overtime will probably add $300 to my paycheque, and it only took me two hours to ensure that I'll get it.

If I submitted it in time for the payroll cutoff.


  1. Apparently this "new efficiency" doesn't extend to the world of paper. How many papers touched your hands throughout the whole process? 8?

    Keep working hard though, I can tell you're doing a great job by the smiles on your daughters' faces :)

  2. Oh my!!!
    Hmmmm, tell me honestly, do I want to return there? when ever that will be? lol...
    I can only imagine, what my retraining will consist of.. hmmm
    take care,


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