NaNoWriMo: Twisted Tales and Corporate lunacy

I will be participating in — and completingNaNoWriMo the month after next. This year, I have two themes in mind. With your help, either one could amass enough ideas to blow out 50,000 words.

  • Fairy tales from different perspectives and venues. For example, suppose the “Three Little Pigs” was related by an eyewitness being interviewed by a television field reporter. The story might initially be reported as “an arson,” but as the news evolves, so does the story.

    Another example would be setting “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” on a reality-based TV show. I’m thinking in the spirit of PBS’ “Frontier House.” Of course, each character will make an appearance in the “confessional” booth.

  • Corporate lunacy Surely someone willfully comes up with inane — and possibly insane — policies then applies them to employees with a straight face. Why?

    For example, an employer might use the term “job-leveling” as an euphemism for their annual review process. In the explanation meetings, they imply “level” as meaning “fairness.” However, the word has over thirty other meanings, including many that aren’t benign, especially to the one being “job-leveled.”

    Another example is an IT policy like excessive virus scanning done to render a machine unusable, effectively making it appear effective at thwarting viruses.

  • Here’s where I could use your help: I need more examples of corporate nuttiness to draw from. Dots to connect, so to speak. If you have a tale, please email me at:.

    Since this is a work of (cough) fiction, I won’t mention your organization’s name. If I can do something funny with it, I’ll send you an excerpt after NaNoWriMo is over. (I don’t want to think about editing right now.) And, if this ever turns into an actual published book, I’ll send you a copy and mention you in the dedication.

    7 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: Twisted Tales and Corporate lunacy”

    1. OMG, the antics of ex-boss “Willy”… WHERE DO I START??? I’ll give it some thought and shoot you an email. 🙂

    2. Oh my…where to begin…

      How about the day they annouce a ban on travel three of your office mates have to leave the same staff meeting to fly to Alaska on short notice tickets that cost over $3,000 each?

      How about the CEO who swears he’s committed to leading the organization through the current financial and morale crisis but has to leave the staff meeting early to pick up his kids?

      How about the IT policy that says you can only use Microsoft products even if the association’s members are all using Netscape to access the web site and keep complaining of problems?

      Should I go on? 😀

      Glad to hear you’re doing NaNo this year. I’m not sure I’m going to make it. Last year’s book needs…work for it to be even vaguely publishable.

    3. The corporation has decided that centralization is the path to efficiency. Since it worked so well for the Soviet Union it must be the way to go. So far they have centralized HR, purchasing/subcontracts, IT, and introduced a common job tracking system.

      HR: All job offers must be circulated within the corporation before they can be offered outside. Much time is spent Talking to people you don’t want before you can offer the job to someone you know is qualified. There is essentially no flexibility in the terms and conditions of the offer, Just strict adherence to corporate guidelines.

      Purchasing: Somone far away with no knowledge of your Product and no interest in your schedule is responsible for making the suppliers perform. Their normal action when the supplier tells them that a delivery will be late is to go into the database and change the due date with no Notification to engineering or manufacturing.

      IT: I work at a remote site with no local IT support. No one at our site is allowed to have admin rights on any computer in the facility. Our parent division used to supply IT on call and they could fix most problems through the network and they would send someone out periodically to pick up other issues. Now we call an 800 number and talk to someone who knows nothing at all and they decide which support group should get the ticket. A support tech who does not know that your facility exists calls back in a week or so and you spend an hour explaining where you are, how you are tied into the network, and what your the problem is. The tech eventually concludes that they can’t fix it and they have to pass it to the remaining IT department at the parent division. That department has very few people left because they got rid of everyone when the centralization was put in place. They put it in the queue. I’ve had tickets open for up to 6 weeks for what used to take days to resolve.

      Job Tracking: In the good old days (last year) we had a job tracking system that allowed the cost account manager to determine at any time from almost any computer on the network who was charging to their job; what material was on order, received, inspected, and in the shop; and the status of rejected material from inspection or from the shop floor. It was possible to query anything by cost account number. The tools were mostly web based or used a widely available windows interface program. The query system was fairly easy to learn there were many canned querys available that had been developed over years of use. Now we have gone to a MAINFRAME BASED system that required special DUMB TERMINAL SOFTWARE to be installed to access it. The query system is incomprehensible and it is no longer possible to query at the cost account level, you have to use an arcane method to get text files emailed to you then use Excel to extract the small subset of the data that you need.

      This has all been done in the name of Process Improvement.

    4. Chris, your HR department apparently has the same policy as ours. It never has made any sense to me.

      Jim, I like both of your idea-categories and I especially like the graphic. 🙂 Never fear, I’ll do my best to keep you well supplied with bureaucratic tidbits!

    5. Heh. I have some “HR” stories while interviewing with large companies. UW wanted to hire an internal candidate, but was obliged to interview externally. It was a complete waste of my time.

    6. Brian – Human Resources is often, and unfortunately, the ambassador of the company. HR tales are fine.

      Kiri – 🙂 🙂

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