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User's Conference 2005

August 28-31 was the PDI\Users Conference otherwise known as The Industry Event. This is what has consumed my life for the last month or so. It was a fun experience, but I am glad it is over. I have written copious emails to my supervisor and those in charge of the conference about ideas and thoughts on the event. I will spare you the details.

Nevertheless, UC, as it is affectionately called, afforded me more time with people in unusual circumstances and some time for reflection. Posts for the next week or so will come from these thoughts.

Work and IM

I don't often write about work. It occupies too much of my time already. Lately, it has been about all I have been thinking about. We have a deadline coming up, and we have been working late and Saturday's to meet it. There is plenty to gripe about, so I will pick one thing.

We were recently kicked off of IM. One of my co-workers, who incendentally doesn't use IM, sent a message to the top execs about an article describing how some companies are ditching IM because of possible problems with Sarbanes-Oxley, an accounting law passed in the wake of the accounting scandals a few years ago.

This triggered a series emails that culminated in us being instructed to log out of IM, uninstall any IM software, crawl under our desks and hide. OK, that last one was mine.

I thought this was utterly rediculous. First of all, the original email recommended that we disable IM without those outside the company. The Sarbanes-Oxley problems are with logging internal communications about accounting procedures. Secondly, our company isn't even big enough to fall under SOX. Finally, I don't think think the mere use of IM would violated the law.

I see it as an unfortunate result of the intra-departmental conflict that has been taking place over the past few months. Our IT department knew we were using IM. It was the mere mention of the dreaded Sarbanes-Oxley that allow my co-worker to escelate the issue to those who would tend to overreact.

I hate to admit it, but this occupied my mind for the bulk of an hour. Sometimes, the stupidity of corporations just gets to me.
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Unintended Consequences

There is a program at work that shows a tooltip with this message when you are about to move something: "...this may have unintended consequences."That cracks me up. Especially in light of the recent TFC movie, Run Lola Run, I think every action I take should be labeled as such an action.What doesn't have unintended consequences? This also makes me think of the movies Butterfly Effect and Groundhog Day. It is almost as if we can't hope to control our lives.Lola exerts all her powers, yet in the end, must pray and wait for God to work through her actions.

Unknowingly Promoting Hypocrisy by Being a Hypocrite

My friend and I were recently talking about different possibilities for improving our workplace. He came up with the idea of a mandatory 5 minute break to clear the mind mid-morning and afternoon. I mentioned that we would probably have to lock down the network to keep some from working. I would probably be one of those.

He reflected that we would have to do that, because as soon as we instituted the policy, there would be those that would indeed skip the break and keep working. Before long, we would be giving awards to those that skipped the break and broke company policy.

It sounds sort of ridiculous, but there are those where I work that will in one breath hold up a 70-hour work week as a model for serving the customer and with the next breath say that they really shouldn't work so much. If so, why don't we punish them for working too much? Oops, I guess we really value the work more than family, church, etc. I am not against a 70-hour work week occasionally, but the problem is that all our heros are the 70-hour work week guys. Our heroes reflect our ultimate values.