Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Diary of a Useless Manager - It's not just a seventy dollars in-tray

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is NOT my diary. This is just a fictional story of an useless little manager working in a large local organisation. If you work in a large local organisation and find this figure looking suspiciously like your manager, it is only because these useless managers breed freely in large local organisations and the only way to stop them is to remove their stable diet - their subordinates.

That day, my assistant manager told me that we need to procure in-trays for the department. Seriously, I don't see the reason for getting an in-tray. If I've got work for them to do, isn't it easier for me to throw the files on their tables, than to have to aim and throw into the in-tray? And furthermore, they have asked for those enclosed in-trays with drawers, which cost seventy over dollars each! Tsk, tsk, tsk... I really need to talk to these gals about working Cheaper, Better, Faster. Anyway, I told my assistant manager that I can't just approve and I need to check with Finance first, so she sighed and left my room. So rude.

So I went to look for the head of Finance to inform her that I might need to procure a seventy over dollars in-tray for each of my gal in the department. I thought that she would agree with me that this is too much of a spending and disapprove it, but instead, she just rolled her eyes, sighed (again!) and replied "It's your budget, why are you asking me? Anyway it's only seven hundred over dollars in total right?". WTH? Isn't she the head of Finance? Shouldn't she be more prudent to ensure that every buck spent is justified? How can she just let me spend seven hundred over dollars just like that?

While Finance is not doing their jobs, that doesn't mean I can't do mine. So I've decided to investigate more into the reason for getting the in-trays. I designed a questionnaire and scheduled to meet each of my gal face-to-face and interview them on why they need an in-tray. Questions like "Why do you need an in-tray?", "How will you use the in-tray?", "How often will you use the in-tray?", "How will the in-tray assist you in your job?", and the most brilliant one: "Will you say you can still improvise and do your work well without the in-tray?". Smart right?

After spending days of interviewing my whole department, I consolidated all data to analyse them. I know I had to cancel a few meetings and put off some urgent work to do this investigation, but I feel that this is necessary and should be treated with high priority. Oddly, all of my gals seem to have good reasons for having an in-tray. But I believe these can still be considered as excuses for not doing their jobs well with the minimum tools. So I asked my assistant manager, why didn't the previous head procure the in-trays for them. There must be a good reason for the previous head not to give in to them and I want to leverage it!

Then my assistant manager replied,"Oh she did! We used to have in-trays but those were very old and broken and we had to let go when we shifted to this new building. And anyway, during her times, we didn't have that much paper work to do and so we didn't procure and replace." Is it just me, or does she sound like complaining about the amount of jobs that I delegate to them?


chillycraps said...

tell them to go paperless la!

Unknown said...

LOL, i can't imagine telling such an organisation to go paperless! anyway i'm waiting for my friend to send me a pix of how the in-tray looks like!