Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Diary of a Useless Manager - Please use the $70 voucher!

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.

We have just bought some new phones in the office and as a gratitude, the vendor has given us a $70 supermarket voucher. But never did I expect that it'll be that difficult to use up this $70 voucher.

I thought it would be a good idea to spend the $70 to top up the pantry with some biscuits and titbits. So as a democratic head of unit, I emailed the department and asked them to submit a list of items that they would like to purchase with the voucher, with details like item description, price and quantity. You would have expected me to be overwhelmed by eager suggestions from my happy staff right? Wrong! After one whole week, I received zero email. So I called my PA into my room.

I asked her why nobody responded to my email and she just folded her arms and said,"Because nobody in the office has ever worked in the supermarket before, so we don't remember all the stuff that can be found there, and of course we won't know the price even if we do know what we want. And the most important thing is, how do I know whether what I want is also what others want? Even for the same potato chips, I might suggest Brand A but others might prefer Brand B! And even if we did provided suggestions, what if the list of suggested items ended up costing more than $70?".

I hope she was not waiting for me to suggest that I'll top up the amount when she asked that last question. I mean, it's not fair for me to use my own money to buy titbits for the department right?

Since the gals are not co-operative enough to spare a bit of their time to come up with their wish lists to be consolidated into a shopping list (which of course will be done by my PA), we needed a plan B. So I told my PA that they could just take the voucher and go directly to the supermarket to do the purchase. But they have to do it outside office hours.

"What do you mean by outside office hours?", she raised her eyebrow and asked. I thought that sentence explained itself. "Which means, I don't want you girls to go shopping during office hours, and not even during lunch time, because that will mean you girls need to take long lunch." To which she rebutted,"So you want us to run the arrand after work?". Finally she got it.

Since it's free money for them to buy titbits, they should be more than happy to do it right? And anyway I'm not asking the whole office to run this errand, just one volunteer will do.

"So now you want one of us to go to the supermarket after work and buy $70 worth of food, and then bring all these loads of food to the office on the next day?", she snorted.

"Yes", I replied matter-of-factly. I was hoping she will volunteer because her husband drives her to work, but instead she just turned around and walked out of my office! I really need to talk to my PA about her manners. And seriously, I don't know why my gals are making this task seem so difficult when my maid can go to the supermarket alone and bring back a trolley full of groceries!

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