Let me make it very, very clear that my office is nothing like the one in Office Space. I work with intelligent people in a supportive environment that is really respectful of a work/life balance; I feel very fortunate to have a job that I enjoy with people I like working with. Though I purposely keep details of the company I work at and my ensuing activities there vague, I need to stress that I am not criticizing my company at all. (i.e. If my boss ever reads this, please don’t fire me).
Rather, the reason why I like Office Space so much is it highlights the idiosyncrasies of working in an office environment that anyone can relate to; those idiosyncrasies are what this blog is focusing on, and is not a critique against my company. Because we are a good company. I really like working there. (Oh God, please don’t fire me).
I understand the utility of a timesheet – we need to track the time we are spending at work appropriately so that the proper project can be billed. Timesheets get tricky, though, when you have to go back and revise them for whatever reason – a new job number becomes available or you misestimated how much time you were going to spend on a project. The revisions require a very specific wording for them to get accepted. If you don’t word your revisions in that format, your timesheet will be rejected every single time.
I’ve been working here for four years, and I’m still too stupid to have gotten the hang of timesheets. I always revise my timesheet incorrectly, or I get in trouble because I forget to fill out my timesheet for the
2. Expense reports
If you have never had the pleasure of filling out an expense report, they’re a lot like this:
They take forever, they are frustrating, and you usually want to drop kick your computer down ten flights of stairs after completing one. I recently completed a huge expense report and submitted it. I had unfortunately lost some of my gas receipts, but used an online billing statement to prove that the transaction had taken place.
My expense report was kicked back to me. “Please provide a receipt,” the person in charge of approving them asked. So I sent a reply back, reiterating that I had lost some of these receipts, but look at my billing statement that proves I’m not a liar, yayyy!
My expense report was kicked back to me again, this time requesting that I fill out an approved form for lost receipts before resubmitting.
Why else would I spend $70 at a gas station? Do you think I was loading up on a lifetime supply of Slim Jims and Laffy Taffys?
3. The “Reply All” Function
Ahh, “reply all.” Such a useful tool for projects with a lot of people, but misused every day by those in a hurry, or by others who think they have a sense of humor that needs to be shared with other people.
Recently, our office received some unmarked mail. The receptionist sent out an email to the entire office asking if the mail had belonged to them. Not a big deal, right? She did what she had to do. The majority of us ignored the email, which is what you’re supposed to do.
Except that one person decided to reply all by saying, “I don’t know why I’m on this distribution list.” That opened the floodgates for six or seven other people to reply, “OH HEY, I DON’T BELONG ON THIS LIST EITHER!”
Finally, someone with sense replied all with the directive to stop replying all. That should have ended the email chain, right?
Nope. Three more people still responded with reply all, with the same message – stop replying all, you guys! It’s clogging up our emails!
I thought the email chain had thankfully died after a receptionist replied to the entire office, asking the complainers to take it up with IT if they didn’t want to be on the office email group.
….but nope, when I logged into my email this morning, there was yet another email from someone that effectively said, “Oh my gosh, you guys! Stop replying all! I’ve received a billion emails on this subject!”