RASMMAMSTCCHWE: Results And Some Mandatory Meetings And Make Sure To Cover Core Hours Work Environment

ROWE is awesome. We all believe in ROWE. All meetings are optional.

Except everyone has to attend the bi-monthly two hour update meeting.

But aside from that, ROWE is great. You can work anywhere.

Except that our online meeting software sucks, and this is an important meeting, so you really need to be on-site for it. (There are meetings for which we don’t care about the quality of the online meeting software? Why are we having those meetings?)

Other than that, you can work anywhere, at any time as long as the work gets done.

Except for core hours. You must work core hours.

Oh, Zojirushi 62 oz Coffee Carafe, You Make Me Very Angry

I guess my beef isn’t specifically with this coffee carafe, but I do take issue with the design of the carafe that makes my unfortunate circumstances that much more likely.

The problem with this carafe is that it’s hard to get coffee out of it once the first few ounces of coffee are gone. You have tilt the coffee pot on its side, and that’s where my trouble started.

There I was, trying to get coffee out of a one-third to one-half full coffee pot.

There (some indeterminate amount of time before) someone else was, barely screwing the lid on the carafe.

Back to the present, there I was, getting doused with coffee from a very well insulated pot as the lid came off.

If you see this carafe in your office, be very careful pouring your coffee, or even better… RUN AWAY.

#operationfreefood Day 4

Today, I secured my own provisions. To be frank, those provisions were better than any free food that I could have acquired at the office.

I had forgotten about the healthy rations (fruit cart) that were set up yesterday. The bananas were the first to disappear. That’s just as well, because they are usually overripe these days. They always came green in the winter time. Only a few bruised plums and apples are left, along with some sickly looking oranges.

I did discover, however, that a lone leftover bagel (plain) had been left behind by an unannounced offering of free food. Possibly due to the low reward vs. high personnel risk of injury that comes with announcing the free food.

Still a demoralizing day on the free food front, but a lone bagel represents hope.

#operationfreefood Day 3

Complete failure.

I managed with leftovers from Costco.

How can an office grunt get by if other teams aren’t ordering too much food for lunch?

This is day 2 of the free food drought.


#operationfreefood Day 2

Brought leftover rations from our trip into town this weekend. Hoping not to have to use them, but still waiting on word from Leftover Intelligence that food is available. Our late morning drills were fairly light, and we’ve actually had time for ample coffee drinking, so I may be able to reserve my rations for tougher times.

One thing about the coffee: I know that it is better than the standard issue coffee, but, it’s just that… I’ve been drinking it every day, and it just tastes awful now. Is it a product of the resentment of these conditions I find myself in, or is the coffee really that awful?


I tried to hold out but couldn’t. My rations had to be eaten.

‪#‎operationfreefood‬ Day 1

Waited around too long and ended up getting stuck behind a soldier with no sense of urgency or traffic laws. Fortunately, cheap sub sandwiches were plentiful. Had to search for last mayo packet, and the bags of chips were all gone. It wasn’t pretty, but I got in and got out. No casualties, except for three sandwich portions.

Afternoon update:

There was a second raid conducted on a higher fortress. Barbecue supplies were still available, but rapidly dwindling. I took advantage of the lack of attention given to the buttermilk pie station and away with a tasty slice. Unfortunately, the company mess has awful coffee.

What PR vs. Management vs. the Front Line Worker says

Inevitably, in a large organization, front line workers’ pressure to perform and/or apathy results in a public relations nightmare.

What PR Says:

  • Our values are above such behavior.
  • Our employees have a much higher standards than this behavior.
  • Such behavior is repugnant to all of our employees.
  • These is a rare bad apple that will be sought out and dealt with.

What Management Says:

  • We have goals to hit.
  • You are prohibited from doing the 1,002 things on this list.
  • To prevent you from doing the above 1,002 things, you must follow these 37 procedures for everything you do.
  • If anyone screws up due to being in a rush, we will add an extra 4 hours of annual training on this and add it to the mandatory weekly meeting agenda.

What the Front Line Worker Says:

  • You pay me a fixed or minimum wage. As Chris Rock said, if you could pay me less, you would.
  • You cap my pay at a wage that prevents anyone competent enough to do a good job from actually staying around to do it.
  • In your interest in getting rid of a worthless employee that you didn’t have the guts to deal with individually, you also fired two workers who knew what they were doing.
  • Breaking the rules as a last resort becomes a more common occurrence with every layer of ass-covering bureaucracy you add and every shred of competence you take away.
  • The only way you’d last one *shift* in the field is if you hid in the manager’s office for the duration.
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Features in Microsoft Outlook that would do some *good*.

(Outlook client and Exchange server are lumped together here.)

“Reply to all” goggles.

Test Mail Goggles
Test Mail Goggles (Photo credit: tchuntfr)

GMail once offered “mail googles” in Google Labs that would require you to solve 5 basic arithmetic problems in a certain amount of time in order to send a late night email. You were able to preset the difficulty and hours that it was active.

In an Outlook version, the mail server administrator could set the difficulty and type of problems required and possibility a minimum threshold of participants before it was required, so that a team of 3 people could “Reply to All”, but someone couldn’t reply to everyone on an email about health benefits with a question about their preexisting condition without at least jumping through a few hoops first.

Automatic large image converter and scaler.

Does Outlook still by default embed images from Windows as .bmp files? Being able to email screenshots is nice, but 1024×768 bitmaps will quickly eat up a stingy mail quota. The more tech-savvy users can quickly figure out how to emails as a web page and images as a lighter weight image format, but the users sending you screenshots of something that “isn’t working” aren’t as likely to be Outlook power users.

Split large attachments in Calendar invites into a separate mail message.

How often do you receive party or big event invitations that have an embedded 8.5″x11″ bitmap file that was exported from a PowerPoint slide in which the invitation was drawn? Isn’t it lovely that *everyone’s calendars* by default have that 3+ MB file in their Calendar, and when you look in Outlook folders for the messages that are eating up your [ridiculously small] mail quota, you can’t find them because they’re in your calendar?

At the expense of adding duplicate emails to my inbox, I’d rather have the message with attachment split off as a separate email that I could send immediately to my trash than a Calendar invite that I have to modify to save space.

Out-of-office replies only to original sender on an email chain

Out-of-office replies only get sent one time to a sender, but nothing is more annoying than having to reply-to-all on an email chain, only to get blasted by “out-of-office” replies.

“Unsubscribe” for email chains.

Imagine that someone included you on a email about a topic because they thought you were a stakeholder, or maybe that people are replying to all on an email list that has wide distribution and are committing all sorts of faux pas as part of their replies. Wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to reply with “unsubscribe” like you could do with listserv and magically have the email replies stop appearing in your inbox?

“Me too” for email chains.

Seems like 80% of an email chain’s replies are saying the exact same thing that someone else said two replies ago. Wouldn’t it be nice if Outlook could figure out that those were “me too” replies and tally them up for the original sender like the poll functionality can do and leave everyone else’s email clean?

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Here’s an Email to Justify My Existence…

“Stay tuned for another email on this topic!”

Nuvola-like mail internet
Nuvola-like mail internet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you ever find yourself thinking, “Gee, I don’t get enough email these days.” Me neither. Yet, it seems as though any time someone wants you to pay attention to something that they’re doing, they send out not only emails telling you about it, but also emails notifying you about upcoming emails.

I tune into TV series if I want additional suspense in my life. How many of those do I actually watch? Approximately zero, unless I’m coerced by someone else into watching them.

Regardless, I don’t want extra emails in my inbox, especially if they’re emails notifying me of upcoming emails. At some point, you’re going to make me train my spam filter to throw away all emails. Oops. Too late.

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