Friday, August 10, 2007

The IT Meeting

I missed the meeting this morning. I ended up having a retinal migraine (I think just because it is so humid and these are sinus related) and couldn't drive early enough to get there on time. The story behind these meetings is a bit humorous - at least it was when I tell the lunch crowd and we get big laughs from it. I hope that it comes across in a post.

A little background on my job - I work at a hospital in the Finance department. I am the fixed asset accountant and I manage the depreciation and projects related to capital spending. I started the job in September of last year. The guy who was in the job before me was a huge slacker and messed lots of things up before he left. The job was vacant for 3 months before I started.

Background on the IT department - The IT department feels that they can do whatever they want in relation to just about everything. When I am setting up projects to begin depreciation, I have to check all of the invoices that were spent for the project to verify that they relate to what was approved for spending on the project. For instance, if the Radiology department is approved to purchase an MRI machine, I better not see a stretcher as a charge on the project. IT will constantly use money left over in a project for their 'other' needs. We also have a spending minimum of $2000 for a project or fixed asset purchase. IT will buy flash drives for $50 and pay through a project.

Are you with me so far? Hope so!

Also, IT will not 'complete' their projects. By complete, I mean request PO's, order the items, receive invoices and then PAY said invoices. They have some crazy policy that everybody and their brother has to approve the invoices for a project. What then happens is the projects remain un-depreciated because half of the funds aren't technically paid. So we can have equipment that is actually being used, but we aren't charging a depreciation expense account because IT is dragging their feet to get the invoices paid.

Can you tell that they tick me off yet?

Also, I don't think that in a Hospital, the IT department is the most important. It may be true in a financial company or insurance company, but in a healthcare facility, I couldn't say which department was the most important, but it has to be one that actually sees patients or makes sure that the hospitals are up and running on a daily basis. IT doesn't do that. At least, not the IT in my hospital.

Now, here is the deal with the IT meetings. I guess I should use the technical name - the Dsestop Council. (And when reading that, in your head you should imagine a big, booming voice with an echo. Seriously, that is how I picture them saying it whenever they do.) At the beginning of June, I was asked to come to these meetings. Even though they are at the butt crack of dawn the second Thursday of every month, I agreed. (I am NOT an early bird!) The day before the first meeting that I was supposed to go to, I get an email reminder that the meeting is in the morning. There is no other info - I don't know where I am to go, what I need to bring, just to be there at the un-godly hour of 7:30 AM. (Did I mention the 45 minute drive to work from my house?) I send an email to the person in charge (PIC) of the meeting asking where and what should I bring. She sends an email back and says where and nothing and by the way, "so and so was on the Council when he worked here." I wanted to say, "Then why did it take you 9 months to tell me that I should be on the Council???" I also wanted to throw in that there are a lot of things so-and-so did when he had my job that we don't do anymore because now things are done correctly. But I showed some restraint, went home and went to bed at 9 to get up and make it to the meeting on time.

(Man, this is getting long. Hang in there, I am almost done.)

So I get to the meeting and the PIC welcomes everyone and the 2 newcomers (me and another) and then spends 45 minutes explaining what the Council is for, why we meet, what we will do, etc. She probably repeats herself 2-3 times. Basically, the group is to review requests that come in for new IT equipment or software and we need to decide whether the request is legit or bogus. PIC makes a point of telling us that they don't withhold equipment and that the other employees just need to learn that if they ask for something from IT, they will get it. The whole time she is explaining (and her other IT people in the room jump in) she kept referring to us as THE COUNCIL. And I swear there was a very slight pause everytime they would say THE COUNCIL. It was as if they were talking about a great force or being or something.

After PIC explains about THE COUNCIL, they pass out the requests for the month and we begin reviewing. Now, while we all have copies of the requests, PIC READS them to us because apparently others can't read what is on the paper. On the 3rd request, PIC says, "God, what is she doing? Didn't we ask her last month if she was fine with all of her technology and she agreed? She is always asking for something." I guess this is where the 'ask and you shall receive' bit comes in, right? Nope, the IT people denied it. Then, PIC tells a story of how they were trying to replace a certain department's PC's and the department was hiding their old equipment. They had to search and eventually found it in a closet in a women's restroom. I am still not sure what this has to do with current requests, but I have heard it at each of the meetings that I have been to.

To me, these meetings are just a big joke.

So, after the first meeting, I was at lunch with my group and I started telling them what a joke it was and now the whole thing is that THE COUNCIL is like the Force on Star Wars and I am on the good side with the PIC being the leader of the Dark Side. A couple of the guys at lunch are always telling me to "Use the Force." We talk in Yoda-speak. They tell me that I should do the mind control and wave my hand at them and tell them, "you will approve this request." And that I should talk in Yoda-speak to them because they should understand it and just to see how they react. One guy will hum one of the Star Wars songs whenever I say 'Council.' We have debated who is the better leader - Obewan or Captain Kirk. We talk about going to the Jedi training school and I have to keep telling one guy that he keeps failing because he can't control my mind.

There are 5 of us who eat together all of the time and whenever someone else sits with us, we always end up on this topic and crack ourselves up and laugh hysterically and then the odd person won't eat with us for a few weeks.

The first day that we talked about the Yoda-speak, I was walking to a printer and almost ran into an admin assistant who doesn't eat with us. She said, "Oops! Walking too fast I am." And that was the day that we had talked about speaking only in Yoda-speak at my next Council meeting. We laughed about that at lunch for days!!!

OK, I guess it is getting late because I am not thinking of all of the things about the meeting that we laugh about. :( Hopefully, I didn't bore you all too much.
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Friday, August 10, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by SewAndSnip
I loved your story. I hate meetings because where I work nothing ever gets accomplished at them. May the force be with you. Cindy
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Friday, August 10, 2007 - Laughed my ass off!
Posted by born2quilt
Jill, I read every word and laughed out loud. My husband is a tax accountant and he tells me many stories. He works for a major privately owned corporation and is the lead tax manager. I had to laugh when you were explaining all the details about THE COUNCIL because it just sounds exactly something that really happens. I loved your rambling, keep them coming. Thanks! Stephanie
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Friday, August 10, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by CountryQuilter
Your story is very funny! I hate meeting! That took me back to my old job. I was a financial advisor for the worlds largest loan/finance company(World Finance Corp). I hated those days... Kristie
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Friday, August 10, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by jillquilts
Great! I am glad that the humor came across! It was very late and I knew that I was rambling and I almost didn't post it just because I was afraid everyone would read it and think, HUH?
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Friday, August 10, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by 51050
I really got a laugh out of that! Don't you wonder why some people have to appoint themselves as Master Of The Universe? Big heads. Rhoda
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Friday, August 10, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Cre8tiveQuilter
Oh that is freaking hilarious!!! We do the yoda speak thing from time to time too...It's awesome. Those meetings sound insane.

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