Tag Archives: administrivia

September 26, 2012, 3:02 pm

It could be worse

Sometimes when things get overwhelming at work and I start humming my dearly departed father’s favorite song (“Take This Job and Shove It,” by Johnny Paycheck), I try to remind myself that things could be worse. I could be in the private sector.

I spent a couple of years in the corporate world between college and graduate school, in the typesetting department of a financial printing company. As nice as it was making $50K/year with awesome benefits right out of college, the main thing I got from that job was the firm knowledge that I DID NOT WANT TO BE THERE. This was 1996-1998 – exactly the time period that the movie Office Space was based on. I almost cried the first time I saw that movie, because it was such a perfect representation of how awful my job was.

Just a few of the many things I hated about that job:

  • Having to work overtime/weekends/holidays whenever needed, or else…

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October 27, 2011, 7:06 am

How to get people to respond to your requests

Disclaimer: Note that the title is not “how to get people to DO what you want” – obviously I am no authority on that topic. These tips are just for getting people to acknowledge that you made a request and increase the likelihood that they will do it.

Two gray tabby cats fighting

Pro tip: Catfighting is never a very effective way to get what you want.

I spend much of my energy trying to collect information: research reports, budget numbers, statistics on software downloads, names of people who will attend events, etc. I also need people to do things, like send out my press releases, give seminar talks, or show up to meetings. After more than a year in this job, I’ve discovered several things that seem to be pretty effective for getting what I want.

1. Never send your request on a Friday afternoon. It will get buried over the…

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October 4, 2010, 1:24 pm

Online training – seriously?

My university is getting ready to go live on a new online financial and human resources system. They have set up a whole mess of training: online self-paced training, webinars, and face-to-face instruction. In theory, this is a very good idea, and should avoid disasters when the new system goes live.

In practice, however…

Based on my administrative roles, I am required to do some of this training myself – about 35 “courses.” I have already done several of the self-paced online sessions, which were painful (“The Main Menu tab takes you to the Main Menu”) but at least I could zoom through them quickly. Now I am starting to do some of the webinars (and fortunately, I can just watch previously recorded sessions). I thought that the webinars would be more advanced somehow… but it’s really just a person reading a powerpoint.

And the powerpoints themselves – ouch. Here is some actual…

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