How do I work within the system in spite of the system?
January 4, 2013 1:45 PM Subscribe
Corporate dysfunction and general structure is causing my job to be difficult, and sometimes impossible. How can I cope best?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In the fall of last year, I was hired to work at a large (40-60k employee) corporation. This is the biggest company I've ever worked for, having previously worked for places that were maybe 10-400 employees. I work in testing for a section of the company's services.
The test server that I'm to use for a current project is so unresponsive that I can't actually perform testing. My project manager is gone for holiday, as is my team lead, so I ended up fighting with Dev Ops directly for about two days to actually look at the problem. It was eventually looked at, but I missed two days of testing...
Some testing data has to go through email verification, but in order to do this the server itself must send the verification email, and since it's so flakey this process can take up to several hours, and I have swaths of test cases that I can't run, making my 2 day fight with dev ops moot.
I'm spending my down time writing pithy ask-metafilter questions and looking for a new line of work
I ran this problem by the person who is in charge of testing data, and he confirmed my problems and noted that it had been this way since he started over a year ago. I said that because of this I was not sure I'd be able to complete my project on time, which he responded with a knowing nod as if this was inevitable.
Indeed, much of my job is simply fighting the system in order to get any work done. Rarely am I simply given a task to do, I must contact several people (who then contact several other people) and wait for The System to respond in order to get what I need to do my job. This does not seem uncommon in general corporate culture, this may be old news to a lot of people.
I'm not used to the culture or the structure, and fitting in has been kind of difficult. My coworkers share a lot of my issues.
During the last project, I was asked to change my opinion on the outcome of a project, despite my experience to the contrary, because our department wanted to avoid extra responsibility. At the time I was really taken aback by this, but in light of the Dev Ops fight and recent problems, I can start to see why we'd want to not do any more than we can, there is so much dysfunction that any more work than the very minimum is simply too much trouble.
As my lead put it "It's all a game", he said, in response to my questions about all of it. He has been in the company for 10 years and said that despite his efforts nothing has changed. It was also at this same meeting I was reprimanded for getting lunch during deployment, I was out of food and had been working for 6 hours, but the expectation was that I sit at my desk during the duration of the deployment without breaks, which lasted about 10 hours. This was never explicitly communicated to me, probably because it violates labor laws, haha
I cannot help but feel like I'm in the middle of a Kafka novel.
So the long term, DTMFA, I think that goes without saying. Thanks to the Job Market, even an aggressive job search will take months, so in the mean time I need to do my job in spite of the organization. How do I do this? If you're in a large company with many layers, how do you deal with the large bureaucracy? If you cannot do your job due to the inaction of others, how do you cover yourself so that it does not come back to you?
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