Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On Maintaining a Sense of Humor at Work

I was having an IM conversation with my former boss (at what point will I just start to say "coworker"?) about some fun testing I'm doing at work. Let me just clarify: I am not being tested. Every time I tell my husband I'm doing testing at work he says "Don't you know how to do your job all ready?"

When we figure out a better or smarter way of doing something, or when we figure out how to automate something, we have to write what is called an LCR, or Lifecycle Request. I do not come up with these names. Blah blah blah, it gets approved, IT does their magic, and then we have to test it to make sure what we actually want to happen happens.

I'm going to try to describe what I'm testing in very vague terms because I'm really not sure what is proprietary (if anything) and what is not. We've all taken advantage of buy-one-get-one deals, or spend $100, get $25 off or whatever. If you stop and think about it (which I don't recommend--it WILL make you insane), you know the company isn't really giving away something for free, and if you've ever thought about accounting or bookkeeping, you'll know that they have to explain what they're doing somehow. Because you know that that free or discounted item does actually cost the company something, and you know that they mark up their stuff, you must know that they have to figure out what it really cost, and if they really made a profit, and the like.

In service industries, it becomes even more fun because it's stretched over a time frame. That free month of HBO deal actually costs Comcast something the entire time you're using it, but if you've signed up in the middle of the month, some of the freeness happens in the next month. And maybe it's a free three months if you sign up today, so some of the freeness is also in the next month and the one after that. And now you can begin to imagine the good times accountants have trying to figure out how to accurately and legally account for this sort of thing (it's a good thing marketing comes up with this stuff--left to their own devices, accountants probably come up with deals such as "if you sign up today, we'll send you a bill." Yup. That's gonna attract a lot of customers.)

So in a nutshell, that's what I'm testing. If we offer something to someone for free, it's only free to them, so what in the world should my company do with that amount? I'm going to call this product SWAG, as in Stuff We All Get. Technically, we don't all get it, but many of our customers do, so it's close enough. I was going to call it WTHDWGSAFF, as in Why The Hell Do We Give Stuff Away For Free, but that's really quite a mouthful. (Although Miss Piggy once threatened to SYFFITF to Kermy, as in Stomp Your Froggy Face Into The Floor, and I'm pretty sure he never forgot that acronym. I didn't anyway, although no one else ever knows what I'm talking about).

And here is the IM conversation about this (I've changed the names to protect the innocent):

5:47 PM Virginia
can I pick your brain for a sec?
5:48 PM A
5:48 PM Virginia
do you remember what causes someone to show up on the R2 report?
SWAG prorated
5:48 PM A
they were not able to match the adjustment code date with the purchase date
5:49 PM Virginia
5:49 PM A
that's it?
5:49 PM Virginia
yes...I'm testing SWAG credit
and I thought it was that we didn't know the equip price,
but we do, sometimes, so that didn't work
and D [the really handy IT man] taught me that in fun-report-logic-language NVL means that if there's no value for that criteria, use 0. so now I'm qualified to do his job...if only I could figure out SWAG!
5:51 PM A
you should start a company blog
5:52 PM Virginia
i actually have a blog.
i think i have all of two followers, including my mother
5:52 PM A
do you write about work?
send it to me
i wanna read it

Ok, so maybe it's not that funny if you don't actually know what we're talking about, or who D is (in case you missed the heavy amounts of sarcasm, I am in NO WAY qualified to do his job. I don't even know what his job is. All I know is that whenever I have a problem, there he is, Super-D, able to solve it! I'm pretty sure he doesn't get to sleep EVER) (however, I do see it as an open invitation to blog about work) but more to the point is that it never hurts, and frequently helps, to find humor in the most aggravating of circumstances.


  1. I have to admit, I followed almost none of what you've written here. I obviously still don't understand what you do.
    I would like to just mention that bosses *usually* aren't happy about office-related blogs, but I'm pretty sure you've hidden everyone's identity well (including the company).
    So thanks! You've helped me identify a reason to be grateful I'm unemployed! That's ... one!

  2. Hey, I'm one more follower! Guess who?