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There I go again... - Peter Hentges

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November 12th, 2005

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03:43 am - There I go again...
We got a job in tonight that follows a particular underwriter's style. The job came from our New York office. It is to be output in both typeset and HTML eventually (though they only want the typeset on this first go-round).

I was given the job to set up and plan. This process takes a little bit of time, as it involves going through the job and marking up elements so that typesetters know how to code them in the correct style and proofreaders know how the style differs from our house style so they proofread it correctly.

I had a head-start on planning this job because we've recently codified all the underwriter styles. So changing the indents on paragraphs from two ems to two picas was already done for me, for example. As soon as I got it, I checked our system for collecting the HTML files and submitting them to the SEC. The procedure is that this system will have information put into it regarding what kind of document this is (so it gets the proper headers for the SEC) and what parts of the document match up with what parts of that definition. All that is supposed to be set up before it gets to us, but New York is notorious for not doing this part of their job so I wasn't surprised to see it wasn't done. I had my expeditor give them a call and ask to set this up as I got about planning the job.

I finished planning it about an hour later. I checked the HTML set-up. Still not done. I had the expeditor call again while I printed out tickets and paper-clipped them to the hard copy. It should take about five minutes to get the HTML set up. The expeditor returned to tell me that they really didn't care about the HTML and that we should just work it.

I refused.

I'd just put in over an hour's worth of work and we were going to put in more person-hours preparing the job and the customer service agent in NY can't be bothered to do five minutes worth of work? On top of that, our procedure is that we read the HTML on the first proof, whether the customer service agents want it output or not. This results in catching any errors that might crop up in the HTML and fixing them right away, not weeks or months later when we're being pressured to file the job by a deadline.

So I told the expeditor I was going to be stubborn and difficult about this issue. It happens time and again and I can see no way to push back the responsibility for this part of the process other than refusing to do the work. Without the HTML set up in our system, we cannot validate it against the SEC's requirements to make sure it's accurate. There have also been at least two jobs in recent memory where a short-cut in producing the typeset has caused an error in the HTML that wasn't caught. In one case, the job had filed with the error in place!

Well, my manager was called and I was set home for the night. I'm supposed to call HR before returning to work. Since I'm supposed to work Sunday night, I guess that means calling tomorrow to see if anyone is in.

So, from my point of view, I'm being punished because the guy in New York can't be bothered to do his job.

(To be fair, the one place I was in the wrong was that I threatened to undo the prep work I'd done when the expeditor was going to give the job to someone else. That was childish and petty.)
Current Mood: crankycranky
Current Music: 15 Beers Ago--Deaf Pedestrians--Deaf Pedestrians
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(2 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:November 14th, 2005 05:21 am (UTC)

Hang tough

Hey Peter,

Brett here, long time no see man. I happened to pop on tonight just to see how things were going. Sounds like kinda sucky. I have to say that I am proud of your tenacity. As you well know, the tendancy of everyone to just roll over and take it has resulted in corporate sloppyness. I think that your little stand here is a perfect example of responsible behavior (aside from your little threat to toss your work if they bypassed you). Advice? Maybe in the future being the one to bring the issue to the man in charge is the way to go. It sometimes seems that the first one to hoist the red flag in a hot situation has the advantage.

Hope things work out.

[User Picture]
Date:November 17th, 2005 10:35 am (UTC)

*sigh* To be fair, it might be said that your negotiating style could stand a little buffing up, but IMHO you were right and the expediter should have taken a firmer line with NYC CS. To pick a metaphor out of the blue, it was as if our customer had ordered a cheeseburger and our order-taker told us cooks to make a hamburger instead, since we could add some cheese later…

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