Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Okay Then. Now What?

So, I've been in Europe now for a little over four months. I enjoy the organization where I'm working and the people with whom I work. It's a big organization and part of a larger body of organizations that are doing good in the world. Sometimes, though, I think because of the size of the organization certain procedures get lost and are egregiously after-the-fact. I'm not saying this makes the organization a bad place to work, but it certainly makes it amusing.

Case in point: when I arrived, I expected there might be some kind of new employee orientation program. It's possible that because I am here as a contractor such a function does not exist, since it would be silly or an inefficient use of time and resources to orientate a contractor who might only be here a few weeks or months.1

So today, I get a group email from one of our support service offices telling me that as a new employee I can take advantage of training and support provided by the IT department. The email welcomes me to the organization and recommends that I take the new employee orientation program to learn how to use my email mailbox.2

It then goes on to describe3 the orientation class for new staff and says,

"Our orientation classes are a program made up of three progressive steps. The steps are designed to cover information and topics most useful to staff in their first few months at the organization. These courses are held on a regular basis. In the past, new staff have told us that they regretted not registering for these classes shortly after arriving at the organization.4 To learn more and to register, please click here."

So, I click on the link provided and end up on a page that says this:

Introduction Program for New Staff, Part I

FOR THE TIME BEING, THERE ARE NO PLANS TO HOLD ANY INTRODUCTORY SESSIONS IN VIEW OF THE TRAINING ROLLOUT FOR OUR FINANCIAL AND AUDITING SYSTEM. The primary goal of the introductory class is to provide new staff with an overview of the work and functions of the organization.

So much for not having any regrets.

1. Hell, I can't even get one of the official, non-disposable drinking glasses that are issued to staff, because I'm a contractor. Whatever. I'm resourceful. I've just snagged a logo-less one from the cafeteria. Voila!
2. I've been here since May. It's now nearly October! If I haven't figured that out by now, I'm screwed. Besides, it's Microsoft Outlook. What's to learn?!
3. Text has been edited to protect the innocent! That would be me.
4. For some reason, a less-than-glowing review is often seen as an endorsement of how good a program is and why you should sign up. I don't know if this is a European thing or what, but I see stuff like this all the time. Sort of a reverse-psychology kind of thing. As an American accustomed to being assaulted by all the reasons why I should buy into something, this is sort of an odd take.

Photo copyright: Photo S.A.


Cele said...

I'm not sure it I am suppose to, but this post made me shake my head in weird smiles. It just figures. Bureaucracy, ya gotta wonder.

NG said...

I was at one job for TWO AND A HALF YEARS before a manager came to me and told me they had a "New Employee Orientation" class, but fully admitted she had ever told me about it when I was a new employee so could I please take it now because it was required. I quit six months later, so, you know... that was two days well spent away from my normal work duties.

Gilahi said...

I once took a required course and, a couple of weeks later, received my certificate of accomplishment that said, "This is to certify that Gilahi has completed Sexual Harassment for Managers". It pleased me that I had achieved sexual harassment and not only that, but at the management level. None of this peer-level harassment for me.

Wv: bersti - What Ellen Burstyn's friends called her at prep school.

Maya said...

Yeah, but I want my own drinking glass. Discrimination I tell ya!

Maya said...


Anonymous said...

Well, this has been a treat. Because of this post, I feel less incompetent at my job than ever!

Virginia said...

Well it's a French/Swiss thing that we will never understand... as hard as we try and you know I"ve tried. Lord have mercy girl. I'm just glad you two are still there and maybe, just maybe, I'll get back over there before you get thrown out, I mean terminated.:)
PS Personal drinking glasses? Well that is quite swell. Demand one!