Archive for June, 2009

We Interrupt this Series

Yes, I have an update on my progress with MediFast.  Yes, the news is good.  However, there are more pressing issues weighing on my mind now, and I’ve gotta release it before I go stark, raving mad.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT EXCEL?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

My husband thinks Excel’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.  When the proverbial gun is put to my head (that’s what it takes for me to use the damn thing; I never go willingly), I’d like to put Excel through the bread slicer.

I’ve tried for 15 years to make heads or tails of Excel.  I can’t.  It makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.  Perhaps twice in my lifetime, I have asked Hubby to create a spreadsheet for me.  No matter how complex and demanding my request is, in 10 minutes, he has a spreadsheet that does exactly what I want it to do, tailored to my PhD level of expertise. (Push here, Dummy!)

Today was a “gun to my head” day.  I witnessed something at work today that required an official report be submitted.  Guess what?  The report was a pre-formed Excel document–exactly the wrong format for something comprised only of words!  When I ask Hubby for Excel, it’s because I need to crunch numbers.  When the report is comprised solely of words (okay, you have to use numbers to indicate the time of day, but come on!), wouldn’t common sense dictate using a program named…oh, I don’t know…perhaps…”WORD“?!?

Oops, I almost forgot:  one Tenet of Truth learned earlier this week:

Why is it called “common sense” when it is all too rare?

Well, it turns out that if you access the incident report through the intranet, only one person on the premises can use it at a time; everyone else is locked out.  There were several unrelated “train wrecks” at work today; at least 5 people I know of needed to submit these forms for one reason or another.   So I started composing my report on a Word document with the intention of copying and pasting it onto the official report when it was my turn.

Finally, my turn came, and I copied, pasted, and…the whole text (about 3/4 page) wound up crammed onto one line of the Excel report document.  I called my boss (one of the authorized tech support people in my building) and asked what I should do.  He said “don’t worry about it; when you print it, it’ll come out right.”  Then I had all the info entered and spell-checked, and (based on past experience and the fact that the printer is a good 1/4 mile walk away), I did a “print preview.”  Guess what?  EVERYTHING WAS CRAMMED ON ONE LINE!!!

Well, that’s not really true.  Only the first line and the top half of the letters on the second line appeared.  The remainder of my report was covered up with blank lines on the form!   AAAARGH!  I start calling around, looking for a nearby co-worker who knows something about Excel other than how to cuss at it.  The one person who did was another co-worker trying to fill out the same report.  She was as frustrated as I.

All told, 3/5 of the staff in our department could not carry out a single professional duty the entire afternoon because of the requirement to have this TPS POS Excel document signed, sealed and delivered by the end of the day.  Finally, another intrepid co-worker in my department who was dealing with the same intransigent report form found a back door.  Apparently, the company’s internal home page not only had a link to the form of which none of us were aware, but it had a data-entry page comprised of simple, easy to use text boxes!  You just typed in your info in the appropriate boxes, clicked “enter,” and Presto Change-o!  The blinkin’ Excel report was done perfectly and ready for printing.

The frustrations of the day were legion.  We had to undergo a month of OJT before we could put in our first day on our real job, yet none of us ever knew that this “back door” existed.  Actually, what we were taught to use was the back door complete with creaky hinges, peeling paint, and rusty, torn screens.  What we weren’t told about was the ultra-modern chrome and glass front entry complete with automatic door opener.

All of us said at one time or another “If this had been a Word document, I’d have been done in (15-30-45) minutes.”  Doing this Excel aberration took all of us, working independently over three hours, in which we all had to get someone else to take on our normal duties.  An extremely inefficient use of company time.

I had scheduled a doctor’s appointment for this afternoon at an office 10 minutes away from where I work.  My normal end of the day is 30 minutes before the time I’d set for my appointment–no problem, right?  WRONG!!!  By the time I’d ended this Excel snipe hunt and got to my 109-degree car (that’s downright cool–the last three days were 111 or 112!), I had two minutes.  Wasn’t going to happen.  I was 10 minutes late and my blood pressure was 20 points higher (systolic AND diastolic each) than my last reading at a weigh-in on Monday.  Worst of all is that, as much as this day called for a beer or 12, alcohol is strictly verboten on this diet.  Not even one.  I asked my beer aficionado boss to please have a six-pack for me this weekend.  He said no problem–he’s going golfing tomorrow.  I knew I could count on him!

At least I have the weekend to recover.  I’m optimistic–after all, the way today was, I’ve got nowhere to go but up.


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