Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sailing the Accountancy

So my only client these days is Save the World, where Amelia and Molly still spend their days fruitlessly trying to keep me from attempting to remove cookie sheets from the oven with my bare hands or mindlessly approving million-dollar requisitions for gummi bears for the starving children of Tyrolia. It's a nice, settled existence, and the routine of laying back and waiting for Amelia to bring things to me for a signature scrawl, while she good-naturedly beats me about the head and ears with a sack of oranges over whatever nonsense I'm spouting, is comfortable and pleasantly fattening.

Occasionally, though, my consultant mantle demands that I contribute something of a higher-level nature to world-saving. A thought, perhaps, or even a deed. And so I find myself in the midst of working on the upgrade of our accounting system.

If you're in business or information technology, you've probably heard of our accounting software; it's a famous make. The thing is, we're about five versions of this software behind, say, 1999. We're so far behind that you can run both the old version of the software and the new version on the same machine, because they don't use anything resembling the same files.

One of the promised upgrades involves automating a routine paper function that all employees of the organization have to undertake. This is being done in the most roundabout and burdensome fashion possible. I mean, seriously, I couldn't do this in a more kludgy and inefficient way if I tried to design it thus. The official response to complaints about this is to be, "Hey! You asked us to automate this, we don't want to hear your whining!"

I am the change agent for a large portion of the organization when it comes to deploying this software upgrade. I am being required to tell my beloved co-workers--including dear, sweet Molly and charming, self-effacing Amelia--that I am giving them a flaming bag of dog shit, and that the justification for this is, "Hey! You asked for a bag of dog shit! You didn't say it couldn't be flaming!"

And so we beat off against the wind, saving the world.

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