Monday, May 5, 2008

Dumb and Dumber

I made mention earlier (via personal communications) about our center’s secretary. For those I haven’t complained to about this person, simply put she is not the sharpest tool in the shed, not the most motivated, and overall incompetent. I am supportive of anyone who will at least “try” to do their job. However, when there are deadlines to be had, and they are feeding you lines such as, “I’m working 24/7 on this and you WILL hear from me today!” Today comes and goes, and when you check back they are surfing Facebook and your materials remain unprocessed on the due date. Not happy, not at all. Suppressing desires to yell, scream, and break things…

Recently, however, she brought my esteem for her to a new level. Before I begin my story a little background is in order. I interviewed for my current job during the summer, and during the time I accepted the position and began my current position I had my name changed. Now this secretary is new, and didn’t commence her appointment until well after I had already entered the “system” (e.g. payroll, the center, etc . etc) with my wonderful and exciting new name. She knows me as no one else. So why would there ever be any confusion, right? Wrong.

An issue arose during the process of renewing an important funding source. She needed vital information from each of us trainees to bolster this document and needed it ASAP. Since she took her time processing my important documents, I of course, being the good Christian that I am, reciprocated, “do unto others as you would like them to do unto you” being the quote in my head. I send my details back as requested on the deadline day in the late afternoon. Didn’t hear anything back about the information or the funding source, so I assumed my part was done in all this fan fare and I could continue with the everyday.

Now every once and again, I will check my graduate school email account to make sure no one is still emailing me there. It is soon to expire, so I wanted to retrieve some emails before it closed. This email address is under my former name and has my old university’s name after the @ symbol so when you email someone, they know exactly who it is from and where. To my surprise (chagrin) I see a series of emails from this secretary stamped “important, urgent, we need you to respond now!” etc and cc’d my advisor to boot. Irritated, I open one of the emails and see that she is writing me under my old name requesting the same information that she requested of me earlier. It is apparent she does not realize that I am one in the same person. Why my old name randomly popped up in her contact list for the funding source was a bit confusing to me considering I was completely processed under my new name, therefore making the old name a non-issue. Also, if I was indeed currently employed by The University why would I need to be contacted at another institution?? Perplexing.

To remedy the issue I sent the following email from my grad school email (names changed of course for privacy reasons):

Dear Secretary-

As you might not be aware, Jane Blotto and Jane Supersignal is the
same person (i.e. me) I changed my name upon my appointment at The University, therefore I have already sent you as well as this other person you told me to send the email to the requested information on April 17th from my "Jane Supersignal" account from my University work account.

Please do not use this account for me in the future, it is my graduate
school email account that I thought had already expired.

If there is any additional confusion, please do not hesitate to contact
me at:

Jane Supersignal

This should have solved the problem.

Approximately 5 min after the email was sent, I receive a phone call at my current lab from our secretary.

Secretary: Hi Jane, so do you know this Jane Blotto and how I can get in contact with her? Internal dialogue: Huh? Is this a joke? I did just send that email. Am I in the twilight zone, or getting Punk’d? Back to reality: no joke, she was serious.
Me: Um, yes I know her quite well actually. (stifling laughter).
Secretary: Well, how may I get in touch with her?
Me: We are the same person. At which time, I re-hash the whole name change and question why that name is still in their record books.
Secretary: This is a huge problem. Payroll needs to be informed b/c we have you down twice as on the funding source taking two slots. Back to internal dialogue: Really, I could have worked the system to get paid twice! Back to reality.
Me: No, secretary, I registered everything as Jane Supersignal the only confusion is created by you. (in as nice a voice as possible that could hide my pure annoyance that she is taking up my precious time considering what hell she put me through before when I had my own deadlines to meet.)
Secretary: OK, don’t worry. I can fix this, doesn’t look good but I’ll see what I can do. Internal dialogue: Since when did this become *my* problem. Do your job and leave me alone!!!

I hang up the phone with reserved irritation.

I never cease to be amazed.


Lil Kate said...

Wow. Obviously your email just wasn't clear enough. She can't read. I can't believe she had to call you to get the exact same information. I really wonder how she even got a hold of your old info???

LabTech said...

Maybe I should forward this woman my t-shirt that says "I let my mind wander, it never came back." I think she needs it more than I do at this point. Incredible. As I type this, on my bulletin board in front of me is a quote from the page-a-day calendar..."There are two things on earth that are universal - hydrogen and stupidity."..right next to the one from Kate's George Carlin calendar "Most people don't know what they're doing, and a lot of them are really good at it."

Dr. Who said...

Those quotes are priceless, so sad, so true.