Monday, May 07, 2007

So we are looking.

The other day, someone walked into my office and handed me a sealed white envelope, with no address and no stamp. A freshly folded one-page letter awaited within. I managed to contain myself until she left the room, then almost had a heart attack. Called the husband, and he went out to buy the bubbly....

It's hard to believe in this day and age when everyone is so hard-assed that I couldn't bring myself to say the words "We are going to haff ta let you go". After much consideration, I blame this on Karma. My immediately previous secretary was careful, considerate and helpful, and I gave her a lot of shitty little tantrums when I needed her and a cold shoulder when I didn't, so I suspect Karma built up and came back to bite me in the ass for 2.5 years, rendering me completely and inexplicably useless and impotent when it came to the next secretary and getting her to go my way with regard to work flow. And by "getting her to go my way with regard to work flow", I mean "even after written instructions and an office memo, there will still be a 'miscommunication' and things will be screwed up".

So now we are advertising in the paper for a new one. She has some big shoes to fill !!!

Bill Chasing

I chased a client to pay a bill, client says he never received it. I ask her to check the file to confirm exactly when that bill got sent out, and to where. End of the day, I get a carefully worded email response. "It appears that there has been some misunderstanding. The original invoice appears to still be in our file."

My response "We did not send out the invoice? Wasn't it signed off? Who did not send out the invoice? Doesn't it just need to be mailed out?"

Another carefully worded response "We did not send out the invoice."

My response "Who was supposed to send out the invoice"

Response: "Us".


One day I took a leap of faith, passed her 1 page of a Confidentiality Agreement, asked her to type in what I had written on the margins. It was a single, new "No Contact" clause. Type in 1 clause. Send it back to me.

What came back was a clause entitled "No Contract".

Months later, on another desperate leap of faith (time running out), I asked her to copy over text from a webpage and reformat it into a Word document. Half the document made it across. The other half I discovered later was missing in action.

When copying off the web page, she did not scroll down as I had not asked her to do so.


I forward an email and asked her to print all the attachments for my review. I am happy to say that 90% of the attachments made it into the in-tray. 10% did not. I asked her to double check three times, after which I asked for the last obviously missing document by name. She said, "I had some problem opening it, so I didn't print it."


In order to demystify the monthly billing procedure, an action timetable sets out on each day of the last and first week of each month what each staff member needs to be doing.

At the end of the last week of last month, I asked her if Step 1 had been progressed.


Step 1. Of the Billing Protocol.

.... I'm about to do it.



The other day, we ran out of files. As in, there were NO files in which we could physically file documents. Not a single one.

I asked her (the stationery IC) - have we ordered more files? Yes.

3 days later, I asked, do we have more files?

... Yes, I ordered. But they have not delivered. I will chase them.

2 days later, I asked, do we have more files?

.... Yes, I chased them. They were supposed to deliver yesterday. I will chase again.

2 days later, I asked, do we have more files?

.... Yes, I chased them. They were supposed to deliver yesterday. I will chase them ag...

I interrupted at this point. Since we are in Suntec, can you please walk down to the stationery shop/ Carrefour, and buy more files? Why are we waiting 1 week for a delivery? How many did you order for our whole office anyway?



At 5:00 PM, Blogger Indiana said...

WooHoo!!! It's about time. ~grin~

But now what are you going to have to blog about?

At 7:33 PM, Blogger ene said...

How did this (ex) secretary of yours get hired in the first place?! The last bit about the files made me laugh.

At 10:34 PM, Blogger The Mama said...

buahaha...maybe her mother dropped her on the head when she was a baby.

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Fiery said...

You are sooo patient. Har, You actually put up with this for over 2 years? Any temp staff out there would probably do a better job than this one with the head attached to the wrong end of the body.

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous dP said...

What's happening? I suspect I am missing the plot!

Have u been made partner and this secertary has nothing to do with your hubby ducking out to fetch a nice bottle of champpers????

At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

omigod. don't start, don't start. this is exactly why i quit working. grems.

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