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A new day (Part 2) or Answers to some questions

I dedicate this post to Karem hoping that I would be able to answer some questions about Angie.

Angie’s last week at the office was very long. She had to take care of some unfinished issues that had been dragging for the last couple of months. She had to deal with several offices and coordinate with several persons from within the Beautiful University of Heaven and from outside the university. And every day, new issues materialized, some were easy to handle, others demanded more work, more follow-ups, more patience and of course, more time. There were one issue that had been dragging since last November. What is this issue? And why was it taking so long? Was it the Middle East peace process? Or some complicated unreal ungrounded problem that needed planning and some additional mental and physical strength?

Umm… actually no. It was a very easy and straightforward issue that could have been handled in a few days but it dragged for so long that Angie was so disgusted of the whole thing that she didn’t feel like doing any follow up. The issue I am talking about is about 10 bookshelves that the department in which Angie worked, wanted to acquire for a room in their basement. Angie wasn’t excited about the whole thing, because she knew that no matter how fast or how accurate, she would arrange to get the bookshelves, no one in her department would notice her, or her work or anything. Simple words like “thank you” or “good job” or “congratulations” were missing lately in the vocabulary of the people she worked for. Suddenly those simple but very powerful words were useless for those people. It seemed that those same people were taking things for granted and sometimes they were dumping things on her knowing that she could handle anything. I guess they knew that she could handle anything but they definitely missed seeing her as a young ambitious hard working person, and I also guess that this was one of the things that pushed her to apply to another position and to seek desperately to leave this department and this windowless office.  And on top of all that, she dreaded the process that she would have to follow in order to get the bookshelves and install them in the basement. The room in the basement had some large heavy boxes that contained old maps, old books and old magazines that have been hanging in there for at least the last 7 years.

Back in November, when she filled the requisition online (yes, online… hahaa… that’s a new procedure she had to follow to order almost everything for the department at the Beautiful University of Heaven), she had no expectations and she didn’t give this issue any thoughts whatsoever. She filled the requisition online and the online system sent it to her boss –online – for approval, and sent it again to two other people –online – for approval. One of the approvers took almost a month to approve this requisition. When after a couple of weeks of submitting the requisition Angie noticed that it was pending the approval of this one particular person in the hierarchy of approvals, she decided to contact the person by telephone and to inquire about the status of this particular requisition. Angie – who isn’t a pushy person by nature – tried to ask politely about the status of this requisition but the person who answered her told her clearly that the issue is being taken care of and that the problem was that there were no fund to cover this requisition. The person who answered her was angry and Angie felt weird later when she wanted to do any follow up on this requisition. So she waited and waited and waited patiently for this requisition to get approved and for it to get from one office to another and from one person to another. She had a sad bad feeling each time she opened the online requisition system and looked at the status of this requisition. The approval hierarchy of 4 persons must have taken at least 2 months to approve this requisition. (TWO MONTHS???? But I thought that the online requisitions were supposed to be fast, to the point and accurate? I thought that moving from the snail mail, old fashioned process of ordering items manually- which used to take several days to travel from one office to another- to the new online system would fasten several things. I thought that it would avoid losing papers and consuming more papers. But I guess I was wrong and Angie’s issue is the best example to illustrate that).

So what happened?

About a month ago, Angie decided to take things in hand. She had a look at the online requisition and to her surprise, it was finally approved. The requisition finally moved from the approval hierarchy to some other people that she wasn’t sure who they were. One thing she was sure of, this requisition would land somewhere at the purchasing department and from there it should reach the company who makes bookshelves. So Angie on a fine … morning (I was about to say “sunny morning”, before I realize that Angie had no window in her office and therefore she wouldn’t know if it was a sunny day or a gloomy rainy day). So Angie decided on a fine morning  to contact the purchasing department and to inquire about the person in charge of this requisition. The sleepy assistant who answered her call, told her to contact Mr. Malcom. And this is what Angie did, she dialed his number and waited for answer, but the phone rang and kept ringing for a while with no answer. When after about 30 minutes, Angie called the assistant to ask about Mr. Malcom she was told that he wasn’t at his desk and that he had an urgent meeting, she advised Angie to call him back in a few hours. So Angie tried again and again to reach Mr. Malcom by telephone but with no luck. ( I am not here to suggest that employees at the Beautiful University of Heaven are never present to answer their telephones, I am just relating what happened with Angie. Thinking positively, the man should have left his office only a few seconds before Angie’s calls, he must have left for an urgent meeting, a short visit, his lunch break, or an urgent call…). But Angie didn’t lose hope that day and she decided late in the afternoon after trying numerous times to call Mr. Malcom, to send him an e-mail. She knew that he received her e-mail and she also knew that her e-mail was displayed on his screen the next day early in the morning. ( How did she know? She had activated something in her inbox to allow her to receive a notification when an e-mail she had sent to anyone was received and read or at least displayed on screen). And Angie waited patiently for an answer.  She didn’t want to be pushy, she thought of allowing the man to take his time to contact the company and to get back to her. After all, she thought to herself, Mr. Malcom is mature enough to do his job, she doesn’t have to follow every step and to do everybody’s jobs. But the answer never came. She waited for a day, than for two days and finally on the third day, she decided to contact Mr. Malcom again by phone to speed things up. And of course, she couldn’t reach him, she tried several times at different hours, and again she couldn’t reach him. She even left him a message with the Purchasing Department’s assistant. So again on the next day, she sent him a “gentle reminder” by e-mail telling him that she tried to contact him by phone several times with no luck. And then suddenly, after a few days, and during her launch break, Mr. Malcom called and he left her a message.  he asked in his massage that she contacts him as soon as she reaches the office. And again, after several attempts, she managed to her surprise to reach Mr. Malcom who asked her about the bookshelves, about their size and whether a “professional” had taken their measurements. Angie assured him that she – herself- took the measurements and that she would be more than happy to send Mr. Malcom the small sketch she made for the room and for the bookshelves. She even assured  him that she would be delighted to assist a “professional” in taking the measurements. The bottom line is that she sent Mr. Malcom by e-mail a copy of the sketch she made.

And she waited again, and called Mr. Malcom again several times. At times, she even wondered how anything  is ever accomplished in this institution…

(ummm… that’s a long post. I will stop now and continue in part 3. Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it 🙂 I will be  looking forward to hearing from you 🙂 have a great day :))

(By Zeina Gabriel)

A new day … (Part 1)

A new day… (Part 2) or Answers to some questions

A new day… (Part 3) or the last day in the office

A new day…( Part 4) or the last Thursday in the office