frustration by e-magic
I glanced at my watch, it was 11:35pm in Singapore. I wondered how she had ended up doing that lonely job in the middle of the night and whether all her friends from Uni were at this moment in a crowded bar at the harbour enjoyng chilli crab and beers. I resisted the impulse to ask her what time she got off that evening..
"Do you have authority to hire software developers", she asked.
This was a trick question, of course, but I wasn't born yesterday.
"No, I don't have the authority", I replied, evenly, "I'm only a level 7B. No, what I want to do is raise a request to hire a software developer; which will route to my Global Department Head to authorise"
"But has your Global Department Head", she countered, "given you prior authorisation to make this request?"
I paused and considered this carefully for a moment.
"I'm going", I said slowly, "I'm going to say: 'yes' " (I'm good)
We stared the whites of each others eyes 2 for a moment or two, sizing each-other up..... and she blinked:
"Very well, then: in order to raise a requisition you have to use the I-Buy system"
"I thought that might be the case, but I am not an authorised user of I-Buy"
On my screen I watched the Project Phoenix count-down clock flip over: 10,944 hours until we go live. I had wasted the whole of hour 10,945 on this.
Over the phone I heard a bleep and I wondered if my young interlocutor was allowed a cell-phone in the call centre - were her mates at the bar at this very second tweeting her photos of the crab she was missing? Or was there a boyfriend texting patiently at home, and english lessons, and proud parents and a dream to one day move to Manhattan? Did she yearn, I wondered, did she yearn, in that lonely call centre late at night for a job that made a difference? a job devoid of pointlessness, a job that contributed something measurable to the company for which she worked?
"Can you give me.."
"I'm not authorised to give you I-Buy authorisation. You need to complete a request for I-Buy, which will be routed to your manager to approve"
"So .. I make a request... for the authority... to make a request?"
But I knew not to push it any further; and I sighed, and clicked on the link she had already emailed me.
1 Press 1 for Technical Support, Press 2 for Building Maintenance Press 3 for Human Resources... 3 ..... You have pressed 3, Human Resources. Please don't press 3 unless your need is urgent.
2 Yes, that's right - we were on the phone. It's a metaphor.