Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Fudge Factor

It's Not Sloppiness, It's Guesstimation!

Just had a 2 hour go-round with the boss over record keeping. Apparently I either mis-keyed or just plain miscounted some data, and sent one report one direction, and another report another direction, and the bottom line figure between the two reports was off by... one. Yep, a single digit. Less than .25% margin of error, when you factor in the total amount of data involved.

In my last job, this variation was known as the fudge factor. You could fudge the numbers a bit, and in the grand scheme of things, it didn't really matter. When your facility is taking 120,000 customer calls a month, and you're billing the client for millions of dollars per fiscal quarter, if a call record or two gets dropped between the cracks, the world will not come tumbling down. We understood that, the clients understood it, even the bean counters and the auditors understood it, and all was well.

Such is NOT the case working for The Man.

See, around these hallowed halls, the penalty for falsifying information on official documents could very well lead to some severe penalties, ranging from simple dismissal to a vigorous prosecution, depending on whether someone gets a bug up their butt or not. You simply cannot make stuff up, and going back later to cover things up correct the official record just makes things worse. Just about eveything we do (from email logs to the post-it notes tacked on case files) is available to anyone knowing the magic phrase "Texas Open Records Act request"

In my case, we finally tracked it down to a case I'd closed out in mid-May, then re-opened on June 2nd when new info came in. My report to my boss was submitted on June 1, the one to the Grand Poobah was sent June 5th, and that one single case caused a discrepancy that was threatening the stability of the Entire Universe, and send all known existence spinning into the Timeless Void.

My boss tends to get wound up tightly about these things.

Needless to say, my disenchantment with this place is growing. It's bad enough to do grunt work for poor wages (a full 30% below market wage rates, by last count). To add legal liability to the mix just seems a bit much, really.

Sigh. Even a tasty pension & retiree health coverage seems a poor reward at times...