Thursday, May 24, 2007

Shocking developments.

I do not believe in psychic powers but I do believe that people can subconsciously absorb information about their environment. I spent most of my day reacting to something at the Help Desk that I just couldn't place. At the time, I merely thought I was tired and grumpy but, with hindsight I know know that the reptile part of my brain was recognizing the on the other side of my cubicle wall things were happening. There were managers moving about. Unscheduled meetings were being called. The environment was changing. Doom was in the air.

When afternoon came, We was finally let in on the secret. Several people at the Help Desk had been engaging in inappropriate e-mail conversations of a sexual nature. This had been going on for weeks and when the shit hit the fan it almost lost the Corporation's contract with The Bank.

At the end of the meeting when I had an opportunity to ask questions of the Corporate Overlord that was on site as damage control, the tension of my day got the better of me and I brought up my concerns over the inappropriately sexist postings of the Hand Washing Committee.

What I didn't bring up was the "I told you so" that I had warned Management two months ago about "a disturbing increase in talk reflecting homophobia, sexual harassment, bigotry, outright racism and general ignorance." I didn't mention that, when I was still the trainer, I would specifically cover the appropriate use of email and relate a true story of a Help Desk analyst who had stepped over that line and been fired within the hour.

At the end of the day, we hadn't learned much more than we already had and I asked a coworker if it had been anyone w knew. With so many new employees, I didn't know the comings and goings of most of those out on the floor and was curious if this was a lapse in training of new employees or some act of stupidity on the part of those who had been around for a while. I was shocked to learn that most of those involved were "old guard", those that should have known better. I was also astonished in the scope of the debacle, at least five and perhaps more (no wonder the contract was threatened). And finally I was surprised at the person at the top of the list:

My arch-nemesis: Team Lead D.

Well, not surprised. More like Claude Rains in Casablanca saying, "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in this establishment!" He has, on many occasions, said things without thinking. It was only a matter of time before he said one thing too many. I was surprised that this "conversation" had been going on for weeks and that he thought he could get away with it.

However, my joy that the one person most individually responsible for depressed morale at the Help Desk is gone so decisively must be tempered by the knowledge that we who remain are now all under the microscope. The Bank will be reading our e-mails and monitoring our web surfing, looking for any infraction they can find. Any excuse could well be used to send us all packing.

I believe it will be a long time before the Help Desk returns to anything approaching normalcy.

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