December 17th, 2008

storyteller doll

The Holiday Letter

I was going to include my annual holiday letter here, but I write things to friends on paper that I would not necessarily write publicly.

The short version is that 2008 has been hectic and interesting. Same job, too many of the same unpacked boxes in the condo, same failure to rule the world. I traveled (including volunteering on an archaeological dig in Fiji and seeing lemurs and local festivals in Madagascar), walked, went to the theatre, watched baseball games, read, knitted, crocheted, and learned nalbinding.

And I blogged about an awful lot of it.
storyteller doll

Now I Get It ...

My company has implemented new travel accounting software. We have had to use this since about the beginning of the month. Actually providing some training or even a usable help file has not occurred to them. (My secretary, Susie, got about a half day of training, given by people who work neither for the software vendor who provided the product nor our corporate travel group. Some of what they told her turned out to be incorrect.)

My first experience with this software was this week, trying to do my expense report from last week. It was frustrating at best. There was a form our admin staff (i.e. one of the other secretaries) had made up, but it didn't include some critical things, like lines for entering hotel or car rental expenses. So I went over to my corporate office and had Susie enter things as I pulled out receipts for her. When it came to actually submitting the report, however, it got more complicated. First it was asking me to enter personal travel information, though I had no personal travel associated with that trip. Susie fixed that by unchecking a box the trainer had told her she always had to check, even when she specifically questioned whether it made sense. When I hit the "submit" link, it took me to a page showing the approval flow. It took me three tries to figure out I had to hit "submit" again on this page for it to actually get the report to the next level.

My boss has now approved it and it all looks fine, but it was majorly annoying. Allegedly, we are going to get training in March, which is late to need at best.

But I have now figured out exactly how this software will save the company money. It's so annoying that people will avoid traveling to avoid having to use it.