Almost everything you do in your personal life is useful, even if it's just relaxing or spending time with your family. But if you have a white collar job, almost everything you do for your so-called work will end up being a waste of time in the long run. Obviously if you are a carpenter, most of your nails serve a good purpose. But white collar jobs are mostly about wasting time, with the hope that sometimes, rarely, something good will happen.

If you have a white collar job, leave a comment telling me two things:
  • (1) What is the next WORK item you expect to do.
  • (2) Tell me why it's probably going to be a waste of time.

Resist the urge to say "Eat a donut" or "read Dilbert comics." Tell me the actual work item and why it probably makes no difference in the long run.

This will either be sad or funny. I'm not sure.

[My blogging software doesn't allow me to do numbered lists that don't look stupid.]

Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +11
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+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 26, 2009
Regarding the catbert T-Shirt, I vote for the last one..."Your efforts and your rewards are no longer related.". At JPL, we are constantly given the statement from management that our employee evaluations are not used to establish our adjustments in compensation for our work efforts!
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 26, 2009
I'm an IT underling - I get handed the undesirable projects and the Gofer items

1.) I will either get a user out of an order they locked themselves into, or unlock their account, or set up an account for a customer on our online order site.
2.) The users will just get themselves stuck again in a few hours; the customers will forget their username/password and call me to get them reset.
Mar 26, 2009
Just got an e-mail from my boss asking for me to provide the following items to him by this afternoon:

Project Organization Charts and responsibilities
Project Plans
Project Schedules
Project Financials if applicable (P&L, Invoices, Expense Reports, etc.)
Issues/Action Items Logs
- Formal and informal issues
Risk Logs
Change Control Log
Project and Status Reports
- Project knowledge reporting
- Reports to account team, transformation, customer, etc
Resource Schedules and Requirements
Project Repository/Share Point
Management of Subcontractors

He needs to "make sure I'm following established company processes." It'll take me a couple hours to dig up this information and put it together in a readable format. A couple hours that could be used to do something useful.

The worst thing is I know he won't even look at it.
Mar 26, 2009
I think teaching is a satisfying career despite the always complained about low pay because most of what a teacher does matters in some small way. Grading, preparing a lesson, meeting to discuss curricula etc all have an impact on students.
Mar 26, 2009
1. Personal development plans for the team, the results of which reward is based upon.
2. Even the person selling us the system said to get better than standard reward you would have to be wearing you underpants over your trousers
Mar 26, 2009
1. I work for a IT consulting firm, my next task is to create false data that will break some processes and run a batch job to see if it was able to fix it
2. It's a waste of time cause we have logic that takes care of this somewhere else and the batch job itself is so buggy. Meh ....
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 26, 2009
I'll spend hours making some marketing collaterals and just about when it will be ready for print, I'll be told to show some 'other' options.
Mar 26, 2009
I'm in IT as well, so a password reset most likely. It's a waste of time because most of the people calling will have intentionally locked themselves out of their account so they can waste a few minutes of time calling me instead of calling a customer.
Mar 26, 2009
1. I'm working on a system that takes the XML that defines assessments and assessment reports, reformats it (I call it the JAIS Prettifyer) and spits it out as a PDF so that the project manager can see a pretty formatted page instead of raw XML.
2. I'm doing this with an xslt which means she could get the info in the exact same format just as easily by just opening the file in internet explorer.
Mar 26, 2009
Well, now I'm waiting for feedback to see if the application we're supposed to test will be available to test (we're waiting for the Gov't administrators on the system to issue/authorize passwords) and it's useless since they are all at meetings (with our bosses) and won't respond until next week, after our deadline. So the next useless thing will be to write up the report explaining why our testing isn't complete. And I'm not supposed to point fingers at them, but how do you explain no access without stating the reason!?
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 26, 2009
I work in IT and a lot of what I do involves resetting passwords for end users. What a complete and utter waste of time when they could enable a "forgot your password" link.
Mar 26, 2009
I will probably spend the next hour or so explaining to customers that we are very sorry for the hardware failures that we had in our datacenter yesterday and that our vendor is really at fault. Then I will say lots of re-assuring things to convince them it won't happen again, even though we don't understand the problem and it probably will happen again and we all know it.

I am fairly sure this has no value. Do you know of any available carpentry job?
Mar 26, 2009
Now, a more interesting follow up question would be: "what could you do instead that would make a difference in the long run?"
Mar 26, 2009
I'm a tech at a media company. I spent all last night waking up at hour intervals to move mailboxes from a hard drive on the server to another hard drive on the same server, in order to free up some disk space. Disk space is the cheapest thing in the universe now, btw. I'm still working on it at work right now and for the next hour. When I'm done, I'll have reclaimed maybe 20 GB of space. We're doing this because they allow people to have unlimited amounts of mail here, which means people have 2-10 Gigabyte mailboxes.
During on of the moves, I checked one of these ginormous mailboxes out. 10,000 spam messages the manager didn't delete, something like 100 cute videos, etc.
We're doing all of this so the mail server won't crash. We're getting a new mail server in a few months with more drive space. We could fix all of this if we implemented policies that forced people to clean the crap out of their mailboxes, but no - that goes against 'company culture'. I'll be working on this all day, probably.
The first actually useful beneficial thing I do today will be after work, when I take a nice 2 hour walk home through manhattan to unwind and get some exercise.
Mar 26, 2009
My next work item is to figure out who is responsible for granting access to one of the company's 1000s of collaboration sharepoint sites now that the last guy has been laid off. I need access granted to the next sharepoint so that I can copy the files into another sharepoint that a different group of people have access to.

It will probably be a waste of time because no-one ever bothers checking the sharepoint sites anyway, because they never have access rights, and therefore give up on the collaboration tools and just maintain departmental USB memory sticks with all the latest files on.

I don't think that this is funny - I think it is sad.
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 26, 2009
1. Use the internet to research how many employees a cohort group of "competitors" have in a given department for comparison purposes.
2. The results may or may not be included in a major project. If they aren't included I could just make up the data; if they are included it will be obvious to all that I made it up.
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