I have decided that this image (The Scream by Edvard Munch) is a perfect representation of how the past week has gone for me from a work perspective.

The people who are normally rational, sane, logical, and reasonable are all being crazy.  Their ideas are not well thought out.  When they should be stressed, they are relaxed.  When they should be relaxed, they are stressed.  You can’t get a coherent communication from them.  It has been odd.
The people who are normally wacky and illogical are acting normal, sane and logical.  Where they normally have unreasonable demands, they are being very reasonable.  They are freaking out about the right things.  They are overall acting normal.
And the things that just always work, have stopped working.  We have an application that runs a nightly process that has suddenly had failures where nothing has changed.  (Some of this is related to Murphy’s Law – “if anything can go wrong, it will” — as we are at the end of our quarter where we can’t have anything fail.)  The way people who are normally sane are reaction to it has been troubling.  
Today’s fun is centered around a few things.  The first is my favorite task – SOX auditing.  I have someone on the team who has decided to destroy the information that would give us the evidence to “pass” the audit testing.  Why he suddenly decided to do this? I have no idea.  I know it wasn’t deliberate – and I work in IT, so it isn’t financial related.  I suspect he was just doing “clean-up” without thinking about the larger consequence of his “clean-up” effort. So, I had to polish off the 2×4 to be used as a communication device, apologize to his peers who will be the ones hit with the retesting, and forewarn upper management.  I should point out that the “failure” is nothing to be concerned about – we will pass it in December when they retest.  It is more of a frustration that we have the issue to begin with.  Great way to start the day!
Then, I had to deal with the stupidest request ever.  Europe is shipping to a new country for the first time.  Our systems don’t have said country in it, so our custom compliance software is not allowing us to ship it due to a compliance issue.  (It is one of the newly separated countries in Eastern Europe.) What do they want us to do?  Find and apply the patch by about 1pm today.  We pointed out that doing that would require an hour of downtime for our sales, inventory and financial systems in the middle of US business day.  We do a bit more research on the total amount of the order – $5000.  Yep, they wanted to put the US business day on hold for $5000.  I said emphatically NO.  Thankfully, there is at least one sane person in management who will agree with this decision, so I’m not too worried.  But, given the events of the past week, I shouldn’t count on it.
And my last fun thing of the day is learning how one group is trying to manipulate the process outlined for them to use in an emergency scenario.  Because they cannot evoke this process until the last three days of the quarter, they have deliberately delayed shipping those orders until now so that they can use the emergency process.  Now, not only is this order at risk of even shipping today, but it places the orders following the process at risk.  It’s like decided to not use the fire extinguisher for a very small fire because you really want the fire department to do the work.  Let’s wait until it threatens the building, then we’ll put the fire out.  Nice.
Stress does crazy things to people.  I totally understand this phenomenon. I also understand that running around like a chicken with your head cut off is also not effective.  As I explained to my “peers” (and I use the word lightly today), this is like a tied sports game where there is 30 seconds left on the clock.  The team that wins is the team that keeps it together and doesn’t fall apart under the stress.  Strategy, teamwork, and communication are the keys to winning the game.  Everyone has a job to do, they know what it is, they know they need to do it well, and they know they need to follow the play book. The minute people stop communicating and stop following the play book is the minute the game is lost.  But, then again, maybe I’m the crazy one.

What do you think?

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