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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

There is no joy in Mudville, but the sun may shine tomorrow

My Rolodex at work.


Yes, I still use a Rolodex. Yes, I have two separate township email programs with a contact list and, wait for it, a calendar! I use a Rolodex. I bought this Rolodex twelve years ago, when I became township clerk. I covet the road super's Rolodex--it's round with a big knob. He's retiring December 31st, and I may get even with him by swapping Rolodexes.

There are twenty one cards before ABC. The first card is twelve years old. It has the township federal ID, its Duns number, the fax number I still have not memorized, the phone numbers to the Road Department and the Zoning Department because we do not have a central phone system. I checked that up once on the theory it would be more professional. But, we are grandfathered into some ancient contract at a third the price of a change, and that trumps "professional".

The first card was the only card preceding ABC for many years. Then, agency after agency began outsourcing its job--to me.

The twenty cards now between my "cheat sheet" first card and ABC contain the names of government entities I access online, weekly, monthly, quarterly, one annually. Some daily. All their web addresses are stored on the computer, and all the passwords, pins, and any other information I need to access the account are on the Rolodex cards.

So, twenty clerical jobs have been outsourced to me.

Some are easy peasy. Paying the federal withholdings takes me possibly five minutes, once a month, including confirming I actually intended to log out. Paying the state withholdings takes about ten minutes once a month. They cleverly hid a dozen or so minute "I confirm this is the action I want to take" boxes that must be found and checked in order to advance. Unlike the feds, they refuse to store the banking information, and it must be reentered each month. I don't understand their refusal. The feds blow off having gobs of data hacked; what's the state's problem.

Paying the local withholdings still has me asking What the Hell on every screen. I must prove I'm not a robot, just for openers. I can't get under fifteen minutes on filing this return. I won't walk you through the rest, the feds and their SAM and IPP and CCR (and I don't mean Credence Clearwater Revival), the Bureau of Workers' Comp and other twenty cards.

Back to the place I left yesterday, the young man who wants me filing and remitting OPERS electronically. I said to him "I will call tomorrow and we can set up the account and PAY the OPERS liability for August."

I called today, asked for the supervisor, told her about Eric's mush mouth and told her she could  walk me through setting up the account and making the payment. We set up the account. The instructions said an email was sent to the email address supplied; check it in order to proceed. The email said "In two or three days you will receive a temporary password in the US mail."

I did not drop an F bomb together with my true opinion of incompetence, and I cannot take it out on the grandkids, or go home and kick the dog or the cat, so the supervisor got cold, steel anger. "Eric said I could do this today and make the payment today." He didn't exactly say that, but he didn't disabuse me, either, and I was already loaded for bear. I repeated the sentence several times. She excused herself, and asked her supervisor, who said they could have a temporary password for me tomorrow.

Her sweet, well enunciated voice went on "But we can go ahead and set up your banking information today." I told her I was too angry to go on. "But we can still go ahead and set up...."

"Are you listening to me? I said I will call you tomorrow. Or not."

I'm thinking I'll just cut a paper check tomorrow. 

22 comments:

  1. Cut a check!
    I found a Rolodex faster than the computer, and i had one of those circular ones.

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  2. I love technology but somehow what was supposed to simplify life for us has just made things more complicated.

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  3. Seeing your Rolodex brought back memories :)

    It does seem like it would be easier indeed to just send a paper check.

    betty

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  4. Sounds to me like their system needs a good wake up call, whenever I do anything here that needs a temp password, I get it by email within half an hour.

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  5. Cut a check, Joanne! And I still have a Rolodex too, being very happy about that when my Galaxy gave up its spirits (exactly 2 month after having amortized..) so I lost all addresses - and was very thankful indeed to have them by writing.

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  6. So frustrating ! Sometimes, when the computers fail, Doctors have to use the old filing systems. It makes me smile.

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  7. bureaucracy at it's best. ha; if we have a solar flare you'll have it all at your fingertips

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  8. I still use an old fashioned ledger for the farm accounts - I do not have banking on line either personally or for the farm business. Give me the old fashioned way of filing any time - much less frustrating as the only mistakes one has to deal with are one's own.

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  9. Hari OM
    This is a prime example of how standardisation rules in the computerised world; no room for individual variation or lateral thought. I don't have a rolodex, but do have 'a little black book'... am enough into technology never to trust it!!! YAM xx

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  10. I kept my rolodex at work until I retired. Quicker and easier than trying to get info from your contacts app, that's for sure.

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  11. Of course,WE are all stupid...THEY know best.
    Jane x

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  12. Oh Joanne, I need to call the farm Mudville, even though it is the hot, dry season here presently. I still have a rolodex too. They are handy.

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  13. Your rolodex brought back old memories... when I started the job as payroll manager almost 40 years ago, all 350 employees' files were on a file card... in a cardboard file box.... their name, address, department, rate of pay etc. I'd manually (heck.. write with a ball point pen) enter their new rate of pay or other changes on the card. When I left that job 18 years ago there were over 500 employees... all on a computer pay system. Wonder what happened to my old file box? Hadn't thought of that in years.....

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  14. Oh, these incompetent boobs. That would make me angry, too.

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  15. Ha, I can appreciate your pain. I hate when I have to call anywhere and punch in numbers and the change that comes from getting set up online to make my life easier is often much too painful. As to a Rolodex? Masterful inventions.

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  16. Oh my goodness. I would have filled her ear with a string of obscenities I'm afraid. I admire your patience. I do not understand this kind of bureaucracy. And to call and get electronic voices which switch you from one area to another and I am ready to explore before the 'real' person even gets on the phone.

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  17. I sincerely sympathize with you. This sort of thing happens to me all the time. I hate the run-around of just trying to do what I am supposed to do. And because it happens so often to me, a lot of people think I am the irresponsible one.

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  18. The battle between paper and computer has just begun, I think. So much time is spent trying to locate, sign in, etc., when I can open my journal and find it in minutes.
    Oh, Grandma...you are so old-fashioned, Lily has told me.

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  19. I do like the look of your Roladex -- much more interesting than data on a computer -- full of personal history, too, I'll bet. Here in the UK they sometimes mention doing away with checks altogether!!! Not to mention cash money....

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  20. I have three Rolodex boxes with covers. Holler if you need one.

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