Monday, June 07, 2004

OK, so, I spent a week in Washington DC. Not for pleasure, but for business. I was "volunteered" to help fix the train wreck of an instruction manual that was written by your tax dollars. Given to an outside source who knew nothing about the work we do, had never even seen the forms or screens we deal with on a daily basis, and who probably over-charged the government something fierce. All in the name of making a 150-page instruction manual "reader friendly". Reader friendly? How about we hire people who can actually read instead of those who have trouble with multisyllabic words?

But I digress. I was one of three people to travel to DC for this. We had pages and pages of corrections to be made, and they were read and discussed and scribbled. And I do mean scribbled. The person in charge of the whole thing was too busy sleeping at the table to write them down herself, so one of her equally competent lackeys hand-wrote it all in the margins. Despite the fact that this document exists as a computer file, and there were two computers in the room she should have been using to update all them there words.

So, we did all that. They made all the right noises, made all the overtures of writing down what we all agreed upon. Today, I received part one of the draft copy. We may as well not have gone at all, and saved the taxpayers a hell of a lot of money. Out of 30 pages of changes, I'd say maybe four had been incorporated. Maybe. I spent today adding notes to a pdf of all the things that still had to be changed. Suffice it to say that there were a lot of notes. (And this is part one. Not quite halfway through the book.)

I found out later that the version of the training manual we were sent to fix, one that has things that we literally can not do because the computer will not allow it, has been put up for the masses. That means that we are required to do things as that book says. Even though we can't. I guess we'd better start bending space and time, just for the sake of a "reader-friendly" document.

That's one week and several thousand dollars wasted. Why bother to correct the thing if you're just going to publish the crap version anyway? Why go through the charade of pretending to care, preaching that they want one document that everyone involved with interprets the same way, just to put up something that's the equivalent of instructions written in Kanji? (To non-kanji readers, of course.)

These are your tax dollars at work, people. You should be so amazingly outraged, it's just not funny. I'm a big advocate of the flat tax concept for one reason alone: it'll put a shitload of morons out of business, and prevent them from pissing me off. Sure, it's a selfish reason, but there it is.

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