This is a humorous and sarcastic blog written by a paralegal in a mid-sized law firm in a mid-tier market. The goal is to share some of the pitfalls and foibles encountered in my own day-to-day experiences. Feel free to contact me at aparalegalslife@gmail.com with comments. Complaints, not so much :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How to Un-Manage

My latest spat with the so-called Office "Manager" really defines the concept of inefficiency.  What, pray tell, does this involve?  Work assignment?  Blood?  Satanic Rites?  Howling of Dire Wolves?  Oh, no, it's far worse than that...

Office supplies.  Not just any supplies, but Toner Cartridges.  Yes, let the horror of possibilities sink in for a while before I go on...

Our office, a regional one admittedly, has, for sake of argument, 40 employees.  (Hey, I AM freakin' anonymous here.  Not the truth, but the ratios still apply.  Don't like it, bite me.) 

The (alleged) 40 employees each have their own individual printers.  Also, there are 4 shared "Multi-Function Devices", the big units that can do mass printing, double-sided, hole-punched, stapled, sorted, etc.  Standard equipment for a reasonably sized law firm office in this day and age.

Now, imagine if the 40 individual printers consisted of 29 different models, each model requiring their own different toner cartridge.  Keep in mind that all of the printers were ordered AT THE SAME FUCKING TIME on the SAME FUCKING DAY.  By the Office "Manager".

Subsequent to that, try to suspend your disbelief, and realize that the 4 "Multi-Function Devices" were each their own seperate models, each requiring their own different toner cartridges, including color (which quadruples the number of cartridges, BTW). 

Do the math.  All of these machines were ordered at the same time, by the same person.  A person who has no concept that they will later have to order and keep in stock umpteen different toner cartridges, and keep track of which ones are in stock, while everyone in the office is expecting this same person to maintain enough cartridges to make sure nobody runs short.  This person also has NO FUCKING CLUE that when a toner cartridge runs out, that we can't waive a magic wand to get a new one.  (Cue Grumpy's signature eye roll here.)

In the last month, I have had 4 different machines run out of toner, and we did not have replacement toner in our office.  For any of them.  Because the Office Manager, who insists she is the only one smart enough to handle these things, DIDN'T FUCKING KEEP SPARES IN STOCK!!! 

In my ideal world, I would have ordered the same exact printer model for all the individual printers, and kept 2 toner cartridges in stock.  Use one, order another, still have a spare for emergencies.  If anyone wants a printer other than what I give them, they are responsible for buying the printer and providing the toner.  Period.  No.  Agrument.  Period.  (Go ahead, try and out-stubborn me.  I'm a Paralegal.)

The 4 Multi-Function Devices would all be the same model, and I'd do the same thing (2 of each color on hand, order another when you use one).  This also simplifies the problem of people needing to learn how different machines work.  If all are the same, then you only need to teach them once. 

I have spent my career as a Paralegal, finding the easiest and most practical solution to any given problem.  Yet somehow, all the lawyers I encounter continue to think we aren't management material.  Maybe I should start trying to over-complicate everything?  Is that the answer?


Fort Worth 9L said...

Your IT department must hate trying to keep the printers all operating. Drivers for multiple different printers on the same network? Bleargh.

Anonymous said...

As a paralegal and the onsite "IT" department for one legal area, I can say that I would be having fits. I always told the attorneys there was method to my madness of having the same printer in each office...so when Attorney X's printer breaks, I just take his laptop and hook it up to the printer in my office.

Keegan Albarn said...

I laughed my head off when I read this, by not through lack of sympathy. I worked in a place a few years back with the exact same problem. There were always some toners, but they never seemed to be for the model that ran out. Then there was the coffee. Don't get me started on the coffee...