I used to dread Fridays at my old job. Friday was the day that my usual manager was off site at a branch office. It sounds odd that a techie would dread the day each week that his manager wasn’t going to be at the office. I, and the team I worked with, dreaded Fridays because on Friday was CIO make work day.
The CIO liked to micro-manage staff and seemed sort of disturbed when everybody didn’t look busy. The problem was, he didn’t seem to know a whole lot about computers and felt that anyone sitting glued to the monitor was slacking off in some way. The guy had come to the CIO position from managing an industrial plant as some sort of political trade off and didn’t seem to sure how to deal with white collar workers who sat at desks rather than running around a factory floor. Four days of the week our direct manager ran interference after he caught the CIO rounding us up to throw out a stack of boxes containing promotional materials that had been rotting in the basement for a couple of years. On Fridays, however, our manager wasn’t around. Fridays became “CIO make work” day.
Pulling everything out of every cupboard in our area, checking whether or not anything we had pulled out could be thrown out and then cataloging the rest. The task took most of the day and resulted in less than a desk drawer’s worth of stuff heading for the trashcan.
Going up to third floor where the HR department was to help them move their desks around.
Getting the IT department to help set up the boardroom for an evening party that was being held because the company had won a big contract.
Getting the IT department to build thirty bookcases for executive’s offices as the person who had ordered them hadn’t realized that they all came unassembled.
Of course all of these fun activities meant that the job queue was much larger on Monday morning than it was on Friday morning. Our manager was aware of the problem and had repeatedly asked the CIO not to assign non IT tasks to the IT staff. The message didn’t seem to get through. The only times that we didn’t get the make work was when our usual manager didn’t go to the branch office on a particular Friday. There was one Friday when about 200 new office chairs arrived down in reception. The CIO looked a little miffed that our manager had some meetings at the company HQ that day and we got to work on that job queue.
Eventually an internal reorganization did away with the CIO. Our manager was bumped up to the position and we still reported to him. We never had to spend an entire Friday assembling book cases again!