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we fear change November 17, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Observations.
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Employees fear change. Even those who work in IT or web development. No one wants to do things in a new way; they just got used to the old way. It’s like a baseball glove; you get a new baseball glove and you hate it for about a week. It’s stiff, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s far too hard to close your hand around the ball. So you oil it, you cram it under your mattress, you sit on it, you do whatever you can to loosen it up until it becomes easier to use. Then, after a few months, it’s like you’ve been using it all your life.

At CorporateSpeak Headquarters, a sharepoint was recently implemented, replacing the intranet we used to have. An e-mail was sent out the afternoon before it happened, and for most people it seemed seamless.

Most people.

CorporateSpeak Headquarters is a 24-hour business. It just is. No one knows what we make — except for meetings; we’re a meeting factory, pretty much — but we’re open 24 hours. The people who come in between midnight and 8am apparently choose not to read their e-mail. Instead, they show up, turn on their computers, and have no idea how to access the company’s webmail system. They can’t take three minutes to look at the sharepoint and find the link — which is above the fold — and then click it*. No, they have to start with the whining and complaining about how the old way was better and they’ll never use the new way if they can help it.

They will. Eventually. But not without making life miserable for everyone who has anything to do with computers — web developers, web-savvy content producers, IT guys, engineers, anyone who possibly could have anything to do with this change. I came into work today and was greeted by one of my co-workers being assailed by someone in another department. My co-worker helped him, but it’s not my department’s job to solve problems with the sharepoint. There’s one person in this building who’s a sharepoint developer.

Of course, that person is my direct supervisor, so it’s assumed that I know something about the sharepoint. Which I don’t. I can use it just fine, but I’m not a sharepoint developer. But if you can’t figure out how to get to your webmail after working here for more than a decade, and if you don’t use POP e-mail in the office like a normal person, then why are you here? In any other industry, a person who complains about something as menial and stupid as this would be either laughed at or dismissed outright, but at CorporateSpeak, these people are coddled.

It’s very frustrating. But in this industry (and no, I won’t tell you what it is; have to protect my semi-anonymity somehow), dinosaurs are coddled, not kicked out.

Yes. We fear change.

* I’ve been told that the link to webmail doesn’t work on certain computers. Regardless, if you don’t know how to get to webmail without a direct link, you don’t belong in the corporate world.

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