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I’m being driven to a life of crime

February 24, 2012

I may have mentioned it once or twice, but last week I travelled to Toronto for business. It’s been a while since I’ve travelled for my work, as it has been determined that many of the face to face meetings I used to have can now be done via conference call (I tend to disagree, but I don’t write the cheques).

But dire circumstances and all that, I packed my bags and flew out the door on a moment’s notice. I needed emergency approvals up the wazoo, and I got them on Tuesday, the day after my trip started (I’m a rebel like that). An interesting, and maybe too easily dismissed factoid was that this wasn’t billable to my normal management/brand/function, instead I’d be dipping into this project’s pot’o’money. Can you see where this is going?

Still, I’d cleared the approvals in record time. I was cocky, confident and figured I had it under control. Then POW! I was knocked on my keister on my return. It turns out that the second prong in their approach to discouraging travel is to make completing and submitting expense claims as baffling as possible. I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t see it coming.

I have struggled with providing the correct information for each and every item I’m trying to submit. For instance, I’m doing it electronically, and they have a full feed of my credit card. So once I figured out that they really were asking me to rehash every item they already had in order to submit my hotel bill, I thought I was rockin’. I had it licked, I was ready to roll on to mileage. So I clicked ‘paper copy not included’. Let me tell you THAT was the wrong answer. Apparently they really do still believe in triplicate. I changed that mistake lickety split and was off to mileage.

Where they foiled me again. I can’t sort out though how one database clearly shows that I have approval to travel via car to Toronto, (billable mileage) (up the wazoo remember) but when I try to submit the mileage in the expense db, it rejects it as executive approval is required. And yes I’ve linked them. There’s obviously a secret door I’ve missed. An office of extraordinary redundant redundancy as it were. And you’d think with a title like that it would be easy to spot.

But the over all kicker, and the one that’s really holding up the show is that I can’t figure out how to direct this to the correct, non-standard pot’o’money. The only choice I’m given is default billing. Except it’s not. I know that it’s not, I just don’t know the code words I’m supposed to be chanting. (Or maybe it’s that I’m supposed to stand on my left foot and face due north…) And, to be as discouraging as possible they don’t actually offer help. That little button, that lifeline are no where to be found. So I’m not sure who I can ask to get the correct info.

Now that I think about it, not only do they not offer help, but I’m sure someone somewhere is watching me stumble through these forms and they’re laughing their ass off. Yes, I am the monkey, and I will dance.

After going around in circles with these items for a couple of hours I decided it would just be easier to avoid submitting the forms and I’d compensate myself with stolen office supplies instead. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I have a serious, serious addiction to office supplies. There is nothing I love better than thumbing through a Staples or Grand & Toy catalogue, picking out all the pretty coloured items I need. In my darkest hour of desperation I calculated it out, and realized it would amount to well over a thousand of the pens I like. SCORE! I pictured them in every colour, by the hundreds. I may have needed a moment to myself.

Then I realized my company no longer supplies us with my favorite pens (or lab books, or…anything). Do you think if I cry someone will take pity on me? Otherwise I’ll have to resort to mice and keyboards, and I don’t have much use for hundreds of those.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2012 4:44 pm

    An un-named company specializing in Genomes…situated here in Quebec ( wink-wink) once kept me on the payroll for nearly 2 years since my specialty was Managing the scientists Expense reports.

    It was honestly cheaper to have ME come in 2 days a week and manage this, then for the hideous fall out of them attempting to do them themselves.

    • February 27, 2012 11:00 am

      I’d believe it! Also, do you have any free time? *g*

  2. February 25, 2012 3:13 pm

    I so don’t miss the days of submitting expenses. I wonder if you can expense the wine you need to drink in order to get through the filling the form process.

    • February 27, 2012 11:00 am

      I like your thinking there! I’ll need to add a pain and suffering line somewhere *g*

  3. February 25, 2012 4:27 pm

    I figure, if you already had to get the go ahead for this trip, you just need to contact those same people and say, “Hey, I’m having trouble with these forms,” and get them to talk you through them. Then, if they run into the problems too, they will know enough to get the designers to straighten out the mess. You shouldn’t have to waste so much time trying to fill out something so poorly designed. Good luck with that!

    • February 27, 2012 10:59 am

      Oh if only it were so easy! Of course the people that I had to get approval from have assistants who do that sort of thing for them, and they’re also in another country (don’t ya just love multi-nationals?)

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