WTF #20: Damn Overseas Workers

WTF #20: Damn Overseas Workers

Those damn overseas workers. Can’t they do anything right? Why don’t they follow the rules? Why don’t they follow instructions? Why don’t they complete important tasks on time? Of course, from my vantage point in China, those damn overseas workers are Americans. Sorry to generalize. Rather, that damn overseas worker is an American. He’s also a fellow manager with a few brand new hires in China.

As managers, we are responsible to ensure that our new hires are equipped with an email account, UNIX account, access to various internal documents, a phone, and a computer on the first day. It’s quite easy. All we need to do is to spend 10 minutes on an internal website filling out some forms in order to make a formal request to IT. This manager has four new hires in China. Three arrived two weeks ago — without computer, without email accounts, without UNIX accounts, nada, nothing, zilch, zip. Not only is this a waste of money for the company to have people sit idle, it projects a really unprofessional corporate image to our new hires. I had to cover for him, calling on IT to provide temporary laptops and then asking them to create temporary ghost accounts so these new employees can do something useful. It took a lot of begging because it wasn’t standard procedure and IT should not be creating accounts when none has been formally requested. It’s a security risk. However, IT agreed, but also warned me this is the last time they’re breaking the rules for me. Looks like I’ve spent my political capital with them already, and these aren’t even my team members.

IT then provided a full week’s warning to this manager that another one of his new hires will be starting today and for him to please hurry up and fill out the official request form. I also sent two emails over two days to ask him to please, please, take 10 minutes and fill out the form.

His new hired arrived today. She has no email account, no UNIX account, no computer, no phone, nada, nothing, zilch, zip. She does have a lovely empty cubicle though. Perhaps I’ll buy her a Sudoku book to work on.

What The Flux is a semi-regular feature on that follows the follies and jollies of an engineer in industry, yours truly.


In my last 4 jobs I’ve NEVER had a computer ready for me on my first day (hardware, software, email account, permissions…)

I’ve grown to accept it 😉

I’ve been lucky enough to intern three times, each time getting my computer and everything set up on the first day. I can’t imagine waiting long periods of time for something that necessary!

The new hire should feel lucky to be there. I was transferred within the same company, different location. I spent 2 weeks in a small desk in the corner of a large office. The person’s office was four grade levels below me. I had no computer and had to borrow someone else’s computer. However, another time, when I went overseas, everything was waiting for me. Different people operate on different wavelengths. We are adults. We go with the flow.

Unfortunately, as a new hire I’ve come in to find zero resources available to me every time! From talking to others this seems to be a common experience. Worse, I’ve gone months without some resources. Makes me wonder why they hired me. At one company they handed me a broken laptop and expected me to fix it myself, so I could have a company computer. Then I had to hack my way into their network to create my own account (which was so easy it was scary).

In my current job I am supposed to monitor and administer several computer systems, but after being here for over a year I still do not have access accounts for several of them. I have to piggyback from somebody else’s account. Management seems to think that’s good enough. It originally took me six months just to get accesses that allowed me to do mundane tasks such as e-mail and timesheets. I thought that my supervisor would get tired of doing this for me, but he apparently doesn’t care.

Stuff like this not only hurts morale, it gets the wheels turning for finding a better job. How much churn in your company is self-inflicted?

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