Thursday, November 17, 2011

Triple Whammy Averted

I mentioned the other day how everyone was freaking out about the e-mail migration this week, which officially went down after COB yesterday. It turns out not to have been that harrowing of a transition, and I give the IT department all the credit in the world to dedicating seemingly 100% of their manpower today to being physically present and visible throughout the office, checking and making sure that everyone’s new e-mail configuration is working as it should. No fewer than three different people stopped by my cubicle; I let the first one sit at my desk and run through everything and pronounce it correct, then told the next two I was good thanks.

I would in all honesty say that the transition wasn’t significant enough, because alone the way I had developed the impression that we were going to now use a web-based interface all the time for e-mail, when that turns out not to be the case at all. There’s some cloud-based storage going on at the back-end, and there is totally a website that I could go to and check my work e-mail remotely and see all the same saved messages in my Inbox I would see on my cubicle box, but Outlook the Office Suite program is still the de facto client, and I still hate it. Oh well.

On top of the e-mail freak-out, though, my government boss had decided late last week to finally start pushing everyone in our agency to make use of the online library which has been my long-term project just about forever here. That push, unsurprisingly, has been the source of more freak-outs aplenty, which I’ve been navigating as best I can. I expect the fallout will continue for weeks if not months to come.

And just to pile on atop all of that, we were supposed to have a safety drill in the office this week, too. We had a lot of fair warning about it, because it was going to be a little more elaborate than the standard fire drill or whatnot. All the employees at my agency are supposed to stock their own “go kit”. The government springs to provide a large clear plastic bag but it is then incumbent upon the employee to fill said bag with certain supplies that might be necessary in an emergency, including a change of clothes and comfortable shoes, bottled drinking water, non-perishable food, etc. To spell it out more explicitly, here is the hypothetical “go kit” scenario: terrorists set off a dirty bomb at Reagan National Airport, which I can literally see out the office window. The area including our office building would immediately go into a weird state of simultaneous evacuation and quarantine, and we’d grab our go kits and be herded out of the building and into some centralized field hospital where we’d probably have to surrender everything we were wearing and get some kind of decontamination chem-bath, then dress in our emergency clothes, put those comfortable shoes to use hoofing it to someplace far away where trains and cars were still allowed to run, and fortify ourselves en route with stale granola bars. The bags carrying these provisions are govt. issued and clear presumably for security reasons so that MPs at the field hospital could make sure no one was smuggling contraband.

I don’t know about you but that freaks me out an order of magnitude or three more than the possibility of losing some e-mails or adopting a new process for document management. But the drill ended up being cancelled (technically rescheduled but the future date remains TBD) so there was one less thing to worry about this week, which I suppose has been action-packed enough as it is.

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