November 7th, 2004

Hard at work

Being Stupid So You Don't Have To

I was hanging out with abrichar drinking some rather pleasant wine when she commented that she should really start buying some table wine. I suspect this is because the wine she buys, while excellent, is certainly not the cheapest you can find. I thought this was a wonderful idea, so I tried it.

I was at Trader Joe's (for those unfamiliar with it: it's a store for snobby wanna-be hippies like me) and saw that they had a store brand Merlot. For $3.99 a bottle. If anything screams "get the fuck away from me" it's a bottle of wine for under five dollars, but bottles don't have mouths. Grapes apparently have urethras because the bottle is full of grape piss. This stuff is nasty. It probably needs a shot of penicillin, too.

And reason #217 why my soon-to-be former job is my soon-to-be former job: SOX. Due to Enron, Worldcom, the Republican party and financial irregularities requiring monetary Metamucil, Congress has seen fit to inflict the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) upon us. While it's a great idea, some companies don't quite have the hang of it. Some companies being my soon-to-be former job.

In a nutshell, SOX requires that you have your financial checks and balances certified. Since our last auditors either quit or failed to have their contract renewed (depending upon who you ask), we've hired an auditing firm to audit our auditing procedures. They're telling us what to change so we can pass our next audit. Rather than fight with them, the company has decided to implement their recommendations. All of them. With a vengeance.

If they recommend that we trim our facial hair, the company will send out memos specifying the maximum length of our nostril hair. To be fair, most of those memos are handed out with a wink and a nudge, but certain individuals in certain departments have discovered that you can beat someone to death with a memo.

A programmer whom I shall refer to as Alice needs to be on the developer mailing list. Nothing confidential is on this list; it's just general information that developers need to know. So Alice asked Bob, the system administrator, if she could get on the list. Bob informed Alice that she could get on the list if she followed the new procedures.

  • Alice must get approval from her boss (a vice president in the company)
  • Upon her boss's approval, a change control request must go to the IT director
  • The IT director must approve the change control, at which point Alice is provisionally on the list
  • After Alice is on the list, the change control request goes to our QA department
  • Alice must send email to the list and QA must verify that the email was received by the list
  • If QA verifies the email, Alice retains her spot on the list. Otherwise, her request to be added to the mailing list is rejected and she must be removed and re-added until such time that QA approves

Right. I think I need more of the grape urine. Anyone want to save me and offer to share something more pleasant than grape urine?