Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My shifty criminal mind

On and off I've been thinking a bit about Dr. No's criminal intent posting and what types of crime I might commit in given free reign. It turns out that I was wasting my time because Employment U has been thinking about this a LOT. I finally managed to get into the limited training sessions they have for issuing purchasing cards so that I could wield one and not have thousands of dollars of travel expenses sitting on my personal cards. I knew I was in for a treat when the Pcard lady put up her presentation and I caught 1 / 128 on the bottom. 128 slides to tell me how to use a purchasing card? How is that possible?

Let me tell you how. You spend the vast majority of that time telling people how NOT to use the card and the consequences for using the card improperly. It felt like I was in program for criminals being re-integrated back into society. How many ways can you be told not to make personal purchases on your university card? Well, I lost count after 7 or 8, but the message was clear - We assume that you only want this card to find a way to defraud the University. About halfway through I want to stand up and say "Well, if I can't buy precious metals (a specifically pointed out no no, BTW), flower baskets (ditto) or booze, why the fuck would I want one of these things?" and storming out. The only thing that stopped me was the prospect of having to sit through the whole thing again. By the end of the presentation I was expecting to see armed guards at the door to frisk us on the way out.

The moral of the story is that the University can turn anything into a bureaucratic black hole of red tape and paperwork because they need to protect themselves against the hardened criminals they employ. A Pcard is something that is supposed to make my life easier and make doing research involve less paperwork, and yet somehow there is more bullshit involved if I even sign the back of this insidious thing than if I just slog through things the old way.

I would write more but a guy just showed up at my door with a clip board and little cup.

9 comments:

  1. Hope you don't get stage fright :)

    Signed,

    One who obviously can't be trusted with a purchase card ... or filling in her own reimbursement claims.

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  2. My experience with the Pcard was wrought with frustration, disappointment, and a lot of profanity. The university would arbitrarily freeze the cards so you looked a penniless begger in the middle of a transaction on the phone with a specialty vendor. The purchasing reports would not be delivered until months later (as the asshats would not provide us online access to them), so keeping up with the accounting was a nightmare. I found myself weekly going down to the purchasing department to tangle with the cockbites and threatening to tear our their eyes and skull fuck 'em to death if they did not resolve said emergency.

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  3. Clearly, the first thing you should do is to buy some gold, roses, and martinis, then explain that you were testing the system for them.

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  4. Here's what really cheeses me off. As a grad student I (obviously) cannot be trusted with a P-card, despite the fact that I have my own research money and corresponding cost center accounts for two independent funding sources. Therefore, I have to put travel expenses for the conferences I attend onto my personal credit card, and wait two months for reimbursement from the account to which those charges ultimately apply. In the meantime, the balance on my personal credit card incurs interest and finance charges for which I am definitely NOT reimbursed. As a grad student, financial burdens are not something I can afford (literally) to take lightly.

    On top of that, the reimbursing folks play all kinds of mind-fuck about per diem expenses. Who dines alone at a conference? Nobody. Which restaurants are willing to issue split checks for a party of eight? None. Can grad students be trusted with pre-issued cash (from their own friggin; accounts) for buying meals at conferences? Absolutely not. So we takes turns buying meals, and the total meal expense for the entire trip that I submit is WELL under the per diem amount. But it far EXCEEDS the per diem amount for the given day that it was my turn to buy dinner, so I ONLY get reimbursed for the per diem on that day, and nothing on the other days when someone else bought dinner. Fuckers.

    Sorry for the rant - it just royally pisses me off that the persons who incur the most financial hardship for participating in necessary professional activities are those who can least afford it. We need a fucking student union with some teeth.

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  5. Fucking bullshit university bureaucrats earning their fucking extravagant wages. I love HR128 classes. I ask "those" questions to pass the time.

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  6. Change the .MAC addresses allowed on their office router. No more Internet for them until IT figures it out, and maybe meanwhile they'll get their work done.

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  7. Toaster, you clearly are not aware of how admin operates. If you took away their internet, they would hang out in the conference room eating donuts and talking about their houseplants while the crazed faculty who need signatures and shit by deadlines would give themselves 1000 paper cuts and staple their ass cheeks together, and lie dying on the floor bleeding until the janitor pushes the yucky mess to the space behind the copier.

    Remembering "the code" for the Pcard gets me every time. I look like a student who stole the damn card.
    jc

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  8. The relationship between admin folks and faculty is contentious pretty much everywhere. I'm pretty used to that and I try and get on the good side of the administrators who I need to get shit done. What bothered me about the training session was the assumption that me were going to run out with our new found "free moniez" and by gift for our loved ones, jsut because we now have a credit card and they can't pre-aproove every purchase. If the Pcard lady had put up one more clipart of a stop sign or stick figure holding it's hand up I was going to freak out. I haven't bought my cat a beedazled collar on state funds yet, why would having a creit card suddenly make me give in to that burning desire?

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  9. worthless plastic cardJune 18, 2009 at 1:59 PM

    To use my Pcard to go to a conference, I would have to send a fax to the conference organizing committee asking them to confirm that 1) I am paying the early bird rate, 2) someone else can take my place if I can't attend, and 3) the university will get a refund if the meeting is canceled. Big ol' pain in the ass.

    Oh, and I can't pay use my Pcard to pay for society fees or journal subscription because those have to be institutional subscriptions.

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