Monday, May 08, 2006

George Whitefield

I came across an interesting article in the bulletin at church yesterday: "George Whitefield: The Controversial Evangelist". If you have the time, I strongly suggest that you follow the link and read the full article- I'm only going to cite a couple highlights from the opening section.

"Because George Whitefield refused to soft-pedal his preaching, he received a variety of responses. His bluntness sometimes offended people, and many established ministers of his time refused to allow him to speak in their pulpits. While angry listeners occasionally pelted him with everything from rotten fruit to dead cats, many people loved to hear him preach. "

" "Father Abraham, whom have you in heaven?" he shouted. "Any Episcopalians?"
"No!" the people roared.
"Any Presbyterians?" Whitefield danced around the stage as he spoke, jabbing at the air with his hands.
"Any Independents or Seceders? New Sides or Old Sides, any Methodists?"
"No! No! No!" the crowd shouted in reply.
He called out, "Whom have you there, then, Father Abraham? We don't know those names here! All who are here are Christians-- believers in Christ, men who have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony . . . God help me, God help us all, to forget having names and to become Christians in deed and in truth."

Indeed. I like this guy.

The Great Awakening helped unify the colonies, which directly aided their revolution from the British. Presently, the Christians in America seem to be asleep again, and unity within the nation is an all but forgotten dream.

Where are the George Whitefields of today? Who's rocking the boats now?

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Final Hour

I almost hadn’t even considered the possibility of a “goodbye party” when I arrived at work today. It wasn’t as much of a party as it was just a status-quo day, only slightly altered by the presence of pastries.

I can’t say I’ve ever been a very big fan of office parties in general. I understand that people like to have fun, bring food, and have a “party” every once in a while- and that’s just fine- but I dislike the pretense of having a party for a coworker, when it’s clear that everyone’s only real concern is how many of the donuts they’re going to get. The taboo question always seems to come up: “So who are we having a party for?”

People have been circling our cubicles like vultures. Occasionally someone strikes up a conversation long enough to casually help themselves to the foodstuff. The moments immediately afterwards are consumed with remarks expressing how inconsiderate it is to gorge on “party food” if you haven’t furnished anything yourself.

So far, only two people have really said anything that would come close to be considered a well-wishing or a goodbye. To be honest, though, I can’t say that I expected anything different. That would be part of why I’m quite fond of the fact that I don’t have to come back.

I’m actually looking forward to waking up an hour earlier on Monday morning.

Do I sound cynical? I’m not trying to be. It’s mostly a, “Ho-hum, Oh well,” attitude than anything. I think it’s the whole everything-I’ve-been-working-on-for-the-last-two-months-is-being-completely-nerfed thing that’s got me down. After 5:30 PM ticks by I’ll be perfectly fine. And after next Friday when I swing by to pick up my last paycheck I’ll probably never interact with GreanLeaf again.

It’s a good day.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Beginning of the End

Tomorrow is the last day I will be employed by GreenLeaf Auto Recyclers. I must admit that I've given some serious thought to the idea of not showing up. You shouldn't worry, though, I've only been entertaining the whimsy and I'll not be degrading to that level of irresponsibility.

I wouldn't be missed if I did skip, though. The summation of everything I have "accomplished" in the last two weeks could have easily been completed within a fifteen minute time span. Since last Monday, roughly seven hours and fifty-six minutes out of each eight hour day have been spent passing the time in whatever way I can find that doesn't draw attention to myself. This alone, though, is not all that bad. Who's going to protest getting paid to surf all day?

My dissatisfaction probably needs a little explanation. Over the last several months I have been working on streamlining a certain process that is essential to the company's success. Prior to my being designated as the (only) data entry person in this process, the filing system in place went no further than a handful of folders and several boxes on the floor. I should probably mention that this is taking place in the corporate office in order for the full extent of the absurdity to sink in.

Being the only person involved in this particular "system" with the inclination to do so, I took it upon myself to reorganize the entire procedure. Instead of authorizations being unchecked, directly resulting in unquestioned costs to the company, without any way of tracking individual claims or recording the totals for these issues, we now have (at least for the moment), a structured system which combines all aspects -submission, approval, accountability, and tracking- into one conjoined form. Sweet, sweet efficiency and productivity- at long last.

It turns out that the transactions I've been 'data entry'-ing have created a total cost of nearly a half million dollars in the last six months. -And this isn't even hypothetical or projected costs; this is a total of actual dollar amounts being given away via checks written and mailed to customers. Granted, the majority of these are unquestionably valid, but it seems like a company of any size, with any claim of being responsible would like to track the particulars of transactions whose combined totals reach nearly a million dollars a year, right?

This new system has been in place for a month, and things have been going smoothly. No more digging in a box to find out why so-and-so got a check for such-and-such. Within just a few seconds, two mouse clicks, and a half-dozen keystrokes, all relevant information jumps onto the screen (and it even tells you which box/file to look in if you should happen to need a hard copy for some reason). Given the available resources (i.e.; limitations), there really couldn't be a better system in place.

Yet, as I mentioned, tomorrow is my last day. Given that this has been my personal "pet project" (and given the general computer illiteracy of the others involved), the entire process has been watered down to accommodate those who will be using it after I leave. I can already tell that the way it's going to be (and already is) misused will actually become a hindrance in the process. In the end, my name will be cursed for creating the thing- I'm sure of it.

I suppose I really shouldn't care what they do with it since I'm leaving, but I can't. I can't just not care that something I spent time on creating for the specific purpose of improving efficiency and productivity is now going to be dissected and neglected to the point of losing all functionality.

I need to become a consultant. At least then I would get paid large amounts of money to come up with these productivity increasing ideas that will be ignored and never implemented correctly...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A Change of Space

I've been a xanganite for nearly a year now, so even though I feel somewhat loyal to my friends on that site, I can't help but feel drawn in by the elegant simplicity of Google's services.

We'll see how this turns out...