Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Is this line secure?

Back in the day, paper records were considered to be the reliable, permanent thing, right? I'm sure there was a time when sending someone an email felt riskier than sending it in the regular mail...or even sending a fax.

If they have the paper in hand, I know they've got it. This email thing? I don't know where it goes, or if it even got to the person. There's no permanent record.

But for some reason, I consider email more private and effective than regular mail or the fax. It targets a specific person, right? I have no control over who opens the mailbox or checks the fax machine.

I'm trying to get a partial refund for the leg of our American Airlines flight to India that was canceled in April. The Seattle to Chicago part. A lot of flights were canceled that week for inspections, and you can imagine how disconcerting it would have been to miss our Chicago to Delhi flight. Because I am prophetic, and also an Alaska Airlines frequent flier and credit card user ... the night before, I booked us on another flight for $5.

Nevertheless, I think we're entitled to something back for that canceled flight. Without getting into the whole customer service thing, let me just say that I was unsuccessful in getting my refund on the phone or the internet. I was told I had to submit my request in writing. By mail or fax.

So there's this paper that's out there somewhere, I don't know if anyone's read it, or whose desk it is stacked on. If it went through a computer, it'd be in a queue somewhere, and at some point, someone would have to deal with it, right?

I'm having these thoughts when my boss tells me he's going to fax me my annual evaluation for me to sign and send back to him. OMG, fax? Like, just anyone could pick it up off the machine? (Nevermind that I'm the only one here). Still, that means it's been printed out and someone other than my boss is actually putting those papers through a machine. It's so exposed.

And about this time, I discover an old email I wrote at a previous job, venting about an old-school secretary, recently returned from retirement, who flipped out when I couldn't produce the paper record of a leave request.

An email would be acceptable, I was told:

This serves in lieu of the old leave slips we used to use. It becomes part of our permanent payroll records, along with a new report. Print a copy for your records. Everyone needs to keep a copy of what they asked for and his approval. Then if there are any questions later, they have the information they need to support their claim.


I had vented:

Upon learning that we don’t use leave slips anymore, Secretary is now trying to “come up” with another way to do it. See, they used to give leave slips to Boss and Boss would sign them and Secretary would make a copy on yellow paper for the employee’s records. (Must be yellow paper) But absent that policy… she's going to make everyone print out the e-mail so Secretary can make a bunch of copies so everyone has records of everything on paper. That they have to put somewhere and remember where it is should they ever need it. Because that makes a lot more sense than looking it up on the computer!!

Apropos of nothing, does your Blogger dashboard give you the option of typing in Hindi, or is this a souvenir setting from blogging in India?

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