Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Let the woman do it

In case anyone ever wonders what kind of "engineering" work I do, it's drawing wiring diagrams. Which we plot. Plot means print on a really huge sheet of paper (ok so that's not exactly what it means, but it might as well.) We have a "plotter" to do this. Sometimes a regular printer can act as a "miniature plotter" and plot a "half-size" which is really far less than half size, but on an 11x17 sheet of paper.

So "changer of plotter paper" isn't part of my job description, but I'm not going to be the moron who sits and waits on a plotter to plot when it's out of paper, or plot to another one to save me the trouble. If I'm going to be plotting 2-3 sheets a day, it makes sense to use this one and not keep walking around the building. Besides, someone has to change the paper when it runs out.

But apparently... not many people know how. Do I know how? Yes. Why? Because it takes about 2 minutes to do and somebody has to, and always felt like if I didn't, nobody else would. That appears to be the case. If I don't... well... I get tired of waiting. But I think most people just wait for someone else to do it. Maybe they're afraid they'll break it... or don't want to learn so they are never asked to do it.. anyway, I would have changed it yesterday but there was no paper. Period. So I go back and work on other things (because really, I have a ton of work to do) and decide to worry about plotter paper later.

Well, later comes and one advantage (or disadvantage if it's your fiance on the phone) of living incubicle world is that you can shout out your question and there are potentially 10-15 people nearby to answer. The question was:

"Doesn't anybody know how to load this thing?" (That was Rick.)
"I do, but I don't know where the paper is." (Me)
"I got the paper." (Rick)
"I'll load it." (Me)

So I walk around the cubicle island to where the plotter is, and there's Rick with the paper, saying, "So y'all gonna let the woman do it?" You see, "the woman" is me, the only girl in the section. Not the only girl in this part of the building, but the only one to use the plotter. And apparently, the only one who knows how to change it. One of my colleagues decided to "observe" the woman as she loaded the plotter, insisting that watching would make him an expert. I offered to show him how to do it but, oh no, no no, he didn't want to learn. (Lest he be asked to change it himself one day?)

So how is it that the girl at the bottom of the pay scale who only works part time, has been in the office for a few years only (2.5) is the one who knows how to load paper into the plotter?

Apparently, she's the only one who read the instructions.


Anonymous said...

WTG Amy! I work for the IT dept in a hospital. The tech support people (not me of course, I'm a clinical systems analyst) love to castigate users behind their backs because frequently their first question on the support line is "Do you have the manual? Did you read it?"

The acronym for the favored response is "RTFM - Read the * Manual."

Amox -

Amy said...

The instructions are color coded pictures on the top of the machine! How could you miss them!

But I didn't mention that in a bizarre show of masculinity, someone had to come "help" me "hold" the paper. (It's a big roll, weighs maybe 5-6 pounds.) Help me load it? No. Feed it? No. Trim it? No. Just hold it. He in fact held it up in the air while which made the process more difficult. I'd've just set it on the ground but... somebody felt like being a man. But that made me think of something... maybe I'll post on it later. :D

BTW, thanks for reading.