Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Quality Dear, Not Quantity

I went to see a client yesterday and had a hard time getting him to sign some documents that needed to be signed urgently. The reason, my clerk had made some typo-error in respect of his IC no. written in the documents. I told him that that can be corrected later and I will personally attend to it, or that he can cancel the typed numbers and add the correct numbers in handwriting. However, he didn’t want it done either way and no amount of persuasion on my part could get him to sign the documents. It was just some forms that he needed to fill in, not some court documents or corporate agreement and certainly nothing major, but the way he acted was like it was a document to give his entire estate away (which I’m pretty sure consists of only a flat and a beat-up old Datsun, but that’s not the point).

Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I should have just checked it and make sure everything is 100% accurate before I went to see him. But when you have a clerk to type things for you, one who has been in that position for many many years and do the same thing all these while, you would expect her to know enough not to make stupid typing mistakes like that one wouldn’t you?

I wasn’t sure whether to be pissed off at my clerk or at my client. But all things considered, I think I better be angry at myself for not taking 15 minutes to go through all the pages in the documents and verify that every information entered is correct before I went to see the client.

I know that in a lot of ways, it reflects badly on the firm when documents produced contain typo-errors, no matter how minor. I have always believed that we have to check and double-check everything and produce flawless work. That however, is easier said than done.

Looking at the 2 feet high pile of papers and files on my desk, I cannot see myself checking and double-checking every single thing written on it. To do that means I would have to delay every other thing that I have to do today, which is why it is crucial that I have a team of strong and capable support staff to do their job right without me having to supervise everything they do. Sadly, with the exception of my trusted secretary, everybody else in my team are idiots who do not take pride in their work, who do not know how, or care to spell properly, who produce small amount of work during office hours and huge quantities of work severely lacking in quality during overtime and who think that just because I make more money than they do, I have to do not only my own job, but theirs as well.

I drove back to KL fuming mad at myself and particularly at my clerk. I didn’t go back to the office though because I know I would scream at her despite having taken the blame myself. Didn’t want to be any bitchier than I have already been at the office so far. So, I drove around until it was time to pick up my friend after work for a night out. One Transformers movie later, and I totally forgot all about it.

Came to office today and had a nice pep-talk with my clerk. Hope she does better next time.


elviza said...

Of course I must be the first to leave a comment. I must be your die hard fan.

Ah, this is all too familiar. The woes of a conveyancer I suppose? I think I suppose right.

Sabar jer lah, as they say it, life's a bitch and after that, you die. Not helping at all kan? Hahahaah.

Take care Sue

tony -stand-up philosopher said...

Hi tpyhoonS,
Its better to be safe than sorry. In my last place of work, an employee overlooked one requirement needed, it cost my Company RM20m. Whose fault? Your guess is as good as mine.

a babe of mata juling said...

i proofread every document before they go public and no matter how eagle-eyed i am, once it is made public, mistakes/typos will jump out from the pages.

what i'm trying to say is that, no matter how much you check and double check, this typo hantus are bound to appear.

Typhoon Sue said...

die hard fan? eh, don't say like that la... malu la i...


for all the things that we do that are worth or potentially worth millions, I thing everyone would go cross-eyed checking every thing including every single comma and fullstop.
but there are also things which do not cost a lot of money but are tedious and bulky and routine. For these things, u'd hope to be able to rely on the clerks to do the checking themselves, because in between checking a million dollar advise and drafting a multi-million dollar contract, u don't normally have time to scrutinize smaller and more routine work. Not that the smaller one's are not important, but when time is not a luxury, u'd hope to be able to prioritize the big ones.

i hear ya. sometimes it just escapes u, i know. i hate when that happens, and some skanky lowly executive from somewhere will be pointing it out to you and say, aiyah, how can one?

sucks the life outta ya, i tell ya that!

Typhoon Sue said...

correction, tony:
"when time IS A LUXURY you don't have"

my mistake, see? it's unavoidable!

Manal said...

Umm, can that clerk email to u 1st those docs for u to check later at night or are the docs printed in that thick yellow-ish manila kad-ish type?

Sometimes dillema jugak kan? Nak herdik2 depa, depa balas dendam buat mcm2 hal....buat taik la ala2....But as u so wisely said on the time luxury, i guess u the boss had to be more stringent la somehow forcing them to produce a typo-free doc. But at the same time, outsmart them in a political sort of way ( u know, sweet promises, manis2 muka just to get over and done with the task).

Worst case scenario, u r surrounded by thickheads and dippies. Itu kena recruit new employees pulak, but it'll take up loadsa time to complete the replacement n for the new worker to catch up with the workloads. Hmmm...sabar jer la.

Btw, sorry sue but was it the case where he was made older due to the wrong bdate? Mesti best that transformers movie?

Hjh Esah Jolie said...

Susah kan? Nak buat semua kerja, kang redundant pulak yr saikoteri tu...and again...ada yang kerja sampai tak balik rumah dek nak mengecheck semua docs...nak jadi too perfectionist pulak, kang takde org suka...when delegate kerja, yg kena delegate plak, kerja cam seeyulll...

I was in yr is hard to rely on ppl...can I photocopy me, so that I hv another me to dbl check me?

Typhoon Sue said...

i dare not suggest anything that would end up requiring me to do my work at home or at night. Gua mau rilek-rilek kat umah arr...

as it is, these ppl already know what to do, they r just careless, that's all. but no matter how much i bersyarah, depa ni macam tak makan saman aje. tension betul.

actually, he was made younger by 10 years. :)
oh yeah, transformers rock! luv it! luv it! luv it! Teringat zaman bebudak dulu tunggu depan TV nak tgk optimus prime lawan megatron. syiok ooo...

yg paling I geram, masa office hours, ntah hapa-hapa diaorg buat, jalan sana jalan sini, kerja tak siap2 sbb diaorg tunggu nak buat masa overtime. ada ka patut. next time i suruh management bayar diaorg overtime je lah. gaji tak payah.

J.T. said...

Oh Sue... I know how you feel. We rely on people to do their job. The least they can do is do it right. It does get a little tiring when you have to start doing another person's job. If mistakes have been an on-going thing with this clerk of yours, then I suspect it is an attitude problem or something in her personal life is affecting her job performance.

If this was a one-time thing, then I hope after that pep talk with your clerk, she will learn from it.

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The Blueberry said...

Hie Sue!

I totally understand your predicament! My staffers pun macam tu jugak! Dah berbuih mulut I utter our office mantra: Be Meticulous! Hampeh macam cakap ngan dinding. Nak organise major event tapi benda-benda small details (yang bisa merosakkan keseluruhan event) tak check and double check and triple check. Typo error tu takyah kira ler, banyak macam gunung! Geram gerammmm...

But I like the way you control your anger. Ronda-ronda keliling kota yaaaa... Then terus balik dengan kawan. Huhuuuuu... Wish I have the luxury of time to do that...