Tuesday, January 31, 2012

S.O.P.s (Standard Operating Procedures or Secret Operation Primate?)

By now most of us have had a job where a Standard Operating Procedure was used for something or other. For the lucky few of you who have never been subjected to an S.O.P., please forward my resume to your human resource department, I want in. I will bring morning donuts with me. As for the rest of us, we have to follow a specific set of guidelines that dictate our every move and bodily function throughout every single workday, including the office holiday party. Lets begin with the first S.O.P. of the day, the notification we successfully made it in for another action packed workday. In the pre-s.o.p. era we would punch a time card or simply show up in the morning with a cup of coffee and some questions for Bob about his weekend. Maybe even start the day off by high-fiving the boss, like a wrestling tag-in, while yelling "I'm in. Let's get it on!!" followed by a chest bump and some shadow boxing moves. Enter the S.O.P.. Now we start the morning with 1.) Place time card vertically, north facing, into the slot face down and apply pressure to the clicking lever or 1.) Log into your computer terminal within 8 minutes of the scheduled start time but no earlier than 15 minutes nor less than 5 minutes prior to the start of your scheduled shift. Or even 1.) Place your left eye onto the retinal scanner, while simultaneously placing your index finger onto the fingerprint scanner (note: if you are either missing an eye our index finger please see appendix 5.1 for acceptable eye finger combinations).  Step 1 complete, however you are not 'In' yet. You must first touch your desk. Although you may have a meeting first thing in the morning, you must still touch your desk. It's in the sop. A glancing touch or a jacket drop on the chair is acceptable but some sort of contact must be made. Now you spend the majority of the day working on the 'How to Hammer the Square Peg into the Round Hole' sop. Occasionally, as most humans do, nature will call (or text depending on what apps you have installed on your smartphone) and you will once again have to quickly review the 'Guidelines to Bathroom Behavior' sop. Although legally your employer cannot monitor your bathroom activity directly, length of stay and number of occupants may tip them off.  We end the day by being directed, per sop, not to yell "Wooohooo I'm outta this hell hole! Let's get some drinks!" What fun is that? So, in the interest of keeping my readers informed, I questioned the need for so many of these step by step, inch by inch, instructions to everyday activities. My initial inquiries were answered via the faq section of the "How to question a Standard Operating Procedure" sop. Mostly simple self explanatory answers like 'Because we said so' and 'Please bring these questions up to your immediate supervisor prior to cleaning out your desk.' Not good enough. So I dug deeper. I wandered deep into the reasoning of the Secret Society if CEOs and Upper Management for the answers even your boss and supervisors lack the authority and classification level to answer. You would imagine the reasoning of these sops would be the need to control every aspect of their employees work lives. A way for the high ups to have a tight grip on your every move or even something to brag and laugh about at the country club luncheon. "Ha ha, that's a side splitter Godfrey. But I wrote one last week that spells out how many squares of toilet paper an employee may use. L.o.l. I'm laughing out loud right now. Get it?"  Yeah we get it. However, if your thinking they do it for their own personal sick enjoyment you would be wrong. After some covert investigation this is what I found: 'Secret Operation Primate' (Yes, the true definition of S.O.P.) was put in place in the late 70's. It is the global initiative to turn all of the worlds most efficient and creative workers into, well, monkeys. Trained monkeys that is. Nobody wants you flinging shit on the walls. For in the 70's a group of scientists and statisticians realized that the workers of the world were becoming so efficient when allowed to think for themselves that all the work in the entire world would be completed by 2023. Global retirement. It sounds like heaven, but the reality of this would cause the untimely demise of planet earth. The rational is as follows: 6 billion people retire, each if which purchase a plastic pink flamingo for their lawn. The migration pattern of the entire Canadian geese population shifts. It's obvious what happens next. Mass floods, tornados, hurricanes, volcano eruptions. Yes armageddon. I know what your thinking right now. "I saw the movie Planet of the Apes. What's to prevent that from happening and the world being taken over by gorillas?" Well the answer is simple. Mark Wahlberg folks. He is a real person. He has had practice with the whole ape takeover thing and can handle it for us if all goes awry. Option b was to actually physically tie up everyone's hands with red tape. There was a backorder on this but it seems the tape makers were caught in a catch 22. An sop they needed to follow about making red tape. That my friends is an eternal loop I can't even wrap my head around. It's like trying to eat your own head or touch your elbows with your nose. So until we can figure out a way to get things done without getting anything done, we will need the sops. Hmmmmmm..... Congress might be onto something.... Sorry, I'm staying a mile away from that one.

1 comment:

  1. Really funny. When I read the first part I was thinking to myself if this company would have an SOP for "going". And lo, behold, there it was.
    I write a blog on satirical workplace situations. Here are a couple of them :