Monday, March 24, 2008


Nearly two months ago, I had a meeting with a professor and a woman from our testing center. The professor wrote an exam for his program's students to take before graduating, called an exit exam. The woman was going to administer the exam each semester, at the testing center. They wanted this exam to be online, to make grading easier and save on paper.

Cool. Simple to do. I explained to the woman that I'd give her the instructions for formatting the exam for the online system, and some sample exams to look at. I talked to her about the process, the file formats, etc. All seemed clear, and she was sure she could do this without a problem. The professor would send the list of students to her about a month ahead of time, and she'd send it to me to grant them access to the exam. Cool. Confidence and smiles all around.

I sent her the formatting instructions. It's just a text file without formatting. No automatic numbering, and you indicate the right answer with an asterisk. I got her set up and ready to go, with clear instructions to call me if there's any problem. I'd be back in two days to show her how to upload the exam to the system. Should take about ten minutes, top.

Okay -- I heard that. Someone out there just laughed and said "famous last words." Okay, okay...I should've known, all right?

And here's a bit of foreshadowing: We'll just call this woman Stupidass from here on out, k?

So, two days later I head to the testing center, to help this woman upload the test. I haven't had calls from her, so I'm hoping it's all gone well.

The thing I didn't realize is that it's hard for it to go well, when you haven't even started it!

Oh yes. I walk in and find she's about 10 questions into formatting the test, and she hasn't even cracked the instructions or listened to what I said.

"It won't let me put the asterisk where you said," she tells me. "So, I put it over here. I hope it works that way."

I'm fuming. She still has automatic numbering on, so nothing will work right. As I'd said 48 hours earlier.

"No," I say, emphatically. "It will not work that way. At all." Assistant Stupidass is looking wide-eyed at me.

I pull up a chair. "We'll have to go to Square One," I said. "You have to turn off the numbering, hand number it, then put in the asterisks."

Oh, this sends Stupidass into a huff. "That's going to take a long time."

"That's what I what I was talking about the other day, " I said. This is a 100+ question test. And I have to sit here while she does it. I'm at a remote campus. I can't run to my office and come back. I'm a prisoner until she gets this shit done.

About an hour later, she says, "You know, we wouldn't be doing this right now if you had showed me this during our meeting the other day."

The meeting with the professor who designed the exam. The meeting that was NOT all about her. Like that man wants to sit there and watch me hold her hand.

She was trying to blame her ineptness on me. Oh, no effing way. I was furious and almost speechless. Almost.

"No, that's not what the meeting was for. That's what the last two days were for. That's what the instructions and samples were for. If you had a problem, that what my phone number was for. But you didn't start this until today, and you didn't use the instructions or samples I gave you."

She shut up. Another hour and a half went by, and the exam was uploaded and ready to go.

Later, in a meeting with my boss, I explained what happened. Covering my ass in case he heard about it. He just shook his head. It seems Stupidass has nearly lost her job over her ineptitude several times. So, it's not just me.

Fast forward to last Friday. My phone rings. It's Assistant Stupidass. She wants to know how to launch the exam.

This is a process I've explained to Stupidass several times, even in writing. As I explain it to her, it dawns on me. They're administering the test soon. However, Stupidass hasn't sent me any names of students who will need access. She was supposed to do this as soon as the final list came through, probably a month ago.

I mention this to Assistant Stupidass. There's silence.

"You don't have the names?"


"And you're supposed to give them access?"

"Right. Stupidass can't do it." Like I'm going to give that woman Admin access....

"I'd better send that to you right now."

"Yes, that would be a great idea."

It's 3:40 on Good Friday. I'm supposed to be gone at 4:00. The campus is practically a ghost town already. Except for me and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, here.

Of course, the list contains names that are new to the system, requiring me to set up their logins before I can grant access to the exam.

Over the weekend, I sent an email, and copied it to my boss. It went to the exam professor and Stupidass. I outlined what happened Friday and what would have happened if I'd been out of town, had a project requiring more attention, or if Assistant hadn't called. Monday morning's test would have been a nightmare. They need to understand, ineptness on their part does not mean an emergency on my part. Nope.

I asked for better "protocols" for these exams. Professor responded that he sends Stupidass the list a month ahead of time. I emphasized that I need that list, too, at that time.

No word from Stupidass. Silence. Maybe I scared her. Good.


Anonymous said...

I would have been so pissed, if I sat down to take the test and it was not giving me access. Yes I would have lost my marbles.

I will concur with you, SHE IS A STUPID ASS!! All she had to do what stay in contact with you on this!

grrrr.. This is from a pissed off college student!!! LOL!!!


The Mama Bear said...

you know, this is a good reason for me to stay out of the workforce...everyone would be a stupidass to me eventually.

Wish life was easier sweets.

Pixie said...

Tell 'em' how it is girl..... your good when your pissed
hugs pxx

ps the term pissed means drunk in the UK, and we would I can talk American!!!

Blogget Jones said...

Single -- yes, exactly! Finally got a response from her and it was complete BS about "I didn't know I needed to send the list." Yes, she did. We talked about it more than once. So, I'm not dealing with her. I'll deal with the professor and her assistant.

Mama Bear -- unfortunately, you're right. The workplace is full of stupidasses, all the time! And it's okay - an opportunity to assert myself as someone to be reckoned with on this campus! :o)

Pixie -- THAT is what I needed to do! Go get pissed the UK way! Wanna come? lol!

Thanks ladies!
:o) BJ