As one part of my job, I have to deal with Fiendish Counterintuitive Software. (I figure that every campus has some kind of FCS, so I'm not alone.) FCS requires training, and workshops, and more training every time they change FCS, which is constantly. I have some administrative assistance with FCS, but I still have to deal with it. (I'm reminded of Bardiac's post about how universities are off-loading clerical tasks as an unpaid addition to faculty duties.)
When you think you have FCS-taming down to a fine art, it suddenly locks you out, or won't permit changes, or otherwise balks. Then the FCS gods say, "Oh, didn't we tell you? You can't do it that way."
Sometimes it doesn't load at all, and you contact the FCS gods, and they tell you variations of "You're doing it wrong"--must be the wrong browser, wrong time of day, poor connection, etc. It never is.
And we continually get sudden, cheerful threat letters from the FCS
gods: "X has to be done during the week of [insert inconvenient date] or else."
The time spent on this part of my job has literally doubled since FCS was installed. I keep time logs of this, because I can't believe how much time it takes.
This week and last have been devoted to servicing the FCS, to the exclusion of any writing and the barest minimum of class prep.
The latest cheerful threat letter--let's call it Threat Level Midnight--commanded that a New Procedure should be done. I tried and failed (more hours wasted) over the past two days before learning that--"Oh, didn't we tell you?"--I don't have access to do New Procedure, which requires yet more training, before I can do yet another task that is essentially clerical.*
Did I mention that at all the trainings I attended, I saw only women, and mostly support staff, involved? No male department heads, professors, or administrators.
Did I mention that as an academic, my job description is publishing, teaching, and service, in that order, with the last-named now completely overwhelming the other two, thanks to FCS?
Did I mention that I recently received a small university-wide honor for my scholarship and not my FCS-wrangling abilities?
So I walked into the chair's office and said, "I'm done with this. No more FCS training. No New Procedure. I'm done." Ze agreed, wholeheartedly.
Sometimes, enough's enough.
*Edited to add: I've worked at clerical jobs and enjoyed them. But this job is not supposed to be one of them.