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sarahkeebs [userpic]


May 6th, 2006 (03:33 pm)

Mood: curious

Oh Rejected....

I hope frosh are still laughing at that after all these years...


Anyhoo, yesterday I apparently decided to spend money like wo. I went down to St. Lawrence Market (which is only like 8 minutes from my office), intending to buy some Guatemalan Antigua at the coffee roastery there. Well, no such luck because they only seem to sell unground beans and I still lack a grinder. So instead I went to the bulk food store and bought one or two scoops of several things to keep in my desk for when I get draggy. Then I walked back toward King on Front and. coming across a Starbucks, thought "Screw it, I'll get half a pound at least". They were even brewing my new favourite, so I ordered a grande. When I was all rung up ($10.38) I pulled out my debit card, and the barrista got this horrified/sheepish look (with which I can totally sympathize), saying "Actually, our debit machine is down...do you have any other method of payment?" I reached into my blazer pocket and pulled out a ten, and just as I drew breath to say "No," she chuckled and said "We can definitely spare you the thirty-eight cents." So I said "Works for me," and off I set with my sweet sweet cup of amazing coffee and a bag of it which I could smell for the rest of the day.

That may be my favourite thing about customer-service oriented jobs...those incidents where if either side wanted to they could make it a total day-killer for the other side, but for some reason instead everyone's reasonable and good natured and friendly and everyone walks away feeling satisfied. I love it from both sides of the counter/desk -- one reason I really miss working day hours at the doctors' office, and Second Cup (even though I worked there a million ago) and QTS too even.

Consumer-whore incident three was a badly needed one-hour appointment with an RMT at Healthwinds. At some point I thought it would make more sense to get 1/2 hour massages every month or so, but honestly that does no good...it takes me the first half hour to not twitch every time the RMT touches me. Also, I had been looking at other places around the city to find something cheaper, but honestly, at what works out to only an extra $5 for me, I'm going to stick with the friendly spa-atmosphere and retardedly convenient location. That said, if anyone's looking for a massage on the cheap I recommend the Sutherland Chan Student Clinic. The ambience is a little lacking, and you get asked questions, but I've been and found it satisfactory.

Incident four was unplanned and totally my own mistake...I ducked in to the new Body Shop at Yonge and St. Clements. Damn those eco-friendly socially-conscious beauty-peddlers. All I wanted was something for my mangled hands, and that is what I ended up getting: Almond balm for my cuticles and nails, and a 50mL mini of the Shea Body Butter for my hands. But oh, the temptation to go wild! I also got a membership card, which since it cost $10 and guarantee's a $10 gift in your birthday month, seemed pretty win-win.


Anyway, enough with the profligate spending of money I don't have...I have an ethical quandary and I was wondering what y'all's two-cents were:

At work, my (primary) job is to edit the written reasons for decisions made by a quasi-judicial tribunal (most of you know what for...lets just say that these are issues of life-or-death  for legit applicants, but that a lot of our applicants are also either clearly unqualified and they or their counsel should know better, and some are even outright scam artists). Because it's only "quasi-judicial", the regular rules of evidence don't apply, also, cases can be appealed to the courts. Now, a lot of these cases are cookie-cutter, and a lot are decided on the simultaneously key and dodgy principle of credibility. This is statutory, decided at the highest levels, not just something the people I work with decided to do because they're crotchety. It is a little concerning though, because, well, define "credible"? One of the major ways they test this is to compare the applicant's written statements with their testimony. Several times, in editing the decisions (which involves going through the file to properly footnote stuff) I've notices that one of my bosses has totally misconstrued a written statement, and I mean a black and white difference. Stuff like, "If Mr. Smith was married as he testified, why did he say he wasn't in his initial interview", but right on the first page it says: "Q: are you married? A: Yes I am." Also, they often require documentary proof of things people could quite reasonably never have documentary proof of, e.g. clandestine intimate relationships.

So here's my quandary: an error like this could easily lead to the court calling a do-over...this might mean the applicant has a second chance with someone more permissive, more likely to extend the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, since there were other reasons backing up the decision, the court might say that the other reasons alone justify the decision, and then this person would have wasted a lot of money on appealing, so there's a lot of what-ifs there. Conversely, if I point the error out to my boss (which heretofore I always have -- but which, I should point out, is not my job) he or she will simply correct it and the decision will be recorded without any errors that give a basis for appeal. Bear in mind that it is improbable verging on impossible for me to convince one of my bosses he/she has made an incorrect call, and hard for me to legitly do so given that I never meet the applicants or hear them testify. The whole system is predicated on them making these highly subjective decisions, and how much slack or benefit of the doubt they're willing to extend is highly variable between bosses, days, time of day, previous experience with similar cases, et cetera.

Although I feel guilty and a little cowardly about it, I've sort of decided that, given the relatively small chance of me actually helping someone by letting my boss screw up, I should for now continue to do the job as best I can while noting all these flaws in the system, the better to chip away at them when I graduate. Does this make me a) sane and reasonable, b) equivalent to a Nazi government file clerk circa 1938? What would you do in a similar position?