I just started a new job (hooray!) and so much is great about it, but...

In addition to day-to-day advice giving and research projects, I have a couple long term projects sitting on my desk. Both are frustrating for similar reasons: no one bothered to document important shit. Thankfully neither project was worked on by anyone currently in my department, so I’m not seethin with annoyance at any of my lovely co-workers, but I am still seething with annoyance.

For project one (which I am studiously avoiding), my company as a whole has just been pretending not to notice all the people traning on our legal rights as well as not bothering to keep track of what rights were actually have where.

Advertisement

For project two, which I am currently working on, no one seems to have saved any background information, research, notes or even edit record. Project two is to update a publicly available handbook on a legal process. First, the person who had my job before me made a bunch of edits to the handbook, but she didn’t track her changes from the current public version and saved the edit file as “[Handbook] [initials] Comments]”. I could see her comments, but the first five pages were identical to the currently published handbook so it took me a while to realize she had even made edits! Then, I looked for any documentation saved from when this thing was written originally and there isn’t any! Or at least I can’t find it. Basically I was looking to see if the person who wrote this thing kept notes on the court cases they cite (because they didn’t explain the cases in the cites at all) so I wouldn’t have to go read like thirty cases myself, but they didn’t so I do. Third, there are stylistic and organizational problems with the handbook itself. It is currently written in question-answer format, except half the questions don’t state the answer they just give a long, repetitive section that half answers the question. The handbook has a section for process one (state process that applies always) and section for process two (federal process that only applies sometimes), but it spends half of the section on process one reminding readers that there is process two and a third of process two reminding readers that they still have to do process one.

Tl/dr: If you are working on a project that is going to outlast you, or that someone else will pickup partway through, leave a goddamn paper trail. Also, proofread your work.

What is annoying you today?