I joked week before last about us having to adopt a new system at work because at the time I thought it would be a few curse words and a few chuckles and then we’d get on with our lives and just make do, but every day at work since last Monday has been the worst day of my life, and I wish I was exaggerating but I’m actually being entirely serious and, yes, I know how pathetic that sounds and, no, I don’t particularly care how pathetic you might think I am. Because I know I am not the only one who feels this way and I know I am doing everything to try and make the system work for me, but I am being stymied at every turn. I would venture to guess that the vast majority of folks working the production side of the day (ahem, night) fantasize about snuffing out their own lights and escaping the bubbling Hell that putting out the paper has become in one short week because it’s not like this is some temporary setback we are going through. THIS IS NOW HOW EVERY SINGLE NIGHT AT WORK IS GOING TO BE FROM NOW UNTIL THE PAPER FOLDS ENTIRELY. It’s going to be this endless cycle of slow load times, slow save times, fixing other people’s shit that I was told I wouldn’t be expected to fix, fruitless searches for where someone else put something, fruitless searches for where I MYSELF put something, crashes, network downtimes, proofs taking two minutes to print if they even print at all, stories disappearing, photos not scaling, crashes, corrupted files, inconsistent edits, boxes that won’t update, crashes, jumps that won’t move, advance pages that were never created, ad makeup putting things in the wrong spot, un-re-named factboxes, crashes, incorrect stylesheets, missing library elements, did I mention crashes?, confusion between what’s a snippet and what’s a library element, extra spaces, corrupt notes mode, forgotten folios, crashes, untoned photos, and JESUS PLEASE TAKE THE WHEEL.
Does the average newspaper-basher have any idea what it’s like to go from being able to do your job with speed and efficiency and a semblance of competency to, one day, being completely hobbled in all those areas and then some, and to have to spend an ENTIRE SHIFT on what used to take you three hours at most. Say you are a doctor and suddenly you can only speak and be spoken to in Spanish, except the only Spanish you have ever been exposed to is the Spanish that you heard on a tape about whale songs for three hours one day and also, guess what! That tape was formal Spanish, not CONVERSATIONAL Spanish, so you are really fucking lost.
And the real bitch of it is that our fantastic system that they chucked to the curb is what made it possible for the company to lay off ALL THOSE PEOPLE way back when — remember all those layoffs? — because that system was zippy and fast and easy and made us much more efficient than we had any right to be, all things considered.
But now here we are with the same amount of people — a skeleton crew on a good day, a veritable ghost ship on a bad one — and the same amount of pages to get out, but we are using a system that requires six clicks for every action and three minutes of waiting on it to talk to the cloud and think about What It All Means before it actually does anything, and then sometimes for no fucking reason it decides to time out or crash anyway. Those minutes add up and suddenly it becomes difficult to do your usual workload of 1.5+ sections every night plus advance design plus copy editing plus web posting. And let’s not even talk about trying to sit and think about how to make anything look good.
I’m eaten up with impotent rage and frustration over how all of this has gone down. We got screwed over. We weren’t ready to launch and they made us. The backend wasn’t ready to go and they made us go anyway, totally unprepared. And everything has been completely fucked for a week and counting and we have to raise holy hell to get any guidance and help on anything. We’re scrambling, trying to stay ahead. Putting out fires on deadline every night. This system. This fucking system. I feel sorry for any paper who felt like moving to Saxotech was an upgrade for them. What were they using before? A chisel and stone? Smoke signals?
No one really seems to want to talk publicly about how horrible Saxotech is. I don’t understand why. We need to talk about how fucking horrible Saxotech is so they will fix the horribleness and I can do my job without having to scream-cry on the way home from work every night three hours after I was supposed to get off because something went horribly wrong and no one knows why. If the company thinks they are saving money, I would like to see those receipts because we are all having to log a ton of overtime just to get the paper out every day.
I realize writing about work is reckless and stupid but honestly if they fired me for running my mouth and insulting corporate’s honor, they would be doing me a favor. Because — I don’t know if I have mentioned this — MY JOB MAKES ME WANT TO HURL MYSELF INTO ONCOMING HERPES-INFESTED SHARK TRAFFIC.