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J--Second Letter
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Dear J,
It was a joy and a relief to hear your voice on the phone last night. Amazing that you made it to Iowa in about 36 hours. Did you fly? (heh, heh)

We are continuing our frantic days here at work. Seems
that they chose people for the Routing Center who are
highly skilled at using the computer (one skill set) but who have had no experience whatsoever in creating routes (another, very high level, skill set.

These folks have taken pre-established routes written by hand and created routes in the routing software. But they have never looked at a map with children's icons scattered over several hundred square miles of city, selected appropriate stops for them, and then assembled those stops into time efficient, cost-effective routes.

The above task is a Planner-level skill and even after
15 years' experience I still find it fun and a challenge to do it well. Management expected the routers to be able to sit down at a console, run the data through an automated routing process and turn out hundreds of routes in a week or less.

The automated routing process as incorporated into the
software gives only a first pass approximation. The poor routers (a month ago they were only drivers) do not have the level of skill and experience to adjust and adapt and provide supervisors with acceptable routes (forget elegant or precise)without an extensive learning curve.

We don't have time for the long learning curve (most of us took 2-6 months to learn our routing skills and have years of experience to hone them to perfection) since summer school starts July 1st. Two weeks!!

Needless to say, management is panicking and flailing about, looking for someone to blame. Hmmmm....I'm glad I'm just a region planner in a regional office. Just another mindless drone hiding behind a desk.

Saturday is drop-dead day and all of us who have experience and skill in routing are being recruited to do some overtime and get the routes done. I don't particularly feel like volunteering, but the ones who suffer from bad/nonexistent routing are the students who ride our buses. So I guess I'll work. I wonder who thinks someone is miraculously going to provide the leadership and organization for this project? There hasn't been any of those qualities evinced so far. Do we expect that a leader will suddenly
emerge from the frenzy? Most of us are just keeping our heads down. He who volunteers to lead volunteers to take the blame even though he is cleaning up the mess, not having created it. None of us is that stupid.

I know -- we should start looking under the bushes--G. W., burning, or otherwise.

Well, off to the fray. Time to go to work. Love you and talk to you soon.


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