Monday, February 21, 2011


When Accountants Attack

This actually happened.

Probably due to something in the water, we’ve had an outbreak of pregnancies on campus over the past year. In every case, we’ve had to pay replacements to pick up either the classes or the hours of the woman who went out on leave. There’s a budget line for substitutes, but we’ve already blown well past it for the academic year, and it’s only February.

The college budget hawk, whom I will simply call Money Guy (MG), dropped by my office to express his concern. This is the actual, I-am-not-making-this-up conversation.

MG: DD, you’ve gone well over the allotment for the substitutes line.

DD: That’s true.

MG: What happened?

DD: We had an outbreak of pregnancies, so we’re covering for several maternity leaves.

MG: Well, you’ll need to keep an eye on that.


DD: Keep an eye on that?

MG: Right. We can’t keep overspending the lines.

DD: MG, they’re pregnant. What, exactly, do you propose I do about that?

MG: Well, we need to exercise fiscal discipline.

DD: Fiscal discipline? They’re pregnant. What am I supposed to do about that?

MG: (silence)

DD: I didn’t get any of them pregnant. Beyond that, I’m really not sure what you’re asking me to do. Should I send out a memo asking everyone to knock it off?


MG: Well, I guess we’ll take it from somewhere else...

The joys of bureaucracy...

Oh, this is rich! Thanks for sharing another episode in the "joys of bureaucracy"!
This post needed to come with a warning, as I nearly spit my coffee all over my computer when I read "I didn't get any of them pregnant." Thanks for a Monday morning laugh.
Good on you for failing to victim-blame and forcing sense on your counterpart.

Side note: my cohort's slang for a spike in pregnancies is a "Weather Channel" event. In the mid-90s, for whatever reason, it seems like every female anchor for the Weather Channel managed to get pregnant... just one of those funny spikes.
Now you know the real reason for affirmative-action laws. There are, after all, some things only a woman can say and not be doubted. LOL
I am lecturing about organizational theory and bureaucracy today. Thanks for the case-in-point.
I will be giggling about "I didn't get any of them pregnant" for days.

Has MG been angsting about the snow removal costs too?
AHAHAHHA! You should totally have proposed, completely deadpan, that you sell the babies as soylent green to cover it. I would love to have seen his reaction.
I would have asked him to increase the budget line for condoms.
Thank you, Dean Dad, for standing up for principles of equity and reason.

Still, this made me sad while it evoked a chuckle. You know that someone, somewhere, is saying "This is why institutions shouldn't hire women."
Actually, on the budget line for condoms thing... there's a really good chance that birth control isn't covered fully, elective abortions aren't available, and you are funding viagra with your health insurance policy.

Tell MG to get on it.
You better alert MG's superiors because MG is a walking lawsuit waiting to happen. He's gonna cost you millions.
-Western Dave
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