Talk to the people

I have a little issue that is currently happening at work that I don’t quite agree with. I voiced my opinion on the matter but it doesn’t seem like my coworker wants to hear about it. I thought that my reasoning made sense so I’m not sure why he didn’t want to hear it. I’m a people person so I try my best to please the majority of them. I found out recently that I’m considered a utilitarian.

Lately, the company is on a cost saving initiative so they’re trying to save as much as possible whenever they can. One of those initiatives involves the licensing of software. An email was sent out to managers of each department asking whether or not their subordinate require the use of Adobe Acrobat Standard. Some of them need the software to create PDFs but they don’t need the editing capabilities. Since they don’t need to edit PDFs we have software that will allow them to create PDFs but not edit. That particular software is available for them to install at will. Unfortunately, no one has heard of the software to create PDFs so they all request the licensed software which in turns means higher cost.

The manager’s job was to reply back to the email and inform us which one of their employees requires Acrobat Standard to be installed and which doesn’t need it. If they don’t reply, we’re going to assume that none of their employees needs it and we’ll uninstall it. That’s the part that I have a problem with.

My coworker has been delegated the job of uninstalling the software in the background. The unsuspecting user will not know that the software has been uninstalled until they try to use it. Everyone laptop and desktop has one version of Acrobat. If they have Acrobat Reader they won’t have Acrobat Standard and vice versa. The problem here is that if they have Acrobat Standard and it gets uninstalled they don’t have anything to view PDFs anymore. Since they can’t view PDFs they’re going to complain and I’m usually the first on their list to call.

When I found out that there were a lot of people that require the software, I suggested to my coworker that he notify them before uninstalling. My reasoning was that the managers don’t know enough about their employees to know who needs what software. It would be nice if he had given them a little courtesy email to confirm with them that they don’t need Acrobat Standard. The people who were complaining were people who needed the software but no longer have access to it. My coworker’s response to my suggestion was, “It has nothing to do with me.”

I’m standing there, dumbfounded and staring at him and I’m questioning how this has nothing to do with him since he’s the one that’s uninstalling the software in the background. I understand the fact that the managers didn’t reply to the email so it’s partially their fault but you can’t punish the employee for something that their managers didn’t do. Uninstalling the software without the users knowing will cause more problems than it’ll solve. So what if you’re saving the cost of licensing, you’re going to end up having to reinstall the software after the user found out that it went missing.

A coworker called me at the end of the day and asked what I did with her copy of Acrobat Standard. I told her that I haven’t done anything yet. I took a look at the list of users whose copy of Acrobat Standard is going to removed and saw that she was on the list but according to that list her copy shouldn’t have been installed yet. I don’t know if my coworker uninstalled it before going home and didn’t get to update the spreadsheet but it made her a little upset because she was not able to do her work. She ended up having to call it a day because she had to wait until tomorrow to get the software reinstalled.

It seems like day after day, I’ll get a phone call asking about the PDF software. I think it would have made better sense to contact the user rather than their mangers and ask them if they needed the software. If they had said, “No” the problem would have been solved. But for those who actually need the software, it causes headache, frustration and down time. I think to save them the headache and save me from having to repeat myself a few dozen times, an email should have been sent out to the correct people in order to avoid further issues. But there’s something about office politics that causes some employee to do what they’re told and don’t ask any questions. Every now and then, you need to ask the right questions to ensure you’re doing it right. Other times, you just have to use your own common sense and do what’s right.