Government Department prided itself on the precision of its process and procedures. Every function in the organization had its functionary, at least in theory. Joe had only been on the job a month when he discovered that figuring out which functionary would actually function wasn’t as easy as it looked. The Department used a database known as CAS to track all its financial data, including wages and work orders. Since Joe intended to earn wages in return for coordinating those work orders, he was going to need access to CAS. His first inkling that there might be a problem with the pervasive process was that, despite all employees needing at least basic CAS access for the payroll system, it wasn’t until his fourth week with the department that Terry, his team lead, gave him the good news.

“You’ve been cleared for a CAS userid,” Terry said. “Go ahead and call up the CAS service desk to request it.”

“So they haven’t created my ID yet, just cleared me to have one?” Joe asked.

“That’s right. The CAS desk’s extension is 8888.”

Joe dialed the extension. At the other end was the cheerful recorded voice of one of those programs that asks you to say what you want instead of pressing buttons. Joe just blurted, “CAS.”

“For new or returning Government Department employees,” the voice said, “contact the security unit at 8889, or speak to the CAS role 132 user from your local IT unit. Goodbye!”

Joe muttered to himself and dialed the next extension. This time, the voice was neither recorded nor cheerful.

“Security. What seems to be the problem?”

“Well, I need a CAS account-”

“You need to contact the CAS service desk.” And Joe was hung-up on for the second time in five minutes.

The process having officially sent Joe in a circle, he tried the cheerful recording’s alternative. He found his way to the local IT office and asked the team lead there about CAS. The response was cheerful, not recorded… but not helpful, either.

“CAS? Oh, we can’t give you that. The service desk’s extension is-”

“I already called them. They told me to talk to you… something about the CAS role 132 user?”

The IT Team Leader chewed on that for a while, then turned and picked up his phone. While he dialed, he looked over his shoulder at Joe.

“You know, it’s funny! I just finished getting CAS accounts for some new team members- took three days in the end!”

Joe grimaced. The IT TL spent some time saying “uh-huh” into his phone, then hung up. He asked for Joe’s TL’s number, and promised to walk Terry through the necessary process. Joe returned to his desk and waited. That afternoon, Terry popped in to give him the good news.

“I sent an email to that address IT told me about, it bounced back saying we need to contact the local CAS coordinator. I just emailed her, so we should be good to go any time now!”

Terry left, and Joe returned to his job of waiting to be allowed to coordinate work orders. Fortunately, it didn’t take long to get a reply from the CAS coordinator. Joe was CCed:

Thank you for your email. I am out of the office on leave until August 30. For all enquiries and CAS account setup, please contact the CAS service desk at extension 8888.


Jane Smith CAS Coordinator Government Department

August 30th was two weeks away. Prevented from taking his proper place in the process, Joe proceeded to take an early lunch.

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