It’s the beginning of the month, which means it’s invoice time for me. I very rarely send out paper invoices. These days most companies are hip enough to have addresses like AccountsPayable@<company>.com. So my low-volume invoicing mechanism involves a Pages templates document, and a little manual copy and paste from my web-based hour-tracking system.
One company I work for makes things “easier” by requiring that I submit invoices through a nasty web invoicing system. Just about everything about this site is wrong. To add insult to injury, they charge me, the “supplier” for the privilege of stumbling my way through their ridiculous invoicing system. To be fair I haven’t run out of “free credits” that I got when I first signed up, but I’m really not looking forward to the day when I have to pay for this abuse.
Among the ridiculous things I must endure every month as I fill out the invoice data, is the selection of “units” for my “hourly work” line item. It’s always “hours,” just like every other professional consulting service is almost always “hours.” But hours aren’t special to this company – they’re just another item smack-dab in the middle of the world’s most comprehensive list of invoicing units, and I have to scroll down to the middle of it every time:
I know – it’s funny! Like – Brazil funny. The first time, and then you start to loathe invoices. This should be a happy time, when you think “I’m going to get paid.” Instead I think, “I wonder if I’ll survive the invoicing system this month.” Maybe one month I’ll just charge them for “27 50-Pound Bags of Mac Consulting” and see what happens.
Other fun aspects of this system include the classic “works only if you click the Submit button” bug. Hitting return submits, but submits with bogus data. This allows me to regularly observe the classless manner in which the system conveys SQL database errors to me! “Oh! ’16:Can not init Service’, that explains it!”
This is a perfect follow-up to my Verizon post. It’s another example where a company must be making hundreds of thousands – no millions – of dollars peddling crap. On the bright side, when you swim in a sea of useless and buggy software, it’s easy to feel good about putting an honest day’s work into quality programming, and working with people who share these values.