Leave application rejected

Teaching students? – forget about it … The pressing work of law faculty academics is filling out online forms and formatting medical certificates … Dr Criminale flunks his test with the university’s Office of Strategy and Outcomes 

Breathe deeply, I tell myself. Calm … relax … think of the ocean.

“Leave Application Rejected.”

The title of the email was enough to cause an outburst of swearing.

How can an application for sick leave be rejected? Either I was in my sick bed or I wasn’t.

The medical certificate attached to my application was pretty good evidence that I hadn’t been in Fiji for the week.

I didn’t choose to start coughing-up chunks. Perhaps the flu bugs could give HR the courtesy of a forewarning in future?

“Criminale is on our hit list for Week 7 – prepare yourselves.” 

No doubt I would still have some online form to complete. The thought of having to fill out that leave form a second time has my blood simmering.

What could possibly have been the problem? I open the email.

“Your application was rejected for the following reason(s): [ER07:Invalid format] Your supporting document was not in the correct format (PDF).”

You told me to attach a scan of the medical certificate. I did that. How can I be responsible for the format?

Now I have to waste more time figuring out how to re-scan the certificate to get it into the correct format.

Of course, posting a paper version to someone is not an available option.

So many forms, so many wasted hours – such is the lot of today’s academic.

I’m reminded of an incident last session when I needed the whiteboard in my lecture room cleaned, after another academic had used a permanent marker.

I emailed someone in Building Services to make the request. The following day I received a reply advising that I had notified the wrong member of staff and that I needed to contact some department known as the Office of Strategy and Outcomes.

At length a person from that organisation sent me an email directing me to complete an online form so that the “works request” could be properly submitted.

After completing half the form I noticed text at the bottom that indicated that lodgement of this document was not possible without the approval of the Deputy Dean, evidence of which had to be provided in the form of an approval number.

In the end I bought a bottle of whiteboard cleaner from Officeworks and cleaned it myself.

It’s a time-honoured classic bureaucratic tactic. Make life impossible and the customers will surrender. 

In revenge for my wasted time I am tempted to do nothing further and let them sweat the absence of the completed form. After all, it’s sick leave.

Then the thought struck me that the same form needs to be used to apply for holiday leave. When I put in for my leave at the end of the year they would get me. I have no choice but to comply.

So, the form again.

Application number: no idea, leave blank (worked last time). Leave type: sick leave. Leave start date: 2 Sep. Leave end date: 6 Sep. Medical certificate attached: yes (in correct damn format). Doctor’s name: Dr Feelgood. Doctor’s address: leave blank (why not try reading the certificate?). Diagnosis [choose one]: infection (sounds grander than influenza … by the way, have you heard of privacy over there at HR?). Med Cert. Valid from: 2 Sep. Med Cert Valid to: 6 Sep (tried to catch me out, didn’t you?).

Double-check to ensure no stuff-ups. Get a cup of tea first, then hit “submit”.

The screen responds: “Time out: your session has expired. Please log in again.”

I feel sick, again.