Thursday, February 19, 2004

What was that word? What exactly does it mean? Why are we using it?

Infrastructure
Pronunciation: 'in-fr&-"str&k-ch&r,
Function: noun
1 : the underlying foundation or basic framework (as of a system or organization)
2 : the permanent installations required for military purposes
3 : the system of public works of a country, state, or region; also : the resources (as personnel, buildings, or equipment) required for an activity

From the Merriam Webster dictionary online.

When people start throwing words like "infrastructure" around you know that they've brought out the bucket of Corp-speak tricks. I personally think that it's just another example of corporate b.s. that business groups affix to their name... so that their group appears to actually be useful or important. Perhaps they want to be vague about what their group actually does. When my group refers to itself, they use the word infrastructure in our official title. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me considering the official definition for the word as it is above. Maybe, I'm just missing some obvious point here and I'm too dumb to figure it out. When I read the word 'infrastructure' as part of our name, I assume that we are claiming that we offer tools and services that fit the needs of all other like/or related groups within the company. However, I know that our tools really only apply to a smaller sector or group of individuals (which of course is fine, if we can also assume that the company heavily relies upon this group or groups to bring in their 'bread and butter.').

I've just got a little issue with how my group uses the word "infrastructure" because I personally feel that they're not marketing themselves honestly and clearly. But perhaps I'm just ultra-naive about how things are run here and that the first business in our business is highly concerned with the politics that surrounds us and that we need to be CONSTANTLY sensitive about how we market ourselves or who we rub the wrong way.

I've always felt a little repressed in this group because we've been seen as having a lower rank to other individuals within the company because of what we do as a result we seem constantly be on the defensive about our doings and our project task lists. The economy's in pretty bad shape now, but even before things started to slide we were constantly trying to justify that we were 1.) cost-effective 2.) had value to the company's main goals.

It always felt like we were seen as the ugly and ill-favored step child. I began to see other signs that this group was perhaps not the best place to be, such as a number of sinecures who'd found there place in the structure and were so entrenched that they spent much of their time and energy defending their existence in the group. In fact, there are a number of people here who have been in the same role for at least 8 or 10 years, maybe more. It seems to me that if you are working for a group that is built to succeed and move forward most people in the group would stay in a single role for no more that say 2 or 3 years. However, I'd noticed that there was an overwhelming number of these positions that had been around for almost a decade. I suddenly became aware that we were also surrounded by a bureaucracy built up around the 'infrastructure' like tartar on bad teeth. Maybe all of the things I've just describe are the earmarks of a dysfunctional business group. I'm not really sure. After all, I'm not very savvy in all of these things. I'm just paid to do my job.

(I'm trying to make an effort to use the new words I learn each day.)
si·ne·cure : an office or position that requires little or no work and that usually provides an income

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