At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Another minor crisis at the library, but this one may partially be my fault--you be the judge. This morning the boss walked up to my desk with the latest report from our business office and said "According to this we're $40,000 under budget." This was puzzling because I kept a close watch on our balance throughout the year and I was, if anything, afraid I might have gone a couple of hundred dollars in the red. I won't bore you with the details of my subsequent three-hour investigation, but finally I discovered that the Excel spreadsheet my predecessor created had one fatal flaw: the formula used to determine each division's slice of the pie did not involve the variable name of the spreadsheet cell (e.g. Q32) containing this particular year's total budget, but instead the specific dollar amount of the total budget a number of years ago (e.g. $62,340). (That explanation isn't especially clear, I admit.) Anyway, the upshot is that for the past few years we've been going increasingly under budget because the spreadsheet formulas weren't taking into account budget increases. I'm not sure how much responsibility to feel for this fiasco. I didn't create the spreadsheet, but I did assume that it was properly designed without checking it over first. And I noticed last year that we were about $10,000 under budget, but I had attributed this to the fluctuating prices of one of the book vendors we use.

Despite being under budget, I had some difficulty getting all the money spent, so this year, with the properly inflated figures, I can be a real spendthrift.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel so sorry for you. Poor Carlos. Now you have to order more books. Awwwwww.


5:26 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

That perennial temptation of the collection development librarian--purchasing materials based on one's own interests, not those of the patrons--might be even more pressing with the additional funds. Mmm, the Ignatius Press complete works of Chesterton, thirty something volumes...all ninety-plus novels of P.G. Wodehouse...the CUA edition of the Church Fathers...

7:10 AM  

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