Fractions may be your friend, but they can trip up Microsoft!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2014/11/04 16:08 +00:00, original URI:

Microsoft is a huge multibillion dollar company.

In fact, they are so big that they are self payers for things like health insurance. Now Microsoft doesn't get into a complex business like health insurance. But they pay the bills quite generously, a fact that I myself (not to mention many others!) have benefited from.

The truth is, however, that they don't only do this with health insurance. They also do it with other things. Things like disability insurance (which I am currently on, as I deal with problems like trigeminal neuralgia).

But only the short term disability insurance.

Even though Prudential Insurance administers both short term and long term disability claims, Microsoft is self pay for only the latter, not for the former.

Now none of this is really all that much of a secret. Unfortunately, there are some problems with it, at least two of which I am suffering from.

FIRST, they and/or their (internal?) payroll tools can't handle basic fractions, and I'm not talking about complex number type fractions but simple ones like 3/4, aka 75% (the amount that my short term disability insurance covers).

And it is the internal tools that handle paying that 3/4; they simply leave the pesky details like medical necessity and such to Prudential.

Since over the course of the 26 weeks they have overpaid just as often as they underpaid, I can't assume any malice here. As they say, one should never assume conspiracy when garden variety incompetence will do. However, this leads to their next problem, something that I'm sure you knew was coming.

SECOND, they are really worried about a particular overpayment.

There is the letter they sent me, just the other day, at the same time another letter (one also sent by email) reminded me about open election of benefits for next year, by the way (that other letter would likely lead to deciding just how Microsoft was going to give me tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, during calendar year 2015).

I would provide a copy of the letter, but it contains many internal email addresses and the exact amount of my salary for anyone able to reverse engineer the whole 3/4 or 75% thing.

You see, with twenty six (26) weeks notice, they apparently miscalculated the end date of my short term disability insurance claim and the start of my long term disability insurance claim.

By three days.

Let me stop for a moment and repeat that last bit, since in the words of George Carlin it seems vaguely important.


Now there are some people at Microsoft (like Satya and a long line of vice presidents and distinguished engineers and technical fellows and partner architects who have such impressive salaries that 3/4 or 75% of three days might make a huge dent in Microsoft's bottom line.

However, as a lowly Senior Program Manager with a bunch of knowledge about Internationalization, some mild knowledge regarding Unicode, and an uncanny expertise in keyboard layouts is hardly making enough for three days to matter.

Now I don't think I am overstating my case to point out that are either obnoxiously greedy or pathologically impatient.

Either the doctors will figure out my medical problems (so I can return to work) or they won't (in which case they'll give me my severance and wish me well). In either case, they'll have a way to get their three days worth soon enough.

What the hell is the rush that they have to interrupt my feeble attempts at recovery to deal with this crap right now?

For now, I'm going to ignore it and focus on my recovery. It's not like they're going to take me to court to get their three days pay back faster. From someone in a wheelchair. Good luck with that....

For a company with so many smart people, they can sometimes do the stupidest things, you know?

# Oops they did it again! | Sorting it all Out, v2! on 2015-12-15 12:49:58:

[…] all started with Fractions may be your friend, but they can trip you up at Microsoft where some basic inability for some small part of microsoft to handle basic fractions led them to […]

# Microsoft can really be a bully, sometimes | Sorting it all Out, v2! on 2015-12-15 12:54:41:

[…] Fractions may be your friend, but they can trip up Microsoft! […]

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referenced by

2015/05/14 Oops they did it again!

2015/04/09 Microsoft can really be a bully, sometimes

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