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Excel Exhaustion: An Administrator’s Struggle in Incentive Trip Planning

Amy, a newcomer to the world of administration, stepped into her role with a mix of excitement and apprehension. Her first assignment was to manage the registration for an overseas trip offered by her company to its members. The task seemed straightforward enough, but as Amy would soon find out, the devil is always in the details.

The company, a membership-based organization, categorized its members into three levels: Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The trip was an incentive, subsidized by the company, initially offered to the most active members across these categories. The heads of various centers were tasked with identifying these active members and providing their details, including a unique access code generated from the center’s postal code and the last four digits of the members’ phone numbers, to comply with privacy laws.

Amy’s job was to collate all this information and coordinate with the IT department to ensure that only eligible members could register for the trip using their access codes. The data received by Amy came in phases, and Amy copy and paste the access codes into separate worksheets for ease of reference.

The first download went smoothly enough. Amy, while new to Excel, found the process of matching the names on the registration forms to her eligibility list straightforward, albeit time-consuming. The challenge began with the subsequent downloads. She had to identify new registrations, ensuring she didn’t overwrite the cleaned data from the first round. This process had to be repeated for each new batch of data.

As the registration period progressed, Amy found herself buried under an avalanche of data. Names varied, with slight differences between the names provided by center heads and those on the passports, making manual verification a painstaking task. Each round of data cleaning was more tedious than the last, as she had to carefully sift through the new entries to avoid duplicating her efforts.

The room-sharing arrangements added another layer of complexity. Some members had preferences about who they wanted to share rooms with, either from their own location or another. Amy had to meticulously match these preferences against the registration list, assigning room numbers and ensuring that everyone’s needs were met. This required her to go through the list name by name, a process that took several days and demanded her full attention to detail.

Once the room assignments were finalized, Amy faced the daunting task of distributing the information to various centers and in-charges. She had to filter the data for each center, copy the relevant information, and ensure that it reached the right hands. This final step, while seemingly simple, was fraught with the potential for error.

Throughout this process, Amy experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. The initial excitement of taking on her first significant project quickly gave way to anxiety and stress. The fear of making a mistake loomed large, knowing that any error could mean redoing hours, if not days, of work. The manual nature of the task, coupled with the pressure to ensure accuracy, was mentally and physically exhausting.

After two full weeks of meticulous work, Amy finally completed her assignment. The sense of relief was palpable, but so was the fatigue. The experience was a harsh introduction to the realities of her new role, highlighting the potential for human error in manual data processing and the emotional toll it can take.
Amy took up an Excel course to relieve of some of the manual task but the improvement was minimal.
She happened to talk to her neighbour about the problem and Jason, being the Excel expert and the also versed in data analytics shared with her how to incorporate data analytics into the Excel problem and helped her to save 90% of the time spent on the task. Her data were now almost 100% accurate and she received lots of compliments for a work well done in her second year organizing the incentive trip.

Looking back, Amy realized the importance of attention to detail, the value of patience, and the need for efficient data management strategies. It was a lesson learned the hard way, but one that would undoubtedly shape her approach to future assignments.