Thursday, March 11, 2010

It Rolls Down Hill

I'm a fairly new hire at my current job. The receptionist was ill, so I was asked to take her place. I have lots of experience at reception and have learned how to direct phone and foot traffic to the correct departments with some skill. So, it shouldn't pose much of a challenge. However, you have to consider the environment. Our clients are all business owners and very demanding. Our staff is very casual about answering their phones and take their sweet time returning calls despite the urgency of the caller. It pains me to hear a person desperate to resolve some matter, directed to the right department, and then given no response. Now, our company pays for nearly every employee to have a cell phone, allowing them to be fully mobile and fully accessible. So, the customers call, and call, and call--their fury growing with each call--and the only ear they are accessing is mine! All I can do as the receptionist is transfer their call. It is infuriating. But the saving grace is that when the phones aren't ringing, the receptionist is free to surf the internet, email friends and family, etc.

I winced at the prospect of filling in as the receptionist, but decided to tolerate the task by promising myself a leisurely communication with a beloved cousin via email. But the department head wanted to spend a third day on downloading ringtones for her new company cell phone, so she passed her work to another clerk. That clerk, in turn, passed her work to me. Reading in my facial expression that I was not pleased, she assured me that the work had been done. I simply needed to check her work for accuracy.

Again, I was content. I accepted the task and began browsing the documents. I discovered that while all of the documents had been completed, they had been done wrong! And so, what should have taken half an hour, suddenly became an all-day job. And with a deadline of tomorrow too!

I love hard work. I love busy work. I love detailed jobs. I even love deadlines. But I have no intention of doing all of the work myself! Besides, if you do all of the work, you bear all of the responsibility. And that isn't a fair burden for a new hire.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Caught In The Middle

I have been with this employer just long enough for them to realize that I am a valuable asset. Now, having worked in several departments, I am “in demand.” Two department heads are pushing and shoving over which days I will work for whom, and I am caught in the middle. You might think this could work to my advantage. Not so. In this economy, there is plenty of room for advancement, as long as you are willing to do twice the work for the same pay.

The department for which I was hired is run by a nice woman who thinks of me as her child. She dotes on me, expects little, and appreciates even the smallest accomplishments. But she is reluctant to train me and discourages any ambition on my part, assuring me that I’m doing enough as it is. This department cannot justify fulltime hours. There is no opportunity for advancement, unless someone dies.

To fill my time, I am occasionally sent to another department to file and perform other menial tasks. That department head has seen potential and has been training me in her own duties, hoping to take a long vacation this year. She’d like to leave her job in hands she can trust and wants to offer me a fulltime position in her department. She is much more exacting, but still very nice.

Well, this week, due to a death in the family, the second department desperately needed my services. However, my department head forbade it and they worked something else out to get things covered in the short-handed department. I don’t mind working in either department, but the relationship between the head of HR and my department head worries me exceedingly. I think, ultimately, it could prevent me from receiving any sort of promotion in the future.

Monday, March 1, 2010

More On Mom

Mom returned from vacation. I hoped that she would buckle down and look for a job. I even gave her a very good lead for a job that would suite her. The money is right, the timing is perfect, and the job description fits her skill set perfectly. She thanked me for looking out for her but sees no need to hunt for a job until she is sure there is no opportunity to return to her current employer. She had no trouble receiving her unemployment benefits and feels she can live off of the amount she's getting now. So, although she realizes that she could get into a jam, she's not going to worry about it or take any action until it is absolutely necessary. And then, she'll be relying on me to find a job for her, using my laptop, having me edit her resume. She'll also be demanding my brother for a job with his little fledgling company (knowing full well that it too physically demanding for a woman). I just hope that her employer gets things together before her unemployment benefits run out. Then all will be well.

Hoping for the best would not prevent me from exhaustively preparing for any and all possible outcomes. I'm far too untrusting to have to depend on others, and too proud to ask for assistance.