Unhappy returns

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The time has come and I am not liking it whatsoever. Mostly because I feel it is so unnecessary. I can literally do this anywhere in the world and having an office, a cubical, is the most unwanted and unnecessary thing in the world right now.

Tomorrow, I have to start going back to the office.

The telecommute policy has been expanded, but that still means I am going to have to go back to the office on an average of two, sometimes three, days a week, depending on the month and various other activities that need in-person attendance.

Of course, we all now know that nothing really requires an in-person presence since we have been away from the office for 15 months straight and we have been doing our job completely and totally without fail for that time.

As you can probably assume, or tell, I am not stoked about this in any way.

Changing telecommute

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Well, after telecommuting full time for the last 16 months, there is a date to start going back to the office and I am not sure I am all that happy about it. Actually, I am sure that I am not. I lied. I am not happy about it.

Yes, I realize that the expectation to be at the office for work has always been there but this whole situation has fully exposed the fact that we don’t need to be in an office to get our job done. We have proven beyond that shadow of a doubt that our job can be done fully remote and that our clients have been affected to the smallest degree possible. In fact, many have commented over the this time about not really even realizing we were all working from home except that they knew we were working from home. That’s how we roll. There was no break in service, ever.

Anyway, the time has come to get back to the office and there will still be a telecommute policy as before, except that there is a new proposal to expand upon it. Frankly, I don’t think the expansion goes far enough and while I haven’t talked to any of my co-workers yet, I am sure there are quite a few who will express similar feelings.

Prior to the pandemic, we were allowed two days a week (40%, with a few limitations on what days they could be). Now, we are going to be allowed three days a week (60%, not sure of limitations yet). Also what remains to be seen is whether or not this policy has built in flexibility, meaning I don’t have to have a set three days but can pick and choose when I want to telecommute.

Anyway, I don’t think three days is enough.

It could be and should be more.

Perhaps I’ll see what is out there, in regards to full time telecommute and whether or not a change can be had.

Never hurts to have options, right?

Turned on it’s head

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There are a whole lot of things in this crazy, mixed up world that have been turned on their heads. It seems the “upside down” (without the scary monsters…ok, maybe just different monsters…) is for real and we are all living in it now. We can’t avoid it and it seems kicking and screaming about it won’t change it either.

I got an indication of what going back to work (like actually back to the office – because I have been working the whole time) is going to look like, and I don’t like what I am hearing.

So, the head honcho has said that when it is time to be back in the office (projected as August 1, right now) that you will have to wear a mask unless you are vaccinated and they have documented proof that you are vaccinated.

My frustration level, and my irritation level, have hit all time highs now. As I am sure you are aware if you have been reading this blog (does anyone actually do that or do you just click?) for any amount of time over the last year, that I am strongly against people providing proof of vaccination in any manner whatsoever. I believe it is a violation of privacy, leads to segregation and discrimination.

But, it appears that we are going to throw hundreds of years of vaccination understanding out the door in the name of fear.

Mainly, what’s the reason for getting a vaccination?

The simple answer is to protect someone from contracting a disease. Does it completely work in eliminating the risk? No. A vaccinated person can still get the disease, but the likelihood of it being as severe as what an unvaccinated person would experience is reduced greatly.

Immunity, as we have come to understand it, is developed through “active” exposure (coming in contact naturally) and “passive” exposure (being given a vaccine). So, as more and more people have been exposed to Covid (via either method) the more people who are protected against it.

We have seen this for years and years and years with polio, measles, mumps, small pox, chicken pox, etc. Childhood vaccinations were endured by many. We also see many people who get through the flu shot every year because they want to avoid the effects of the flu (or at least as much as possible).

So, if we understand how the shot works for the flu and all the other vaccinations, why are there demands for people to continue wearing masks when there is no reason to?

If you have had the flu shot, do you need to worry about people who haven’t had the flu shot? Do we make those people wear masks at work?

If you have had the measles vaccination, do you have to worry about people who haven’t had the measles vaccine? Do we make those coworkers without the vaccination wear a mask at work?

Do people who haven’t had a vaccine worry about the people who have had the vaccine? If someone chooses to be unvaccinated and not wear a mask, should they worry about getting the disease? No, because the likelihood of getting goes down with each person who has developed immunity to it one way or another.

As I look at the “rules” for going back to the office, I can’t help but wonder where we decided to turn everything we know about vaccinations upside down and ignore hundreds of years of practice simply because this one disease has caused so much undo fear.

If the vaccinated aren’t afraid of other vaccinated people, then do they need to be fearful of unvaccinated people? NO! They are protected. That’s why they got the vaccination in the first place!

Gosh people are stupid.

Perhaps I’ll start looking for a job where I don’t have to go into an office any longer. Anyone got a job offer that would allow me to work from home and allow me to earn what I currently earn? I would seriously consider it. Seriously.

How about “No”?

There is at least one in everyone’s life. There is at least one in everyone’s working sphere. There is always one. They are exhausting, annoying, and their success in getting to “Yes” is a rarity.

That person who won’t take “No” for an answer.

Good grief, I wanna shove an ice pick into my ear as deep as it will go and then wiggle it around like I am trying to make round cookie balls.

I jut got off the phone with a client who, no matter how many times I explained the limitations of the software and no matter how many times I explained the exact same info in a different way, she still wouldn’t accept that she couldn’t bend the software to her will.

She even suggested that maybe the people who made the software could program what she wanted into the software.

OK, that might have been a viable (and costly) answer in the past, but the software developers are focused on the new version of the software and aren’t taking requests for the current software even if the client pays for it.

Instead of adapting to the way it works and educating the people who use it (or are expected to use it), she just wants it to work the way she wants it to work.

OK, lady, we’ll get on it just for you.

No, not really. Stop asking already.

I am the fourth person you have talked to about this. We have pushed the software as far and as close to what you want, but there is a limit and our answers are all the same.

NO

We can’t do any more for you.

NO

NO

Got it?

Anyone else have a person that just take “NO” for an answer?

The instructions

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Stop trying to take the easy way out. By easy way, I mean the one where you have someone else do it for you.

Nearly everything you buy these days, nearly everything you work with these days, nearly EVERYTHING has some kind of “User Guide, “User Manual,” “Setup Guide,” “Assembly Instructions,” “Directions for Use,” etc.

Seriously. Have you opened a box of anything and not found at least some documentation with directions or instructions of some sort – either right there on the paper or directions to find them online? So there is honestly no excuse for not knowing what to do, how to use it, or how to set it up.

Unfortunately, society has become a bunch of “anti-instructionists.” (Yes, I made that up, but I can’t think of anything else to call it.)

It used to be that the cliché was that men were notorious for not reading the instructions and just jumping right in to figure it out (even if it meant taking something apart multiple times to get it right). That cliché has been turned on it’s head as, apparently, all people are just too lazy to read/learn/discover/follow directions. So many people are just willing to have someone else do it for them (or, to put it more bluntly – DEMAND you do it for them).

I know I am a little bit on the unusual side, since I do in fact take time to read the documentation included with a product, or posted online. I don’t always read them AT the moment of unboxing but I do eventually get to it. It depends on the level of complexity involved. I have even read the manuals that came with my car (hey, I like knowing about all the features that I may or may not use!). So, I do go through the trouble to learn about something. Sometimes it is trial and error and sometimes it is because I actually put effort into it and did it the right way.

Work lately…work lately is a bunch of people who don’t bother to read the documentation the software owner puts out. They don’t read all the supplemental documentation we create to further assist in use of the software. Hell, they don’t even watch the video we produce to give them visual aid in using the software. Instead, they just call use and take the easy way out – they want us to do it for them.

It’s frustrating that day after day after day people call and ask the exact same questions they asked three days ago, or 24 hours ago, or 6 weeks ago. Seriously, people, it’s part of YOUR job. Learn it. Read it. Discover it. Work in it and work at it. You aren’t going to have a crutch all the damn time.

OK.

Deep breath.

I guess my rant is over.

What type of person are you? Do you read the instructions and learn or do you completely ignore them and rely on someone else to do it for you? Do you follow directions to do things correctly or do you just make it up as you go and hope for good results?

What type of person are you?

Inappropriate display

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Is it appropriate for a teacher to display a “Black Lives Matter” poster on their wall or wear a t-shirt with the same message? Is it appropriate for a teacher to leave a Bible or other religious text sitting on their desk? Is it appropriate for a teacher to promote one political party over another? Is it appropriate for any of these things to be done while with students and on school time?

I was doing a training the other day with a school district and one of the teachers participating in the Zoom meeting had a poster on the back wall, in plain view of the camera, that essentially was advocating for a political viewpoint. Obviously this teacher was demonstrating they were an “activist” of sorts and wanted whomever was seeing them on camera to see that they felt a certain way about certain issues currently on the forefront of conversations for society as a whole.

I found the poster to be inappropriate for a teacher to be displaying – especially if this was a background that would be seen by students. I didn’t find it inappropriate because I disagreed with the subject matter. I found it in appropriate because I see it as a violation of professional standards.

Now, before I continue, I want to reiterate that I am all for free speech and allowing people to express their views. If you have spent time on this blog over the years you would know this. I don’t have many instances where expression of one’s views should be limited because I believe that the expression of one’s self is that important.

However, having been a high school teacher and an American Government teacher and knowing enough about freedoms within the school and limitations of those freedoms, there would seem to be a double standards – again.

Professional standards say that, as people who have a position of power over students, our personal views should be kept to ourselves. In the past this has generally been applied to things like politics and religion. The reasoning behind this is that students are moldable and if given undue influence, they might take on the beliefs or thoughts of their teacher. Makes sense, and as a teacher I tried to keep the students guessing when it came to these two topics – not my job to instill these things in students, that’s their parents’ job and eventually they should develop these views and opinions on their own with their own reasoning.

However, over the last 20 years, it has been more acceptable for teachers to express their political views but not their religious views. When I was teaching I heard my own colleagues express their political views in the classroom with students. I have had my daughter relate to me that one of her teachers was actually passing out bumper stickers for one particular presidential candidate. Conversely, I have seen and heard of school employees and teachers being punished for expressing their religious views or even practicing their religion while on school grounds.

Is it another double standard? Is it another practice of “it’s ok for me, but not for you” when it comes to politics and religion?

Look, it should be all of one, or all of the other. Either keep all politics and religion out of the classroom or allow all politics and religion in the classroom.

But, what do you think? Is there a fine line between what is appropriate and what isn’t? Is one more acceptable than the other?

Sprung

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Sorry for being (mostly) MIA this week.

A major project and presentation was sprung on me two days ago and I had/have less than nine days to get ready for it. Oh, and that also means I have to prep for it and plan it while still doing the rest of my job.

Sure, I have a team to help with it some, but in order to have them help I have to have interim meetings along the way…which means planning for those meetings…

Thankful for a job, but hating it these days.

Project list

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Who else has a seemingly never ending project list at work?

I kid you not, every time I finally get to knock a project off my list three more get added. Or, let’s put it this way…every time I get close to the surface and can actually start treading water something grabs me and pulls me farther underwater.

Yes, I know I shouldn’t be complaining – job security and all.

But there is a point where you just feel like if they add one more you are going to break. Luckily, I am still working from the garage-office (or garoffice, if you will) and I can literally scream or yell when I need to. It really does let off steam, and it is slightly more productive than throwing office products.

They just keep piling it on and I am just lining it up. Deadlines? HA! I scoff at deadlines. You can’t keep piling this stuff up and think that deadlines are going to be met. When the work whistle goes off, I go home (well, I am already home so picture me turning off the light and walking out).

Anyway, how are you doing today? Do you have an overwhelming list of things to do, or are you good? Got good balance at work?

Commiserate with me. Spill your tactics for dealing with that overwhelming work load.

Sick days

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What are your feelings on Sick Days? Have you or do you currently work in a position that offers you Sick Days? If you had access to Sick Days, did you use them? Maybe a better question is how did you use them?

Kind of loaded questions, probably. Here’s another…does they way you use your Sick Days say anything about you, like as a person?

As most of you understand, a paid Sick Day is for those times when you (or someone in your family) are physically ill and it wouldn’t be a good idea to go to work (or you need to care for someone), or if you (or someone in your family) have medical appointments you need to attend. In general, these are the only acceptable uses of your Sick Day(s).

With that being the general understanding of how a Sick Day is supposed to be used, where do you stand when people use a Sick day for something other than those two reasons?

Examples of other uses:

A co-worker takes a Sick Day because they want to take an extra day on either end of a holiday or vacation.

A co-worker uses a Sick Day to go shopping, or to take a beach/lake/whatever day – basically like a vacation day.

You take a Sick Day as a “mental health” day.

You aren’t sick, but just don’t feel like dealing with your co-workers today so you use a Sick Day.

A co-worker is avoiding doing part of their job so they take a Sick Day.

Obviously, there are lots of scenarios where someone could use a Sick Day for something other than being sick.

So, how do you feel about it? Is anything acceptable now?

I have some 100 days of Sick Leave accrued from the last 19+ years (15 year of teaching and 4+ in my current position).

I very rarely used my Sick Days when I was a teacher because it was just easier to go to school than it was to get a sub (all teachers feel this way), and I almost never use more than half of my allotted Sick Days in my current position. So, I have a large bank of days to draw from should I need them.

I guess this all comes from the fact that some of my co-workers have used all their Sick Days up (because they didn’t use them for their intended use) and then something happens and they need to ask for people to voluntarily gift them Sick Days. I know people who regularly (and often) take Sick Days to just do whatever they want because they can and no one questions them about it.

What do you think?

Do you think poorly of the people who use the benefit in such a way, or do you think it is OK to take an occasional “mental health” day?

Drop your thoughts, or experiences, in the comments. Really curious what you all think!