Project list

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

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

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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!

Estimate on the estimate?

Photo by Marianne on Pexels.com

Working with contractors is a frustrating endeavor. Sometimes I wonder how some of these outfits stay in business since they apparently have a hard time following through with even the simplest part of the job – giving a potential customer an estimate or bid for a proposed project.

Now, maybe I am wrong (I have been know to do that once in a while) but I would think that these business would be falling all over themselves to line up jobs for the year. At the very least, get the estimate out there for consideration. Granted, not every potential client will choose them for varying reasons, but you can’t get a job if you don’t give the customer even the chance to consider you.

I am looking at having a concrete patio build off the back of the house (its not a small job) and I would like someone who knows what they heck they are doing rather than a few “weekend warriors” to tackle it with me. So, I have called about 17 different businesses in the landscaping to concrete categories. Of those calls, only 14 had the courtesy to call back, 11 came out to look at the project, and only 8 have submitted a bid for consideration.

Are these companies THAT busy that they just don’t need the work? Are they overwhelmed with job opportunities and can’t get the process started? I am confused as to why even the easy part is difficult to do.

I texted two of the businesses that came by to look at the job and said they would submit an estimate within a few days. Four days after they stopped by I asked for an estimated time on when they would get the estimate sent off to me. So, I asked for an estimate on the estimate. Only one has bothered to respond so far, and he has set his deadline for himself as “today.” I guess I’ll see.

Anyway, thought I would vent about a frustrating process I have been dealing with for over a month. I am hoping to have a decision made by the end of the week, so fingers crossed I get a couple more estimates to work with and compare.

Anyone else had a (or multiple) frustrating interaction with a contractor as of late? What has been your experience in the last year or so (setting aside that many couldn’t work for a short while because of “precautions” related to Covid-19)?

When it don’t

Photo by Aditya Singh on Pexels.com

Yesterday. Yesterday was a challenge. Well, not the whole day, but a part of the day that mattered more than the rest, if that makes sense.

Like most people who are working from home these days, Zoom or Teams or whatever video conferencing platform you use is kind of an essential part of your job. Meeting with clients, meeting with your supervisors/teammates/co-workers, or meeting with potential clients is something that typically needs to be done several times throughout the day.

Yesterday, I was co-hosting a meeting (a training) with clients and the challenges of the day started shortly after the meeting began.

First, the video started to freeze and the sound was choppy. Then the internet just dropped altogether.

Gone. Kicked outta the meeting.

I frantically tried to reconnect, and within a minute or two I am back in the meeting. Apologies to my co-worker and clients.

15 minutes later I am dropped again.

This time, after waiting for over 5 minutes to get a signal back, I find there just is no internet at all. Damn. Wait several minutes, still no internet. Wait several more minutes, look to see if there is internet by staring at the router. It says there is WiFi, but of course that just means it is broadcasting not that there is data being transferred.

I tell my phone to stop using WiFi and then log into the Xfinity app. Sure enough, internet is down for maintenance in the area. Affected customers is between 51-500. “Expected restoration of services…” is an hour and a half. Seriously?

How about a little warning? Or, better yet, if this was an unexpected outage, how about a text message with info letting me know this info without me having to become a detective for the internet signal?

Thankfully the outage didn’t last as long as they estimated. The internet came back and I logged back into the meeting after 30 minutes. It appeared that I might get kicked from the meeting again after 20 minutes, but apparently they figured out something and I was able to co-host as expected.

The internet is obviously a necessity these days, especially when it comes to work.

But, when it don’t work, it don’t work. And neither do you.

Buffer

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

I made a mistake. I think (at least I think I think) I knew better, but I ignored my better instincts that told me I should do something that I did not.

I should have left a buffer day between returning from vacation and going back to work.

This getting home late and then getting up early for work stuff is terrible.

Of course, now I am on the second day back at work but I can now see that yesterday was a terrible day. There was just too much to do on the personal side of things to get caught up on time to work on the work side of things too. That cause stress…probably self-imposed stress, but stress nonetheless.

I think it is smart to include that buffer day. A day to catch up on home stuff, ease back into the regular schedule, and mentally prepare for what is to come once back at work. I didn’t do the buffer day because I was trying to be frugal with the vacation days. Not that I have to be, that’s just the way I am.

Anyway, regular schedule is back in full swing and I am not fully adjusted. But, it is what it is.

Retirement looks better and better, 20 years from now…

The road seems so long.

Screeching

Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Pexels.com

The Christmas break for schools is over and that can only mean a screeching halt to the quiet days at work. Also, that means a screeching halt to anything that resembled my days off.

I had three days in a row last week where I got more than 8 hours of sleep, and I must say that felt really nice. The time off for the holidays was both relaxing and productive, if that makes sense.

There is a lot of screeching going on today.

Now, the clients are back to screeching in our ears about the endless issues they seem to have, all related to the fact that each month they have the same issues in completing their job tasks as they had the month previous. How many times do we have to help people do their jobs?

People screeching about the election (still).

People screeching about covid (still).

People screeching about the weather (always).

People screech about their sports team and whether they are in or out.

People screeching about their health.

People screeching about a stimulus they don’t really deserve (or need).

The media screeching about some crisis they want us to pay attention to so they can generate clicks and money by being concerned about the next thing they want us to be concerned about.

People on social media screeching about some perceived injustice so it can be the flavor of the month for something that isn’t really an issue until they decided to make it an issue.

People screeching about WHATEVER.

Can you all just shut up now?

I prefer the peace and quiet of what were four days off of nothing. That was the ticket. I need more of that.

Slow day

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

The work day is crawling today.

There are barely any help tickets and the only thing left to do is work on projects…and I don’t want to.

Can we all just go home now?

Staring at the screen waiting for something to happen is mind numbing.

OK, fine, I’ll work on projects.

But I am not going to like it.

Mind reader

Photo by Gantas Vaiu010diulu0117nas on Pexels.com

I provide customer support to school district for their SIS. I have clients all the time that apparently think we are mind readers because they give us no details in order to investigate an issue.

Today’s email:

Hello, one of my teachers has posted his grades but some still show as not posted. Can you tell me why this is so so I can pass it along?

What am I supposed to do with this? There is nothing in this email that gives me any clue what to investigate other than it is a teacher and has something to do with his gradebook.

This should be proof about customer service people and why they are already irritated before you even start talking to them. If you are going to be a smart customer/client, you have to provide the people that help you with detailed information not just “it’s broke and I don’t know what to do.”

Now, I have to call this client and ask questions before I can even begin to investigate the issue. This is a waste of my time and a waste of theirs as well. It could be easily fixed, but I won’t know this on the initial call because I will have to get more info first.

*shakes head in disgust*

Come on people, work with us here. We aren’t mind readers.

Last minute

Photo by Mat Brown on Pexels.com

Nothing like starting the day off at work thinking you are going to be doing one thing, only to find out that that plan is totally out and you will be doing something completely different and something you haven’t prepared for at all.

I got thrown into a training today, on a piece of the software that I am somewhat familiar with but by no means an expert on. Someone else has been prepping for this training for weeks and they were ill so they couldn’t do the training this morning. Luckily they had written a script for the training and I had an outline to work from. Otherwise there would have been a lot more fumbling around than there was.

The training went fine (I think) with only a few little spots where I needed a little help from my co-host, but the software was demonstrated and is now at least familiar to those who might be using it.

I may not get the best training ratings though. As someone who has sat through plenty of trainings, you can always tell when the trainer isn’t as familiar with the subject matter as they would like to be. That was me this morning. So, I imagine the reviews won’t be all the great.

Oh well. Good thing my paycheck doesn’t depend on it at this point.