No, I’m sorry

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19 days.

For that.

I waited 19 days to hear from HR about a question I asked to get in response, “No, I’m sorry.”

GEE, thanks. Good thing I didn’t ask an important question.

I asked if they knew the “program code” for a supplement to the healthcare program provided by the state. Not a tough question. Not one that I expected would take 19 days to answer.

When I submitted the question I anticipated an answer in a day or two. I figured it would be something they knew since it was provided by the state and encouraged by the state to participate. They should know this, right? I though so too.

After a couple of days of hearing nothing, I was wondering what was going on. Mind you, after seven days I no longer needed the answer I was looking for. I gave up trying to get signed up. After seven days I figured someone might be trying to track down the information since they should probably know this to pass along to others who  might need it.

After two weeks of hearing nothing I just assumed the HR department had decided to ignore my question so I forgot all about the fact that I even asked it.

On day 19 I get a “No, I’m sorry.”

There’s no ‘Sorry it took so long to get back to you’ or ‘I tried finding the information and had no luck.” No ‘You’ll have to work with the program provider to get that info’ or ‘Here’s a number you can try.’

So, I can only conclude that little to no effort was put into my question and therefore the response AND getting any info, let alone a response, from the HR department in a timely manner is out of the question. I can also assume that when this email was seen 15-18 days ago it was too much trouble to respond with the “No, I’m sorry” then.

NO, I’m sorry I asked…

 

On repeat

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The days are starting to run together. What day is it again? Oh, yeah, Thursday…is it March still?…the 26th…OK, got it. They days are starting to all look the same. The routine has become monotonous and stale.

Is it much different than previously? Well, a little. Typically I would be getting up, heading to work, doing work while interacting with co-workers, heading home after work, having some hang out time, then going to bed.

Now? Well, now it is get up, wander to the garage home office, work all day while seeing nearly no one (some virtual meetings), wander back up the steps from the garage into the house for some hang out time, and then bed.

Notice the difference? People. Socialization. The out of doors (even if only from car to building/building to car). The key component here is I miss people…even though people, in general, piss me off and I dislike them. I know, I am “mystery, wrapped in a riddle, inside an enigma.” I can’t explain it. Maybe it is only certain people I miss. OK, YES, for sure it is that. There are certain people I miss – way more than most!

Anyway, what are you doing to keep the days feeling like they are on repeat? How are you keeping track of the days? What has been your favorite thing to do since being confined to “life in a bubble”?

 

40%

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We, as in our office (which is in a separate location from the “head office”), got an update on the policies regarding telecommuting during this health crisis, scare, whatever you wanna call it.

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, telecommuting policy said that we could telecommute up to 40% of a work week (two days) and that could only be done on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. I have talked about before how my job could literally be done from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, so 40% for my office is a ridiculous restriction.

Now, with COVID-19 being a thing and recommendations from every level of government (techinically I am a public employee) stating that employees should stay home and telecommute if feasible (again, it is totally feasible for my office) the “head boss” has issued new permissions for telecommuting.

Yesterday’s email said, in effect, “we are allowing telecommuting on Mondays and Fridays now, but we are still limiting overall permission to 40% of the work week, per board policy.” In other words, we are still required to go into our office three days a week! So, if I may paraphrase…policy over people. I gotta say, that right right there is some crappy ass leadership.

I have said it before and I will maintain that I am not an alarmist by any means. I am going about my daily life normally. I went out to eat last night and supported a local business near my home.

This issue I have here is that a public institution is going against the recommendations of the government, the one that funds it, and demanding adherence to a policy which they clearly have been given the green light to alter in this extraordinary time. There is no expectation by me or my colleagues that the alteration would adjust regular practice in the future (though we would like to see that). We just want acknowledgement that our government agency is recognizing the recommendations of the government and that isn’t happening.

I am in the office today. Nearly all of us are. But none of us are happy about it.

 

We all heard it

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So, my sick note means nothing, apparently.

As it turns out, I have to use another sick day today despite what the superintendent (“head boss”) said in our meeting on Friday.

On Friday, he had a meeting with out entire organization (our division really, because we are completely separate from the main entity) and we all heard that we shouldn’t go to work if we suspect we are sick but that if we could get a doc’s note approving telecommuting then we could amend the regular telecommute schedule as needed. My coworkers heard it, my manager heard it, my director heard it…or at least that is the way we all understood it.

Today, I am told my doc’s note doesn’t apply and only the regular telecommute schedule applies. WTF? According to the head office, there are no policies in place to accommodate this adjustment and until there is we have to stick with it – no matter that the head boss said something completely different.

Yeah, that’s BS – requiring your employees to burn their sick days when there is a major health concern going on when you know full well they can do their jobs from anyplace in the world without impacting the client (and have done so repeatedly). That makes complete sense.

So, I think I’ll binge on TV, and video games….and slowly burn in contempt of the head office.

Sick note

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I’m in WA state and there’s this thing going on. You’ve probably heard about it. So far, I’ve just heard about it too.

But, last night I developed a cough that came from nowhere. And a wheeze at the bottom of my lungs.

I checked in with the doc. At the moment they think it is related to the bronchitis I had two weeks ago. But, with the ongoing situation in WA, work doesn’t want me physically present. So…I have been “quarantined” to telecommute from home.

Can’t complain about that! No morning or afternoon traffic. No early mornings. No late dinners.

Win-win.

Except for the cough…and wheezing…

 

Father Time

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Another trip around the sun.

Another drop in the bucket.

One foot farther into the grave.

Picking up speed on the other side of the hill.

It doesn’t matter how you put it, birthdays just aren’t really all that much fun. Maybe it’s just me.

Sure, I get the celebration part and I am not really a fatalist, so it isn’t that big a deal.

BUT, I can tell you another year older and being sick at the same time is kinda beating me up today. I really just wanna sit in a dark room, watch movies or play video games, and not interact with anyone unless I have given prior approval.

No such luck.

People are everywhere. There is too much light. I am coughing up a storm (I am not contagious any longer), and work is much too busy.

Yes, OK, I get it Father Time. You win.

But, I might just take a nap in my car and you can’t stop me…

Need to know

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“You’re on a need to know basis, and you don’t need to know.”

The above phrase gets tossed around a lot, but there are actual times when it applies. Yesterday, I ran into an instance from my employer that seems to fit this to a T.

The admin assistance to our department director came around with a new form to fill out. It supposedly is something that we have filled out previously and supposedly only has one line changed on the whole document. The supposed change is “to comply with federal grant requirements.” The added line really isn’t the issue for me though.

The document is basically a “driver screening” risk management form. I get that in order for me to drive a company vehicle, they have to ask certain questions and it is expected that I report certain details should circumstances require the necessity to do so. That isn’t really an issue for me. I understand the necessity of such a screening. HOWEVER…

The document goes on to ask about information that I believe is totally unnecessary and, quite frankly, a violation of my privacy by asking about my personal vehicle. As in, should I drive my personal vehicle during work hours and on work time. The document is asking for the kind of vehicle I drive and license plate (why would it matter what vehicle I drive if it is my vehicle?), what insurance company I use and the policy number (with specific amounts of coverage); it requires to inform my employer if I drop expected level of insurance to a lower level, and expects me to waive all rights as an employee if on company time and there is an accident in my personal vehicle.

Does this sound invasive? Is this typical? Do you willingly give your employer information they don’t really need?

Yes, there is travel required as part of my job. Yes, I do prefer to drive my personal vehicle instead of the crappy company cars. But, the requirements of this document are “part of my continued employment” with the company, as though the document and my driving my vehicle have anything to do with my job performance and skills as a trainer and software analyst.

A big part of me bristles as this whole thing. I can accept that my employer needs to know certain things about me, but I don’t accept that they need to know everything about me.

I partially joked with a co-worker who was feeling the same way as I was yesterday that it won’t be long and they’ll be asking for our homeowner’s insurance policies since we telecommute several days a week.

I can see the future, and I don’t like it.