Friday, March 4, 2011

5 days down, none to go!

It's a miracle that I got through this week.

No one slept the night before our big inspection.  I arrived early to ensure that seven boxes of files had been prepared for the assessors as per the instructions we received.  I counted the boxes, one for each professional who had been named in the inspectors' letter.  Perfect.

A little later I returned to the file room for one last check - and there were eight boxes of files.  What the...?  I spotted the extra box.  It was labelled with the name of a professional who wasn't slated for inspection.  I went immediately to his secretary to find out what was going on.  Having overheard some of the other secretaries talking about preparing 12 files for each of their bosses, she assumed that she was supposed to too. Essentially she volunteered her boss to be inspected.

This lady's boss would not have appreciated that.  I mean really, really not appreciated it.  I set her straight and she took off at warp speed to take back the box before any harm was done.

At lunchtime a colleague of mine took lunch orders from all the uppity-ups involved in the day's proceedings, and we set out together to the closest hot-table takeout place. A stout, doughy woman wearing a white apron asked me for my order.  I wanted a quarter chicken dinner with potato wedges and steamed veggies.  The place packs a lot of food - I've often split one of these orders into two lunches, one for the following day.  They keep two sizes of foil containers behind the counter, one the size of a dinner plate, and one a fair bit smaller.  The chicken dinner always comes in the large container.  The woman behind the counter pulled out a small one.

"I want the chicken with two sides," I said in case there was any misunderstanding.  She nodded.  Potato wedges went in.  Steamed veggies went in.  She didn't stint on either.  The container was almost full.  Then she took the chicken leg and stuck it on top.  The lids for these containers are flat, foil-lined cardboard disks.  There is none of that extra space you get with a plastic dome.

The chicken was sitting on top of the veggies so its bottom edge was almost level with the container's top edge. The woman took the cardboard lid, positioned it on top of my chicken, laid her big, wide hand over the lid, and pressed down hard.  The lid sank down, but not far enough.  She repositioned her hand, and pressed harder.  Man, she mashed my lunch but good.  I half-expected her to turn around, jump up on the counter and sit on it.  I was slightly tempted to complain, but the scene was so comical that I figured I'd rather just let her go for it and enjoy the slapstick.

For all that, lunch tasted fine.  It didn't matter to me that my potato wedges were flat.

There is someone on my staff who is on vacation right now, and her absence is creating a huge volume of work.  I have two people helping out, but one is new to it and the other is slow and inaccurate, so I'm doing some of the work myself and double-checking everything else line-by-line.  It's basically data-entry for a never-ending stream of repetitive, monotonous reports.  If I never see another one it'll be too soon.  Sadly, the only woman who can save me won't be back for yet another week.  When I close my eyes at night I see these reports swimming on the backs of my eyelids.  I wake up with a dry mouth and knots in my shoulders, dreaming about data entry errors.  Five days down this week - I did it!

Five more days next week.  I can do it!


kenju said...

You are making me very happy that I don't work in an office....LOL

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Amen Kenju, you have no idea.

LOL at the woman packing the food. I would have had to go back through the line and order the same thing with an extra chicken leg and just watch.

DarcKnyt said...

You DID do it! And you WILL do it again! Awesome you! Go!

And I completely sympathize with you on the reports swimming out of the black. I often drift off to sleep with reports splashing oceanic waves of data at me, and awake with them echoing in my head. I get it. I do.

But you're good at this working stuff. I'm still learning, but getting there.

Jameil said...

Data entry-type stuff is the whole reason I cannot never, yes CANNOT NEEEEEVER, work another desk job! MIND.NUMBING!! Five more days! Wow... ROtFL @ I half-expected her to turn around, jump up on the counter and sit on it! I do mind my potato wedges squished! I sure would've been like did this heffa really do that to my food?? What did my lunch do to her, though???

Sparkling Red said...

Kenju: It's not usually this bad, but yeah, I can see how this post is not the best advertisement for the joys of office work!

Ron: I'm tempted to go back next week to try that and see what happens. I think if she packed the material any tighter it might have become radioactively unstable.

DarcKnyt: Thanks! *high five* Stupid brain ruts. I wish my mind didn't insist on dreaming about the thing I've already been doing all day. I make sure to watch a distracting TV show or read an imaginative story before I hit the sheets, but those reports really have sticking power.

Jameil: LOL at "heffa". A beautiful new addition to my slang vocabulary! I was wondering at her motivation. Maybe the small containers cost the store 5 cents less, so she gets a 1 cent bonus for every large meal she can squeeze into a small container??

Pixiebaby said...

You touched on many reasons to remind me that I do not miss working in an office. Your lunch story was hilarious...I could just see it LOL! Sounds like you're handling this week quite well. Good for you :)

LL Cool Joe said...

I'm glad I'm a dj, well sometimes. Sometimes I think I'd enjoy office life, but really I know I wouldn't. Can't see my clothes being very acceptable somehow!

Love the description of your food being packed for you. Sounds delightful...NOT!

Jenski said...

Days when I have to do something monotonous like data entry always call for a special espresso drink...sometimes a cookie. :-)

Sparkling Red said...

Pixiebaby: Thanks! Yeah, tedious office work can be very draining. Fortunately my job doesn't usually involve quite so much tedium. I don't know how the full-timers in that department do it.

LL Cool Joe: Hmm, no, I don't think your wardrobe fits within the boundaries of business casual. Too bad - business casual gets pretty boring!

Jenski: There aren't enough cookies in this world... ;-)

ileana said...

Wow, the way you described the lunch packing...hilarious, chica! I'm glad you didn't mind the flat potatoes. :)

I had a week from hell a couple of weeks ago, which probably attributed to the neck/back pain I felt last week. I, too, had a big inspection.

Luckily, these times DO pass and I hope you are able to breathe easier soon!!

DarcsFalcon said...

You CAN do it! I believe in you!

But, I probably would have pointed out that I ordered potato *wedges* not potato *pancakes.* ;)

Good to see you back on your feet and in the swing of things, being the boss-lady-ma'am. :) Way to go!

Lynn said...

Isn't it nice to have that behind you? The potato wedge story is funny. :)

Sparkling Red said...

ileana: Yes, it does work like that doesn't it - stress is a literal pain in the neck! I'm glad that you're feeling better now. I know I am.

DarcsFalcon: You're right! She did make potato pancakes! I should have asked for some apple sauce for dipping (traditional with Jewish potato pancakes).

Lynn: It is indeed. I don't know how frequently these inspections are supposed to happen because this was our first, but hopefully not often!

Hevenly said...

It would have been so hard for me not to make a comment about maybe how she could perhaps just once have put it in the large container. Especially if it was before lunch !
Wish I could help with the data entry!