Wednesday, September 22, 2010

28 hours over 2 days

That's how much I worked the first two days of this week. I came very close to pulling a "Jennifer Aniston" from the movie Office Space, on Tuesday. If you know the movie, you know the reference.

In the early part of the year, we bid on an inspection job. It was a series of homes, 3 businesses and some parking and storage lots. Giant projects aren't uncommon for us and this wasn't, at first look, going to be that much of a problem for us to do. We exchanged emails with the client after we knew we had been awarded the work, but never got a go-ahead to do the inspections. Doing parking and storage lots required permission from various businesses and one government entity for us to be on the properties taking photos.

Suddenly, in July, we had to get down there and do inspections as well as send out certified letters. We scrambled and while Jon and Rodney walked the ground, I banged on doors to hand out letters explaining what we had to do. Letters were hand delivered to the businesses. One home owner and one business called for inspections. I did those.

August. The client wants an accounting of inspections. Once provided, I stressed that two businesses, including one directly affected by the project, had not responded. "Okay, we'll handle it," came the reply.

August 26th. Meeting. Again, I provided our contact log and we went over what we had to finish. I explained that we had no permission to be on some of the property and we do not just boldly wander onto land. The client said he would get permission.

September 3rd. I am informed I have an inspection of one business at 10 a.m. on the 8th. When I get there to do that inspection, I'm told the other business is expecting me "before 5:15" that day. Um...

I got the interior and exterior of both businesses done on the 8th but had to come back to photograph and video tape the storage yards and parking lots. I finished all field work on the 13th. The next day, the client demands all inspection materials in his hands by Friday, September 17th.

Now, transferring video tape to DvD isn't that difficult other than you never know how many are ahead of you. The photo shop we use is wonderful in getting our stuff done so the videos were done by Thursday. I had to process 1,077 digital photos, labeling each one. Then, according to the job specs, the "owner", or the person paying for the project, required 4x6 glossy of all photos. Each photo had to have a label on the back with a) project name, b) contract number c) date and time of the photo d) location and cardinal direction if necessary for identification purposes e) name and address of company doing photography and f) photo number. Our client requests 2 copies for himself, one he will keep and the other goes to the owners of the properties which were inspected. This means, I have to label 3,231 photos, by Friday, when I have to identify the originals first.

I stayed late every day last week and worked Saturday morning. The photo shop got all my photos done by Monday at 11:00 but, as I was going through one of the batches, I discovered 30 photos missing. So that CD was dashed back over to them and they got it done by Tuesday at 10:15. Monday noon, I had one inspection done and was nearly done with another. Our client rep, who can be really snotty to us, claims I promised him everything on Friday, which I did not. I said the DvD's would be ready but he wanted the whole thing.

One of my office co-workers who had been out of the office all of last week, comes into my office mid-morning on Monday and demands to know why I didn't process any of the office email. I have stacks of photos on my desk. I have finished labeling all the DvD's and I've redone the contact list in an "acceptable" format for the client. I have finished printing and labeling one inspection and was starting on another and he wants to know why I haven't dealt with the office email. I looked at him and said, "And when am I to do that?" "I was gone all of last week. When I'm not here, it's your job to do that." I gestured at my desk and asked if he was going to help me get this project out the door. "I don't have time for that. You have to learn to multi-task," and he turned and left my office.

Now, I have worked for this company for over 10 1/2 years. Never once have I been told I can't multi-task. I have been told to stop multi-tasking because I tend to have four or five things going at once. This time, while I opened up the emails to see if there was anything supremely urgent, I didn't deal with anything because I have a job to get out of the office. To say I was offended is an understatement.

It didn't help that the boss came into my office to ask how things were going and we miscommunicated. I answered the question he asked, but the question he asked was not the one to get him the information he needed. He promised the client the project would be dropped off on Wednesday morning around 9 a.m. Then, when I said I couldn't get the whole thing done, he screamed at me to "stay and do the work".

Needless to say, although I stayed until 10:30 on Monday night and went in early on Tuesday, my sleep was fractured. I awoke in tears a couple of times and, when I did get up, I began planning on what to do when I quit that day. I would wait until they all left and then stop working on this project and clean everything out of my office. I would leave my cell phone and office keys on the desk of the "You need to learn to multi-task" with a note that said, "Multi-task this." I would contact my boss' boss and tell him I was quitting and I would write a confidential letter to the owner of the company. I would tell them exactly what I do and why this was the final straw. Then, today would be spent filing unemployment forms and polishing my resume. I had this all planned out. Mija and I had a long talk as I got dressed for the day. She can be so talkative some times.

I was working away as people staggered in for the day. Jon was very helpful and made a couple of suggestions for the labels which helped automate the process further than what I was doing. Jon's been very helpful through this. Rodney hasn't been in the office but he let me vent Monday night which probably kept me from just sitting at my desk crying. Then the boss walked in and said, "Look, this is too big for one person. (Oh really? Did Captain Obvious tell you that?) I'm going to get my son to come help you." Mr. "You need to learn to multi-task" came into my office and, while he did not apologize said, "Don't answer the phones. I have them. I'm really busy but describe what you have to do and I'll see what I can do to help." He got lunch and he volunteered to drive the finished product to the client this morning. The boss' son was a huge help and I realized I didn't have to do the whole thing. I just had to produce what the client could take to the owner today. The rest of it can be finished next week.

Bottom line, I finished last night at 8:30 p.m. I went home and collapsed. Pilchard climbed into my lap for ear scratches. Mija has been extra snuggly at night. I didn't sleep very well last night trying to thing of every way the client would say, "This is unacceptable". The boss told me to go home at 12:30 today. When I got home, I had lunch and dozed off on the settee. I realized I'm exhausted from the stress and worry so I took a nap, a good 90 minute one. My left hand has been in pain all day from what I think is carpal tunnel due to the repetitive nature of making the labels. The nap has made the wrist feel a lot better. Thank goodness it's my left hand and not my right. Rest and not using it should make it better.

So, that's why you haven't seen posts from me. I am taking a couple days off. I'll try to post some while I rest. We'll see.

I still have a job and two people perhaps understand that I do a lot of stuff in the office that no one knows about because it never gets to them. I handle it. It's my job. Screaming and disrespect get you nothing. I would prefer an apology. It's a hard thing to do, to say, "I'm sorry I said what I did", even if you believe someone needs to learn something. There are ways to handle this. More jobs came to the office today including one large one I'll be looking at on Tuesday. I have earned 2 days off and you can bet I'm taking them with relish.

Beverage: Coke


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