Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Two Months on the Job

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent a fair portion of this weekend playing The Sims 2 on my computer. I hadn't played it for a while, due to some issues my computer was having with running the game, and because NCAA Football 2005 is still providing the fix I need for my video game jonesing. I got my computer issues resolved this weekend, though, and how would I know for sure the problems were fixed unless I tested it myself? I haven't played The Sims 2 very much (yet), but I was a big fan of the original, and I find that the sequel is much the same in terms of how I react to it. It's a highly addictive game, and once I start playing, I have a hard time thinking of anything else for a while. That's the situation I found myself in today. All throughout the day, my mind kept flashing to The Sims at odd moments. As sad as it may be, those fictitious, digitally rendered lives are more fulfilling than my own, at least job-wise. That may be because even low-paid Sims bring home at least $150 per day, and promotions and job-changes are easy to come by, and as such their needs and desires are more readily met. If only real life were like that.

This past Saturday marked two months from the day that I started my new job. This means that my weekly paycheck will shortly be getting even smaller, as my insurance benefits will be kicking in soon. While that's definitely a good thing, I'm going to miss the cash.

Since I didn't work on Saturday, I suppose that marks Monday (yesterday) as my official two-month date. It was also on Monday morning when I realized that just coming to work...I don't want to say it puts me in a bad mood, but it certainly brings me down a certain amount. As soon as I start walking toward the door, I start feeling defensive. I'm not sure why, but it's a hell of a way to start the day. I'm not the most cheerful person in the morning at any rate, and coming to this particular job doesn't help.

I think one big reason for this is that I never know, from day to day, if there will be anything for me to do when I get there. So far I haven't yet come in to an empty inbox, but I do occasionally run out of things to do for brief stretches during the day, so I know the day is coming when I'll have nothing to start with. When that day arrives, I have no idea what I'll do with myself. After two months on the job, I still haven't really been trained on all of my job responsibilities. No one really has time to do it. I would love to be able to pitch in around the department and lighten everyone else's load, but they're all so busy that they don't have time to show me how to help. Oh, the irony. It's really irritating, especially considering that I could walk into the warehouse at any time and start working, despite the fact that I'm an office employee and I've only worked in the warehouse for a week. When I did work out there, I was trained on all the tasks I would ever do, so I know how it works. In the department I work in on a full-time basis, I have no idea how to proceed once my primary responsibilities are fulfilled.

One thing that is particularly irritating, especially considering my occasional stretches with nothing to do, is that I don't get to proofread everything our department publishes. We put out a weekly newsletter that goes out, as far as I know, to all the company's customers. I don't know who gets to see it before the final printing, but I do know that I'm not among them. I'm not sure why that is, but it bothers me. Everyone in the office is given a copy of the weekly when it comes out; today I got this week's version, and I had spotted three errors on it before I had even picked it up off my desk. I'm not sure why I don't get to check it over at some point in the process, but I think it's a poor decision. It's what I'm there for, after all.

Two weeks ago our department had a meeting with the owner of the company, who was generally displeased with the quality of the artwork we had used in our most recent catalog. Apparently this is a common complaint of his, and he made it clear that he was tired of complaining about it all the time. In general, he has issues when he can't read a movie's title on the artwork provided, so he told us that in the future we would have to alter the artwork or switch it altogether if this was the case. As I'm the first one to see everything (except the weekly) when it's published, I was told I would have to be the first line of defense against this sort of thing. I didn't think that would be a problem. Then last week, one of the ladies in my department came over to me with some pages I had already proofed, and she wanted to know why I hadn't marked a couple of the scans. Well, I hadn't marked them because I hadn't seen a problem: I could read them just fine. She told me that the company owner wouldn't be able to read them, though, and that was what counted. I looked at them again, and I even tried taking my glasses off and looking at them, but I just didn't see a problem. I don't know how I'm going to be able to mark something if I have no way of knowing there's even a problem with it. Even more irritating is that she made it sound like this part of the job was more important than proofing the actual text. I understand that it's important, but I'm not going to get all bent out of shape trying to fix problems that don't even exist.

On top of that, I was called aside by my department head last week and shown a sheet that listed all the times I've arrived late for work since I started. There were three instances listed: twice when I had clocked in two minutes past 9:00, and once when it was one minute past. I did note that they had stricken the time that I was fifteen minutes late due to the snowstorm and the level three snow emergency that made it technically illegal for me to even drive to work that day. The department head gave me a little smile as she talked to me, explaining that the company owner (who happens to be her husband) is big on punctuality, and that she was having the same talk with everyone in the department who had ever been late. That talk was followed up with a note on everyone's paycheck later that week, reminding us to be on time for work, because, after all, we do get paid on time every week. The whole thing really irritated me. Yes, I understand that I should be there on time or early each day, but sometimes things happen that make it difficult or impossible. I mean, we're talking one or two minutes here. For the most part, I come in several minutes early each day, I leave several minutes late each day, I rarely take a full half-hour for lunch, and I usually don't take full breaks each morning and afternoon when we get ten minutes. I know I wasn't being singled out, but still, it bothered me, especially when they equated it to our paychecks. You want to pay me a few minutes late each week? Fine. I can't do anything with the damned check until I leave anyway. Hold the damned thing an extra day; I still don't care. It just seems really silly to get so bloody fashed over a couple of minutes at the beginning of the day, as long as people are putting in the time they're supposed to and getting their work done.

Beyond that, it's minor complaints, or the same ones I've had from the start. I'm still not fully adjusted to the time schedule. Sometimes the office gets too hectic for me to concentrate. I have made a couple of friends, but they eat lunch at a different time than I do. I eat lunch by myself, which is fine by me, as it gives me a chance to relax my eyes and my mind; it does, however, get old to be harassed each day about sitting by myself. It doesn't bother me, exactly, but it does get tiresome. "Tiresome," in fact, is how I would describe the job as a whole. The work is fine, when there's work to be done, but some of the secondary issues make me want to just put my head down on my desk and sleep, or bang it there in frustration.

As sad as it seems, I do find myself occasionally thinking almost longingly of the job I left for this one. There were moments of boredom there as well, but at least I had the Internet to entertain me, and I could work on personal concerns during the day. Of course, there the entire organization was a pretty severe cluster fuck, and you didn't really know if the company would still be in business from week to week. So I suppose there are trade-offs.

I'm a highly intelligent individual with a good work ethic and a lot to offer. I know there's something more for me out there, something more than either of these jobs can offer. I just need to figure out what that is, and how to get there from here.

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