Wednesday, November 15, 2006

While We're At It...

On my desk at work, I have two computers: one is a PC, the other is a Mac. I use the PC for the bulk of my tasks, but I use the Mac occasionally for any graphics work I need to do. I'd just like to take a moment right now to tell you all how much I loathe using the Mac. If I could do it without tearing up my hands, I'd go after it with my fists (think Michael Bolton in Office Space). I enjoy the graphics work, but the mundanities of working with the Mac drive me absolutely crazy. I'll give it credit for being a wiz at running Photoshop. I run Photoshop on my PC at home and it bogs down the whole system; the Mac runs it with no problem. When it comes to un-complicated tasks like scrolling through a list of folders, or dragging files from one folder to another, operation comes to a near-standstill. Granted, most of the time I'm working in network folders that are overloaded with large, high-res graphics files, but still, it's utterly ridiculous. I do have the oldest Mac here, and word around the campfire is that they're looking to replace it (meaning, most likely, that one of the full-time graphic designers would get a new machine and I would get their old one), but I think that's probably pretty low on the priority list. Graphics, after all, is not my primary responsibility, and the limited graphics work I do is pretty basic. The Mac takes care of that with no problem. If a new machine would speed up the rest of the process, though, I'm all for it.

Of course, it may not matter too much in the months to come, as my time to do graphics work will likely be limited even further. My primary responsibility, obviously, is proofreading, and there's going to be a lot more of that coming my way. Currently, our standard monthly output is sixty-four catalog pages, plus four pages per week for the weekly newsletter. For 2007, the standard output is going up to eighty catalog pages per month. For January (for which pages have just started to come through), there will be ninety-six pages. That's going to be keeping me busy. I'm not terribly concerned about eighty pages per month--it's a lot, but I'll be able to handle it without too much trouble. Ninety-six, though...I know I'll get through it, but I'm also sure that there will be some tense moments.

This increased output is something else my boss and I discussed at the bar last week. I wasn't even aware at the time of the changes; she told me she was concerned about my workload, and then she told me how many pages we would be doing. I'm fairly certain she was about to launch into a spiel about sharing the load, but I cut her off before she got there. I hate letting anyone else look at my pages. The last time anyone besides myself did any proofreading for the catalog was in June, when I was in Cozumel for a week with Brandi. When the July catalogs came out, I had people come to my desk on several occasions to point out errors that had gotten though, and sure enough, all of them were on pages that I had not seen. I didn't throw my replacement under the bus; I just noted the errors and moved on.

So I'm pretty protective of my pages. It's not that I hate being hassled about errors; I just take a lot of pride in the integrity of our catalog, and I hate entrusting it to anyone else. So I'm not about to start handing off my workload just because we're going to be publishing more pages. I understand the importance of getting them done in a timely fashion. I also understand the importance of getting them done right. I'm not trying to say here that I refuse to hand off pages if it's absolutely necessary; I'm just saying that I fully intend to make certain it does not become necessary. So I told my boss that I was ready, willing, and able to take on the added work, and that she could stop worrying about me. Aside from ensuring that all pages would stay mine with no interference, I think I also impressed her with my moxie. That'll come in handy during my annual performance review (which is coming up in two weeks), I'm sure.

Just a couple more work notes, so I can get it all out of my system for a while:

  • I found out on my lunch break today that I'm also going to be asked to proofread the employee handbook. I don't know if they've overhauled it or what, but I'm assuming they have, with the company growing rapidly and with several recent policy changes and updates, and the upcoming New Year seems like a good time to bring a new one out. Either way, I'll find out soon enough. So that's just one more thing on my plate. I must be a glutton for punishment, because I'm really looking forward to all of this.

  • They've recently implemented a new timekeeping system which requires employees to clock in ten minutes prior to their starting time or out ten minutes after their quitting time before overtime begins to accrue. I can understand why the financial reasons why they'd want to do this, but to me, it seems counterproductive. Personally, I'm no longer making an effort to be here a few minutes early, nor am I as willing to stick around for a few minutes past 5:00 in order to finish something up (unless it will take longer than ten minutes, of course). And I'm not the only one who feels this way. I have no problem "going the extra mile," but I'm not going to do it for free. It may be petty (although if it's petty on my part, it's also petty on theirs for going to this system), but those extra minutes add up over the course of a week.
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