Thursday, June 14, 2007

Confessions of Tedium and Strife

I guess I have been busy lately, but I would not say with anything particularly important. I have had a little bit of frustration recently with our family finances and with my work. I feel so ADD. I cannot keep focused and I think it has a lot to do with work right now.

The story about work – About eight weeks ago our receptionist got a divorce and decided to move back to Indiana where her family lives. Ever since then another secretary and I have been covering receptionist duties along with our regular work. That means answering phones, making coffee, taking care of faxes among other things. It is very hard to get work done when answering the phone every few minutes, which is why it is the receptionist’s job and not mine.

Then there are the things that regularly distract me from getting stuff done. Like transcription, every time the big boss, the executive, has to write a letter he dictates it onto a recorder. Then I have to transcribe it. He does this almost everyday he is in the office (three or four days a week). I have to drop everything right then and transcribe, because he usually needs it right then. And it’s not always mere transcribing. He’s an old Texan so he has all these old sayings like, “Too much sugar for a nickel.” That does not sound professional and sometimes he does not make any sense to me and I have to divine what he means and then change it. And then he comes back and tells me what I have written is, “Too much sugar for a nickel.”

Other things that distract me: Three times a day I stop and for 15-20 mins. I make a little “mommy made snack” for Alexander. I try to do work during that time as well, but I would say about half the time I cannot. Every morning I check my work email and my personal email. The personal email always gets me distracted. Or I will just go to check out the headlines on the internet, just to make sure nothing big has happened that I should know about. For example, in my profession, it is important to know that Coach Bo Schembechler passed away. Although, it is not my job to know that information. But, sometimes when I go to check the headlines I find myself reading the entertainment gossip, or surfing the internet. Sometimes, I am tired and zoned out from working fulltime, being a wife and mother and breastfeeding.

So here are some tips that will hopefully get me back on track.

Tip # 1 – If your work requires a lot of interruptions you are probably not going to get much done, i.e. being someone else’s secretary you are probably going to be interrupted a lot.

Tip # 2 – Write stuff down and finish what you are doing before you move onto the next thing. And if you cannot finish it, write it down to finish it later.

Tip # 3 – If you need to get stuff done, do not open the internet.

Tip # 4 – Try to take minimal breaks including bathroom breaks. I say this as I have just downed an 8 oz. cup of tea, a 16.9 oz. bottle of flavored water and a 6 oz cup of coffee, all before 10:00 a.m., which has led to four trips to the restroom within the hour. Why I thought that was a good idea, I cannot tell you.

Tip #5 – Don’t sweat the small stuff. If it’s been done wrong and you have to do it again, just do it and do it right. It’s more professional. Being professional, though stuffy, boring, and stressful, is the right thing to do. You have to have a little pride in the work that you do, whether you like doing it or not.

The story about the finances – Well, it’s a pretty simple story. Andrew gets paid a stipend during the school year, but he does not receive anything in the summer. We have taken on quite a few extra expenses since Alexander’s birth: Alexander’s health insurance, a second car payment and insurance for that car, daycare, and diapers. Andrew has not had much luck with getting a job and it’s been a bit frustrating. Now the money is running out and it’s time to figure out how to pay for things. We are taking Alexander out of the daycare. This should mostly cure our problem until the fall. Andrew’s job is 4 a.m. – 8 a.m., so it does not overlap with my job and he can watch Alexander. I think Alexander likes the routine he has at daycare and the opportunity to play with other kids. So, it will be a little bit of an adjustment for both Alexander and Andrew. Then we will need daycare again in the fall. That’s the stressful part. His place probably will not be open at the daycare in the fall and we have to find another place for him. It keeps me up at night, but I am sure things will work out for the best. I am just going to have faith.

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