June 25th, 2005

loud fayoumis

OMFG, work.

This is my day at work, as transferred over from IM. (pharminatrix, you get to see the good stuff twice, but hopefully with more context/smoother wording.)

Today I was check-in, which means that I have to make sure that all the phone goons are in the right seats, and then I keep track of who's present and absent, and how many person-hours we're logging per job we're contracted to do. There's a new seating procedure, which means I have to deal with learning that and getting up to speed keeping track of who's in, who's out, and what who's on. This is stressful enough, because as it stands, the check-in job is sufficient to cause pretty much everyone headaches, and any change to procedure is an extra layer of stress syrup on the pancake-stack of OMG LOTS OF WORK. Old seating procedure: all phone goons file in past me, they tell me their names, I tell them their booth number, circle them on the seating chart, high-light them on the people list, and they sit down. New seating procedure: copies of the name/booth number list are posted. Phone goons read their assignment, walk in, sit down. I follow them around with the seating chart and verify that a) the seats are occupied, and that b) the butt in the seat matches the name on the seating chart. (I start looking decorative and official in the lobby at 2:55. Door closes at 3:05. I stand in the lobby catching stragglers for a few minutes. I go in and check things after that.)

There are new hires, so in the course of walking around with the goddamn clipboard and paper to see who's in their seats and who's out, I have to seat no less than six new hires, all of whom need help logging the fuck in. It's not that I don't like helping people, it's that I hate it when I have to choose between helping people (not my direct job, but my responsibility) and actually doing my direct job, which is keeping track of attendance and hours. All phone goons are supposed to be in their seats at 3:05. By 3:23, I had only walked 2/5 of the floor to see who was actually in their fucking seat. Note that me getting the phone goons logged in was mostly accomplished by their supervisors, not by me. And it still took that long. Adding to the doom was that we've recently changed servers, and there was considerable time lost because the old way to log in for a training survey is not the new way to log in for a training survey, and I have not had to log in or help anyone log in for a training survey since we swapped servers, so the old telnet does not talk to the new server and I did not know this.

At 3:23, and I know the time because it was at that point that a panicky figment0 catapulted into me, I was doing fine, if stressily. But at 3:23, the second most loud broadcasting empath in the building walked up to me to get seated, in mortal certainty that she had just lost her job. One of my friends, of course. Accompanied by her boyfriend, in similar attendance danger, and also accompanied by the loudly broadcasting reason they were late, the frantic carpool driver figment0, my bondmate. This, of course, was both a timesuck and an emotionbombardmentdrain. I was torn between conflicting impulses: "Hide! People loud!" "My friends are in trouble and anguish! I must comfort them!" "I must calm down the distressed employees and get them to work on their jobs quickly." "I need to get back to my actual task of seating people and verifying butts in chairs vs. names on seating charts."

It was near unto 3:45 by the time I collapsed into my desk to verify on the computer who was doing what where and how they were logged in. And issues kept coming across my desk, so it was 4:30 by the time I got the seating chart and everything copied and out to the supervisors. Which, of course, they need ASAP, so lo verily there was much bitching at me until I got it done. When Cute Geek Super asked me what was taking so long, I actually snapped that I'd be happy to explain as soon as I got time. I don't tend to do that.

To add to the general chaos and turmoil, the company is getting reorganized and squashed together with two other companies (7 call centers in all) of the same parent company. This is causing much upset at the phone center, never mind that all the theoretical disruption to the day-to-day activities of the company is the removal of the old company name from all signage and so forth and the posting of the new signage with the new unified company name. Unfortunately, this also means that as well as just a new nominal company, it's a new administrative company as well. Therefore, we need to get paperwork together as if everyone was a new hire again, which means an assload of packets to distribute, which is theoretically my job... It was five, and I still wasn't caught up on the notes for the swapping around of people on the hours chart, so I near-tearfully pleaded with Rev. Nice Super to start handing out the paperwork update packets. There were people leaving at six, after all... I was so behind on my paperwork that I did not even start getting the bulk of the ordinary stuff done until 8:00. Most days I have that polished off or at least started up nicely by the middle of the shift around 6:30 or so.

At 7:00, one of the newer girls came up with a packet that had had its front pages torn off (they're supposed to be unmutilated so they can sort 'em) and I had no idea what all was supposed to be in them, and I knew we had to do some stuff, and I hadn't yet been schooled in exactly what stuff I was supposed to do. I told her to hang on to it, I was not prepared to accept those at that point in time. Fortunately, Stressy College Chick came up and backed me up on the "not touching that with a ten foot pole until I figure out what it is we're supposed to do with it" front while I was talking with Rev. Nice Super; the phone goon had gone and talked to Rev. Nice Super wondering wtf she was supposed to do with the packet because the check-in girl had "had a nervous breakdown when I tried to turn it in to her". I did not scream at her when she acted smug at me, and I did not cry, and I did not hide under the desk. I was merely very stressed and told her that I was not about to even think about touching her paperwork right then. It isn't due in until July 01. I wound up printing out the e-mail that had come around about said packet and posting it around the bullpen, with some of the crucial stuff (need photocopies of ID, make sure the whole thing's filled in) high-lighted in blazing pink.

Cute Desk Guy offered to trade jobs with me. I considered it for a bit. But then, he's on the wrong side of $ISSUE_SIDE_JOB for me, so I had to say no. I told Junior Check-In Princess that we needed to cross-train Cute Desk Guy as a monitor, that was what. (She'd fallen short of monitors today, and needed one, but all the available monitors but figment0 were on jobs we couldn't pull them from, and we weren't so sure about that job either, but fortunately Phone Call In Super let her borrow him for an hour.)

...and I have to go back and do it all again tomorrow.
  • Current Music
    "First Drink of the Day" in my head
phone, cordless phone

Paperwork Reproduction

We've been dealing with far too many minus reports,
the ones that need supervisor attention for phone goon
improvement.

Stressy College Chick: "Fucking minuses."
Me: "They do that? They copulate and reproduce?"
Stressy College Chick: *snicker*
Me: "Wait: that's why we have so many of them!"
Stressy College Chick: *pounds desk* "We need to spay
and neuter our minuses!"
phone, cordless phone

(no subject)

Down earlier. Now I have a headache from waiting lunch. It's a better day than yesterday. I felt better after going home.
old school hacker, bug

Sauna Time

Came in to work this morning to the beginnings of a scene of chaos. There was much panicky yelping about the temperature in the server room.

A room containing running computers should not go over 70°F, common sense tells me. At 7 this morning, our server room was at 95°F. There was much scrambling around in search of fans to get the place cooled down. I went in the server room for the first time ever, a great large room with a number of racked computers and all sorts of nifty shiny things, and I was too busy looking for unoccupied outlets to plug the fans into to properly appreciate the sheer geek heaven of the room. This is a level of geekiness entirely surpassing some of my previous levels. The doors of the place were propped open, which is generally a no-no, but these were special circumstances.

Checking people in, somewhat later, went far more smoothly than Friday. I was able to disentangle myself from Situations Needing Supervisor by summoning the actual supervisor for the jobs, and was back in the bullpen sorting out who was logged in and who was not logged in by 8:45-ish, which was also about when the A/C tech steamed by on his way to the server room. (The Dave Matthews Band Fan Geek was already in, and was on his way to a state of high panic about his overheating charges.)

At about 8:55, we got the notice that we needed to log everything off NOW.
"We have people on interviews!"
"Log. Off. Now."
"Even the supervisors?"
"We're having data loss in here. Everything gets shut down. Now."

I had the presence of mind to screen-scrape the login data for the whole room, the session I'd grabbed before all the shit started going down, and paste it into a hasty Word file, then print it before everything went down. That way, come hell or high water, I'd be able to identify the identities of the butts in seats from the start of the shift.

All the phone goons got sent on break for an hour to get them out of the way while IT and the air conditioner guy worked their assorted magic. One hour of downtime stretched into two. I was able to get all sorts of paperwork done.

I'm very good at keeping track of downtime. This is a good thing for accountability, but a bad thing to be in practice at.
  • Current Music
    Kurt Harland - The Terrible Mr. Grimshaw
_schools120835, IRL, professional, Naomi, _schools3485

My Element

In case it hasn't been clear, I thrive on the sort of chaos that one finds at work on those moderately stressful days that have me yowling when I'm there, but grinning about it after I get back home. If I truly couldn't hack it, I'd go back on the phones or I'd find another job.

The two really difficult things for me about the job, or rather, the circumstances, things I'd find hard at any job, is balancing my personal emotions with my professional responsibility, and functioning on minimal sleep. There's definitely something to be said for entering a workplace as a manager with no previous contact with the employees. That, Dagger says. And Naomi. For fairness and neutrality.

I like juggling spreadsheets. I like distributing papers to people in the chaotic setting that is a shuffleseated call center. I adore having to deal with computers. I don't mind explaining things to end-users, and clearly the end-users like me.

I deal with stress on the phones by drawing little cartoons. I deal with stress in the bullpen by venting (usually on LJ or to other supervisors, though rarely about interpersonal conflicts) or by threatening to take a Nerf-bat to the head of whatever person is causing the problem.

... And Darkside still makes more than I do.
  • Current Music
    R.E.M. - Finest Worksong [Other Mix]
trust, best friends forever, snot-nosed brats

!= coherent & best friends forever

figment0 had me think about where "home" was for me, a while back. It wasn't this apartment. It wasn't templeravenmoon. It wasn't my parents' house back in Alaska. I discovered, digging through my head, that I had last felt completely at home when I was curled up next to Darkside while he played silly Jedi video games. My head was tucked up against him, so the hair on his arm tickled my face. We talked about nothing, he hacked and slashed his way around a big spaceship, and I dangled a green glowstick from my fingers.

I called today, my usual weekend chat. He was busy typing away on something, so we did something much the same on the phone. It had nearly the same effect. Even though his attention was elsewhere, he was taking the time to be present with me, and I could half-feel the half-hug.

15 minutes. Not much in the way of coherent anything; I was still too exhausted from work, and he was preoccupied and busy with something else himself.

But it's these little moments that get me through my week, through my life. I'm hoping that my taking out the time to spend with him and to make sure he's doing all right are making him feel as cared-about as I feel when he takes the time for me. I'd like to say that I'd be absolutely lost without him, but I know I could cope. I have, before. I clearly will, at some point. But he magnifies my joy and diminishes my sorrow. I would not be half as happy. I would not be the same woman.

I like the self I am around him better than I like the self I am the rest of the time, because I like myself better when I'm contented, brilliant, relaxed, and dazzlingly happy. Every now and then he'll talk about himself, and I am given to suspect that he too becomes sweeter and deeper in my presence.

With him, I can be silent. This is a treasure greater than words.
  • Current Music
    Hollie Smith - Skye Boat Song