The Check-In position sounds deceptively simple: we just have to keep track of how many people are working, and what job they're on. That's it. That's all. And when you have eighty people being shuffled between at least six different jobs, and some of them don't come in all at the same time, and you're billing different clients for different jobs and you have to calculate the person/hours on each different job, and keep track of subsets of jobs, and there are at least four different supervisors running these jobs, and that's a slow day...
There are spreadsheets. There are massive spreadsheets. They're actually fairly simple once you get the hang of them, but getting the hang of them takes some doing. I'm calling on my experience TAing for the Programming teacher in high school, my Accounting class (where things on both sides of a ledger have to be reconciled) and my general computer experience. I poked around the spreadsheet so I could grok the formulas used; they're all pretty simple, nothing special.
I get excited over computers. I get excited over math. When I have a computer doing my math for me, I get really excited. That's what spreadsheets are for.
Since verbal commentary from the supervisors on who's doing what and what-all's happening would be too confusing, and lead to innumerable errors, especially when things start happening all at once, the supervisors write notes to us to tell us what's happening on their jobs. Around about 11:30, after I came back from break, my mind started humming songs from Phantom of the Opera. "Far too many notes for my taste, and most of them about Christine. All we've heard since we came is Miss Diae's name..." When a supervisor dropped another small sheet of paper on the desk, and the Check-In Chick and I both reached for it, my mind supplied: "Here: another note." "Let me see it!" "Please." Notes are crossed off as they get entered, and save-points are also written down so things can be rolled back accurately in case of a crash. My mind's already starting brewing a paperless system, but I haven't finished the requirements-gathering phase yet.
By the end of the day, I was doing most of the entering of stuff, and the Check-In Chick was sitting there, babysitting me, pointing out errors (which started out at many, but wound up trailing off), wiping her nose (she was sick, and decongestants interact adversely with her blood thinners), and not doing very much else. I noticed that though Cute Short Chick Super had verbally told us that her job was ending at such-and-such a time, she hadn't dropped off a note with us, and we do need the notes for paper backup in the case of problems. There was a respectable stack of notes by the time the shift was over, and this was the short Sunday morning shift, towards the end of the month, with jobs already closed, and very little downtime.
I think I did well at this first trial day of training. I enjoyed it more than I've enjoyed any job since my TA position with the Programming teacher, which tells you something, especially as I do like monitoring a lot. It seems to be the right mix of slack and scurry, with plenty of spreadsheets to engage my mind, and internet access. When we've got slack time, we can help supervisors out with editing and the like, we pick up monitor reports and distribute them to supervisors, and we walk the areas. I feel confident in my ability to perform well at this job with a minimum of coaching now, after this first day of training and orientation, and I know that I'll do even better after I'm fully trained.