Saturday, October 18, 2008

Guess I need a spanking or something

I'm feeling mentally and physically drained, but today, Saturday, is starting off well with a mostly blue sky, a three-quarter moon still visible to the west and a breeze through the window revealing a brisk fall morning. I ought to get my bike out and take it for a spin. I will do that, after coffee and breakfast.

Why so drained? The morale at work seems to be at one of its lowest points since I started a year-and-a-half ago. The Powers That Be chose to lay off a coworker two weeks ago, without a plan in place to handle her work. At the time they announced the layoff, they claimed they had a plan in place, and that this wouldn't affect any of our jobs. I didn't believe that, and, as I expected, this week I was asked to help with some of her work.

Meanwhile, all the articles I need to edit for the next issue are late -- over 10 days late -- because our top editor can't get her head out of her ass and make a decision. Naturally, that can't be used as an excuse: WE still have to make deadlines. My computer started acting up, not printing properly. Our friend who was just laid off might have helped with this, but, no more.

I'm working on a Mac (I previously only worked on PCs) and in InDesign (previously used Quark) and, while I'm all right with this technology, there are regular moments of frustration I come across. "Why isn't my cursor letting me edit text in this box? How many layers of boxes do we have here? Why are the proper fonts not appearing? What the f***?" etc. etc."

This wouldn't be so bad if we had a help desk person, but we don't. As a matter of fact, the last few companies I've worked at either didn't have a help desk person when I started, or his/her job was eliminated at some point in the name of cost-cutting.

I'm a word person. I've learned enough in modern publishing, over the years, to use these design programs -- as much as I've needed to. In other words, if someone else (ie, an art director) dealt with font maintenance, there was no reason (and usually, not enough time) to learn font maintenance. Why would I learn HTML code if my job is to provide copy to the web experts?

In my first publishing job, I worked on a newspaper with the printing press downstairs. The copy boy would run the sheets downstairs after each page was complete. I sometimes would go down after my shift, talk to the press guys and watch the first edition roll off the presses. (I used to LOVE that, especially when I had a byline on the front page.)

This doesn't mean that I knew how to work a printing press. I was a reporter!

If I'm doing the same job today -- reporting, editing, writing -- why is it that I'm supposed to suddenly be an expert in technology? And if technology is so advanced that it's supposed to be "easy" for everyone to use, why is it constantly frustrating and not doing what it's supposed to do? Why is it not more intuitive?

My company has finally agreed (after talking about this for over a year) to pay for me to take a three-day computer course. See, that's the other thing. Companies want employees to just ALREADY know how to do things, but it's rare when one offers to provide training. I'd like to know where this SUPER employee is who can interview, write, copyedit, proofread, write headlines, do research, answer correspondence from readers, read all the latest industry developments, design the pages, knows HTML codes, knows every nuance of Quark and Dreamweaver and InDesign and PhotoShop and Excel and god knows what else that's out there that I "should" know how to use -- oh, and would you mind getting me coffee while you're up?

Deep breath... okay, so that's my little work rant. All will be fine. On top of that, I'm also dealing with a troubled friend. Not going to go into too many specifics, but I THINK she's lying about her drug use... she asked me to lie to her boyfriend about something very minor; I said no. We are talking, I'm trying to "help," but don't know how much I can help.

So, yeah. A bike ride would help. A burst of exercise to elevate the mood. And perhaps a spanking later, if someone's willing to lend a hand?


Brian said...


I was venting the other day to a friend about the exact same issues. Companies want results without providing the training and support needed to do the job right. All they care about is profits and the first things to go are the employees when the economy slows down. When was the last time you heard a manager say 'good job' or 'thanks'? No all you hear is how tight things are and how everyone needs to pitch in and help out instead of actually hiring enough people to do the work.

My motto is, never do more than you're asked because as soon as they realize you can be more productive, WHAM, they pile on more and more work. Bastards.

I think we all could use a good spanking today. :)

LauraT said...

Our hospital prides itself on winning many "most wired" awards for our complete electronic medical record. We have portable stands called Jetsons that have a keyboard, screen and small desk surface. Sometimes they work. We did joke when they came out that we all signed on to take care of babies and not computers.

Proved to be true when now we are keeping track of how much juice the battery has/uses on a daily basis. Most of us have already learned how to trouble shoot these things.

Oh and Sandy, I am eating some super good oatmeal before I go to bed. That good Irish stuff, long cooking kind. Some fresh blueberries and a spoonful of the blueberry jam we bought in Iowa when we saw D and J and tribe. Yummy good stuff.

Ms. Cassandra (Sandy) Park said...

Brian -- EXACTLY! Well, my immediate boss always praises me and seems grateful for my work. And my coworkers like me (at least I think so!), so that's nice.

Laurat -- I Luuuv irish oatmeal, steel-cut oats. Gotta go get me some, whip up a big batch. And fresh blueberries. mmm. haven't had that in a while, either. Great idea!

I'm done my bike ride AND push-ups. On to shopping, laundry, and cleaning!

Anonymous said...

Sandy, you have my complete sympathy. The spanking might still do you good, but of course it does not solve your issues.

I had to become "superemployee" at the Red Cross, but they offered training and I felt valued once they changed who my boss was, and my position was upgraded.

It is very very frustrating to be expected to pick up the slack of an entire other job that someone else was doing. Especially with no recognition and no money. I'm very glad they are going to pay for you to get training.

Glad you are getting things accomplished including exercise and chores. No holding you down! (well, you know what I mean...)

Dolly (the blueberry jam stuff is amazing!)

A.S.S. said...

Crazy that getting training is an issue. They should be doing cartwheels that they have an employee that is motivated to want to learn new skills that will make her more productive. Instead they act like they're sending you to Maui to learn how to do origami. Crazy.

Someone at your work needs a spanking... and in aint you (though getting you spanked probably couldn't hurt!)

Todd and Suzy

Ms. Cassandra (Sandy) Park said...

well, I did get a spanking... and a caning. I don't understand how this happens when I'm being so good?

(Ok, I was late leaving for work on Friday again. Rad says every time I'm late, he's going to add another six strokes with the cane. We were up to 18 today. I said, "so, does it just keep expanding FOREVER?"

I finally got him to agree to give me a "start-over" of six strokes IF I manage to be on time for five days in a row. Can I? I'll really, really try...

Anonymous said...

sounds like you have had alot of stress...good luck sorting it out!
Diane aka swfloridabrat

Ms. Cassandra (Sandy) Park said...

Diane, I think it will get better soon but right now I do feel a little overwhelmed.