Sunday, November 18, 2012

Werking Gurl

A four-day workweek followed by a three-day workweek. Score!

More updates on work:
  • What I'm really starting to enjoy about the position it’s all about staying organized
    • I usually start off the day with five 5x7" sticky notes full of tasks and by the end of the day I only have one left, or sometimes none. Now that's what I call satisfying. Eeeeh.
    • My supervisor commended me on two things I did last week! 1) Formatting and polishing materials to be presented to the department director “She loved them!” and 2) Prepping a PowerPoint presentation template for a housing conference debrief. Re: the second point--I just heard her laugh out loud in her office and then I got an IM from her saying, "This powerpoint looks perfect!" Whew.
  •  There's a free employee gym in the basement!! So it's not great. The ceiling's low and unfinished (exposed pipes and insulation). There are only seven cardio machines. The ventilation is terrible so if you're so unlucky as to be next to someone with B.O. you must endure the stench for your entire workout. Group exercise classes are a few women imitating an aerobics video on a 25-inch standard-def (as in 3:4 aspect ratio) TUBE telly (this is real, ppl). Whatever. It's a means of cycling or ellipticalling out all the stress of my job on the days when Seattle decides to be Seattle-like (as in downpours and windy and such). 
  • I'm really fascinated by all of the financial stats that're crossing my desk. Dude, this is big MONAY. The 2013/2014 budget was just approved (~$92 million for my division, again). And, like, seeing the grant letters (like for $150,000!) is just crazy. Whooooa. So that's where all the places I interned at got their operating funds. AhhhhhhHHHH. It's all making so much SENSE.
  • My co-workers are feeling comfortable enough around me to swear. This is a big deal. HAHAHA. I'm talkin' about the eff-bomb here.
  • It's still stressful, so I get anxious when I think about going back to work tomorrow, but I just keep telling myself that THURSDAY is TURKEEEE.

In other news, my trusty 30GB video iPod is dead. It lasted me seven years. RIP, iPod. May you be properly recycled in a way that minimizes toxins in the air and doesn’t create environmental dangers for communities in the developing world. My wealthy father has chosen to bequeath me his extra iPod touch that he had laying around the house. So, all is well, my friends. All is well.

Ugh, why do I have to be so sarcastic all of the time?

Another piece of news: I may have unwittingly embroiled myself in a Jane Bennett/Charles Bingly-esque relationship. What to do, what to do. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thoughts and Such

Week two of work, finished. Three day weekend. Yay.

Today I went for a walk around the neighborhood, you know, because it was sunny and all. It's so surprising how few people are outside. Most of the people I saw were men mowing the lawn, a couple of kids, two dog-walkers and a woman raking leaves. The nice thing about the suburbs is that they're quiet. Also, there are some untouched blocks of forests with trees that are probably more than one hundred years old. So that's always nice.

I stopped by my middle school that was recently razed and then renovated. I don't know how they did it, but they managed to make it look MORE like a prison than it already did. I mean, there isn't even a sign near the buildings to indicate that it is, indeed, a public school. It's literally painted grey with concrete accents. The random passerby would easily confuse it for a low-security penitentiary.

I really do enjoy the fall. I mean, sure, the unswept leaves beneath my feet did add an intrusive amount of noise to my otherwise soundless tread. That happens. The most gorgeous things I saw today, though, were Japanese maples--the kind with the leaves that have, like, six delicate and thin prongs. Amazing. There's also something to be said about the smell of chimney smoke and laundry and bitingly cold yet pure air that transports me back to my elementary school days. It seems the older I get, the less time I spend outdoors.

When I went for a walk downtown this week it was much less peaceful but still interesting. For example, when I climbed the hill up to the nearby public housing community, the sidewalks were littered with glass shards from the parked cars that had been broken into. I saw a young mother waiting at the bus stop with her daughter. Down the hill at the park homeless people were sleeping on benches or talking to each other in hushed tones. I don't know if it was my psychological bias or not but I swear I smelled the stale alcohol on them. Not even a block later the only people I'd cross paths with were professional businesspeople: men in dress shirts, slacks and ties, Northface jackets and leather briefcases. And then there are the easily-spotted tourists that look a little aimless and unsure, cameras at the ready.

Big cities are always strange because they attract such a diversity of people, and yet it's like we're completely unknown to each other. It's all at once exhilarating and alienating.

I'm just trying my best to stay open and receptive to this new experience--this whole eight to five thing. I'm starting to have some hope that this job will not be the end of me and that I just might be able to possibly do some good in the division, however long I might be there.

I just hope I'm not around long enough to be put on break room clean-up duty. Gross.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Fish Out of Water

The transition from being an unemployed twentysomething to a full-time working woman has been abrupt.

It's so weird to have an actual job title and get paid a wage. And I'm constantly aware of how cliche my entrance into the working world has been. 

I commute from home and listen to podcasts as the sky slowly turns from black to deep blue. 
I work in a nondescript glossy building in the heart of a bustling metropolitan city. 
I wear, like, nice sweaters and slacks with creases down the middle. 
I have a cubicle. 
I make a lot of copies. 
I change toner cartridges. 
I eat lunch in the break room while reading back issues of The New Yorker

I feel like such an impostor because for basically everyone on the floor, an office setting has been their home for the past 30 years. Me? I'm just like, WAT IS THIS PLACE. Seriously. There is zero exposure to clients. Just zero! I am in the office that houses the supervisors of the supervisors of the supervisors that CONTRACT the supervisors of the agencies that actually do the community work. It's so weird. I still am not quite sure what to think about being so far removed from the actual realities of "the people."

It's like, I know that they do (or at least fund/commission) good work--but all I can see are meeting upon meeting and report after report trying to prove to taxpayers that fraud isn't occurring. lol. Bureaucracy. 

Also, I'm drowning. The person I'm temping/backfilling for was in the position for TEN YEARS. Yah.  Ten years. I haven't ever been a secretary to anyone before. Hell, I haven't ever had a full-time job! So when co-workers on the floor ask me if I'm keeping up with things I just make my most pathetic face and yelp no! There are just so many things to juggle! I'm not just the secretary but I'm also fielding public inquiries and a surplus property program and HR/personnel paperwork and supervising a supported employee. It's just like, WAAAAH! 

Yesterday night I was so exhausted but I was still so wound up from work and thinking about work that I didn't fall asleep until 3am, probably. The job is demanding intellectually and emotionally and socially.

I just keep telling myself that this is a short-term, temporary position, and that as long as I don't screw anything major up, the person who ends up in the permanent position can just pick up all of the slack that I leave behind. Hahaha. 

I just hate, hate, hate not being competent and not knowing all the crazy different acronyms they use and the jargon and not knowing who's who and how to make scheduling decisions. I wish I were able to pick things up right away--or be perfect right away, but that it just not going to happen. UGH why do I have to be a perfectionist? And then I try to project to all of these program managers that I'm smart and understand what they're saying but honestly it's exhausting being professional (i.e., perfect) and ahhhhhh!

First weeks are hard. We'll see how long I last. :/