Thursday, October 08, 2009

Work Blur

Thank you everyone for your supportive comments. I was kind of bummed out the other day, and I will probably have days like that for a while. But right now, I'm good.

Not to change the subject, but work is totally bonkers right now. Oh, who am I kidding? Work has been bonkers since I took this job back in February! That's why my blogging and blog reading has dwindled to almost nothing. My department is so incredibly understaffed, it is not even funny. You could double it and we probably still wouldn't get everything done. Now that fall quarter has begun (the college where I work is on a quarter schedule, rather than semesters -- yes, it's weird), it is beyond busy. Fall is our busiest time of the year, hands down. Just to give you an idea of what my days are like, let me tell you about last Monday. Please keep in mind that I am not complaining. I really love my job. I am just trying to illustrate to you how insane and demanding my job is. Ok, so about last Monday...

I sent or returned emails. All day. I am not kidding. That's what I did for 8 hours. Which means I didn't get anything else done. I have not worked fewer than 45 hours per week since August. I am probably closer to 50 hours per week. The only reason it is not 60 is because by 6pm I am too mentally exhausted to do anything productive. Here is a basic breakdown of an average day for me:

8am -- teach a class of students how to use the library. This involved about 1.5 hours of prep time the day before, btw.
10:30 am -- the class is over and so I don't have a ton of students asking me for help after I just showed them stuff. Time for breakfast at my desk while I check my email. I don't finish reading email because my staff has a bunch of questions for me. Now I have to send out a couple of emails or help them with something to get to the bottom of their concerns/questions.
11am -- I have to sit at the reference desk to answer questions from students who come into the library. Usually, I get to learn something cool in the process, like the history of a font or a theoretical interpretation of a painting. Yesterday, I learned there is a difference between an interior decorator and an interior designer. Who knew?
12pm -- Lunch! I am starved! I go to lunch after following up on a couple more things, answering more questions from my staff or coworkers, jotting "don't forget!" notes on my to-do list and talking to a faculty member who stopped by for a quick chat about their student's assignment and a couple of books they want us to buy.
12:40pm -- I actually sit down to eat my lunch.
1pm -- back on the reference desk to answer more questions and learn more stuff. Manage to check my email and finally return the emails from the last 24 hours.
3pm -- I am off the desk and back in my office to prep for the next day. More follow-ups. I spend about 15 minutes looking for my to-do list and another 15 minutes trying to figure out what to prioritize first. Tell myself I need to get organized better next time. Interrupted by coworker/staff member/student/faculty member. Have a panicky moment when I realize I forgot to do something kind of important. Drop everything to put out that fire. Make a bunch of photocopies for a class I am teaching later in the week. Run out of time to select some books for the library to buy, which I am supposed to be doing on a continual basis. Oops.
4pm -- meeting with someone about something. Could be a student working on an assignment, could be my boss wanting updates and could be my staff who are trying to learn the ropes of their new job or a faculty member who wants to talk to me about something. Or possibly Brett Favre. Who knows. I have probably met with Obama and I dont' even realize it because I am totally scatterbrained.
5pm -- YES! Time to go home! Oh wait. No. I can't. Gotta return this email, ask my coworker about this thing, take these books upstairs, look up some images for a professor, figure out what I am going to show the class I am teaching in the morning...
6pm -- ok, NOW I am going home. Yes. I think it is ok now. I don't feel panicky. My email has quieted down for the night and I honestly cannot think of anything super important that needs to be done before I go to bed.
7:30pm -- I pass out on the couch while I watch Jeopardy. No joke.
10:15pm -- I lie awake in my bed, thinking about work.

And that is just a normal day. Not even the craziest day. The crazy days are when 2 people call in and I have to cover some of their duties, or I have 3 classes to teach instead of one, or my boss has an emergency task she needs my help with NOW. That's when stuff really gets nuts.

Coming up soon on a Monday morning, I have 4 classes to teach. Before lunch. It will go like this:
8am -- arrive at Liberal Arts building to teach English class.
9:30am -- run across the hall to teach the next one.
11am -- go back to original room to teach next section of the same English course.
12:30 -- run back to the other room again to teach next section of that class.
2pm -- get to work to do all the stuff I normally do. Probably eat lunch at my desk.

The day after it? The same thing.

This job is going to be the death of me. I wish I was a superhero. I need to plan something super fun to do for when classes are over. I deserve a massage, or a vacation or a shopping spree. Something.

Oh, so the whole point of this blog. Almost forgot. (See? I am so overloaded, I cannot even remember simple things!) My boss pulls me into her office the other day. She told me I got a small raise (YAY) and that she is very happy with my work so far. She loves me. But perhaps a little too much: She then explains to me that she is thinking about making me Head of Public Services, which would essentially double my workload, because I would be in charge of 2 departments -- the two busiest in the building. I would be in charge of my department --Reference (answering questions at the front desk), Instruction, Circulation (all the checking in/out of books, holds, reserves, Interlibrary Loan, fines, etc.) and most of the Collection Development (ie, book selection). She is thinking about doing this because the manager of the Circulation department has been flaking out at work lately, and she implied that she is going to demote him and put him under me as another Reference Librarian. Which would kind of be a godsend -- I really need an extra pair of hands. But then I would be in charge of several other people I am not currently in charge of. My boss said I would be compensated ($!) for all of this extra work load, and I am really proud of myself for proving how valuable I am as an employee, but HOLY COW IS SHE HIGH??! I can barely keep my head above water now! And she wants me to pile even more heaps of responsibility on my plate??? I would love to say I would be excited for this HUGE promotion, but to be honest, I am worried I would not be able to handle it all.

She hasn't decided anything definite yet, but she will by the end of the month. The thing that is really weird is that this guy who has been flaking out is a really nice guy who everyone likes and who we all hang out with socially. I just hope it doesn't get awkward if it does happen. Oh, and did I mention that he's cute? Yeah. He is. Just to make it that much more interesting.

My boss had better be talking about a LOT of money.


Lexie Lou said...

All that sounds super exciting and exhausting! As for the difference between an Interior Decorator and Designer it is huge and I get to deal with it everyday since I work in a custom furniture business! As for doubt about finding the one, I am 32 and have not yet found the one but I am sure that it is going to happen. Don't stress about it because that doesn't help anything.

teahouse said...

Geez, I'm exhausted just reading this! The (small) silver lining in this is the fact that keeping busy will make the time go by fast, and keep your mind occupied!

Smug said...

Wow and I thought that I was busy as growing human life is exhausting, but your work schedule is NUTS!

congrats on the good work and impressing your boss! I am sure that if this flaky guy is really nice you can make it work and it will not be strange! You can do it!!

Phantom Hater said...

Eh, I say if the money's good enough, take the job. See if you could negotiate the hire of a temp assistant to help with the workload, or delegate the crap out of your subordinates. That's what I do. :)

Sorry to hear about the dissolution of you and CN, by the way. Nice doesn't always have to equate to boring, and exciting doesn't always have to correlate to douche. There are men somewhere in the middle. Probably not in Georgia, though. lol

Did you get to enjoy Octoberfest in Savannah this year? I had some friends who went and talked about how much fun it was.

Christina said...

I am so sorry to hear about you and CN but it sounds like you made the right decision. Which matters most. And great going at the job. Impressive! Good luck and we miss your regular blogging! :)

Len said...

How are you? Come back!