Work and Fortnight’s Holiday

My apologies.  I’ve neglected my blog a bit recently because I’ve been so busy at work.  The past 6 weeks or so I’ve been amalgamating two completely different filing systems.  I’ve had tremendous help in the form of a personal slave – er, um, sorry.  I’ve had tremendous help in the form of an office junior.  The first one (before he lost the will to live and left) was very intelligent and I enjoyed his company.  The second one is a genuinely nice boy but not nearly so bright as the first.  I’m sure they have both made the odd mistake but having someone strictly dedicated to the project has been a tremendous help.  I couldn’t have done it without them!

I also had some help from my receptionist.  I’m about to have a moan: you’ve been warned!  She’s a sweet lady whose heart is in the right place.  However, I’ve had to teach her about the old filing systems as well as the new one.  How can anyone work for a business for 8 years and not know anything about the filing systems?  I’ve been there 18 months and I’m teaching her!  Then, after I’d taught her everything I knew, she was still making the wrong decisions when moving files to the new system because she hadn’t written down enough when I was teaching her about the files.  She doesn’t listen.

As well as not listening she thinks of the world only in terms of black and white.  So when she’s made mistakes (as we all do from time to time) I’ve had to take great pains to remind her “This is a huge project and we’re all bound to make mistakes.  Let’s just fix the problems as we find them and not worry about who’s made what mistake, OK?”  But because she only sees the world in black and white, she frets over the mistakes she makes.  Once she’s fretting, she makes more mistakes.  It’s a downward spiral that has left her saying things like “I’m so stressed!  I’m just not sleeping!”

At one point my boss stepped in and gently reminded both me and my receptionist that she and I work in completely different ways – I’m looking at the bigger picture and she’s focusing on each bit individually.  I’m working in a mess but it’s not chaos.  The receptionist cannot stand a hair out of place.  The receptionist tends to forget anything she leaves on the floor by her desk (and we have lots of files to convert) and has injured herself by tripping over boxes and slammed her hand in a cupboard door because she didn’t move the files sitting in front of the cupboard.  On the other hand, I’ve had piles of files 2 and 3 feet high – just waiting to be organised and given to the appropriate people to convert to the new system.  My boss just wanted us to appreciate that we’re both different and that we need to keep our perspective.  Now, I have to say I really respect this woman.  I am trying to learn as much as I can from her about how to manage people.  It was a perfectly reasonable conversation to have and I appreciated it.

After this, one of my accountants came to me and said that there was another essential bit that didn’t make it to the new file.  I told her that I’d find the missing bit.  No harm done.  Next thing I know, the accountant is asking my receptionist (who had indeed misallocated part of the file) to find it.  I didn’t know who to get more angry at: the accountant for not leaving it with me or the receptionist who will no doubt fret even more over the news that she’d made another mistake.

Finally, just when I’m struggling with the urge to strangle my receptionist, she’s started stepping on my toes with regards to running the project.  She’s trying to teach the second personal slave how to do things and I keep (gently) stepping in and doing it.  She’s been trying to organise the second personal slave’s pay and I’ve had to (gently) step in and tell her that it’s in hand – I’ve been doing it.  She’s pestered and pestered to see my holiday notes that I’ve given my boss.  I (gently) told her that these are with our boss.  My concern with the holiday notes in particular wasn’t just that she was stepping on my toes but also that she can barely cope with the slim part of the project she’s been given to do.  If she’s not sleeping now, what on Earth makes her think that she can cope with archiving everything while I’m away?

I’m grateful for the upcoming Staycation if only to get away from that daft cow!!  She’s the same one who, when I make the mistake of mentioning endometriosis, says “Why don’t you just…” – a most hated phrase if you have a chronic illness.  Honestly, does she think that I’ve not TRIED everything that her obtuse mind could think of to handle the symptoms??

I feel a little better after a good vent.  I can’t help but feel that I deserve a holiday after managing not to commit receptionicide!  Focusing on the positive, I’ve got a relaxing fortnight planned with my darling husband Helios.  The first week we’re not doing much of anything.  Then we’ll nip down South to collect Helios’s son Apollo.  Once here, we’ll show him around a bit and take him toLondon.  I’m so looking forward to seeing him again.  Bless him.  He does make me laugh.