Monday, May 17, 2010

Working It Out

I mentioned a while ago that I got a new job. I am working part-time in our church office doing the weekly newsletter, Sunday bulletins and power point presentations of the pastor's sermons. Even though I love my job, I must say that my re-entry into the workforce has not been as smooth as I'd hoped. First of all, I had exactly one week as a train-ee before my train-er left the country for two weeks. I tried my best to soak it all up and write it all down. She taught me well; but for some reason, I don't learn/remember as well as I used to. I believe there's a saying about "old dogs and new tricks" that might apply here...
Second, evidently I've gotten soft in the two years I've been a "domestic goddess". Getting up and going to work all day long, every day wiped. me. out. HannahKate berated me with mock empathy, "Awww, it must be hard to stay up all day long without a nap." (She's a sassy one, that girl. I have no idea who taught her that.) Two weeks into the job, I found myself going to bed at 9:00 each night. Even my kids don't go to sleep that early!
Third, back when I was a teacher, I single-handedly managed a class of 22 energetic six-year-olds, each with their own individual personalities and learning styles. But in my new career, the office equipment almost defeated me. There's a postage machine, a folding machine, a fax machine, a color copier, a black and white copier, and my arch nemesis ~the Riso. (This is an extremely large machine that can make copies about a bajillion times faster than the ordinary copy machine....when it wants to.) I mastered most of the machines with relative ease; however, the Riso refused to submit. For three solid weeks, even the simplest job I tried to complete on that beast turned into a major fiasco. I finally learned that the secret is in the care and handling of the paper. I asked about this when I first began, "How careful do you have to be with the stacks of paper?" To which L replied, "Oh, not too careful..." Evidently, her definition of "not too careful" and my definition are quite different. But now I finally have it figured out, and I believe the Riso and I have a healthy respect for each other.
The question that has plagued me is, "When did I become such an airhead?" I used to run a pre-school with 100+ children and 20+ employees, for heaven's sake! When did I become the person who does stupid stuff? The village idiot? In my first week, I managed to miss the post office deadline for the weekly newsletter, print mailing labels in alphabetical order instead of by zip codes (which put me on the "outs" with a certain volunteer who kindly helps each week), and run the Sunday morning bulletins upside down so that instead of tearing off the perforated visitor's card, one would tear off half of the order of service (which is no real benefit to us in the office when it comes to following up with prospects...). Oh and let's not forget the countless people I hung up on because I forgot to push the hold button on the telephone, or the fact that I changed the title of the pastor's sermon when I made the power point slides for one of the evening services.
Thankfully, L finally made it back from vacation and I've been able to relax a bit. Now I only work 3 days a week instead of 5. And even though I'm still a little intimidated by the Riso, I try to act like I know exactly what I'm doing. (I'm pretty sure it can smell fear...) I've mastered which direction the perforated paper goes into the copier when running the bulletins, and I ALWAYS make sure to print addresses by zip codes instead of alphabetically. I'm slowly but surely making friends with the grouchy lady at the post office so as not to miss any more deadlines, and I've learned to check, double-check, and re-check the powerpoint to avoid "re-writing" any more of the pastor's sermons.
When I used to just do "fill-in" work at the church office, any time I didn't know how to do something I could shrug it off and wait for the real secretary to return. Now I no longer have that luxury. I can't blame my mistakes on being "the temp" anymore. Hopefully though, I can ride the wave of being "the new girl" just a little big least until I figure out the "hold" button on the telephone.


Anjolee said...

Okay, I am sorry for your mishaps, but you had me cracking up there!!! It will get better and better I am sure! Glad you are just there part time now so you can still have some domestic goddess time. Every woman deserves some of that!
Thanks for the funny post!

Michelle B. said...

I love you, Denyse! (And will pray for you every Tuesday, for sure! )

Paisley said...

I know its not funny to you but I couldn't help but laugh. I think we have all been in similar positions before especially when stating a new job. I know I have.
I can remember when I first started in my department and had to run some preprinted air waybills for a few international shipments we needed to ship. Not sure what I did wrong but all of a sudden the machine began to print air waybills for every single location we ship to internationally. I was so embarassed and no matter what I did it would not stop printing. I felt like Lucy did in that episode where she and Ethel work in the candy factory and the the candy kept coming so fast they couldn't keep up. I went for help and no one knew how to stop it. Finally one of the managers came over and got it to stop. But I had already created a mess because now all these air waybills had to be updated in the system as invalid shipments. I never wanted to touch that machine again but I eventually did and was able to run it without a catastrophe.