If I had balls, they’d well and truly be busted to glass shards by now.
Yesterday was a “quicksand day” (I got that from Keanu Reeves in “The Replacements.”):
Okay, that was about football, but mine was about work. The analogy still works.
When I screw up at work, it’s one thing. When I can’t figure out what the hell got all screwed up at work because I was working constantly and doing my best, that’s another.
It was quicksand. When I’m not tutoring, I’m working as a receptionist and spend most of that time with customers (in the morning, anyway) with appointments to check and transmit proper IDs and such to employers and government agencies that need them,
It’s supposed to cut down on the wait time at places like the DMV, which put a stop to anything not-vehicle related a few years ago.
Some of the quicksand feeling came from the customers, but it wasn’t their fault. I had 3 in a row where someone put their info in wrong and we had to call and sort it all out. That took a lot more time than usual. But then, once we got that situated for all of them, the customers flooded in and never stopped.
Every time I’d turn around to take care of another customer, it was like they were rabbits–more and more were in the waiting room and I wasn’t making a dent. It got tough and I was starting to feel my annoyance rise because on the sign in sheet, it looked like some of them had tried to manipulate their appointment times in the hope that I’d overlook what they did and just take them in order.
I had a few try to get in 2 hours early. For the first time ever (and trying not to sound irritated, judgmental, or pissy…which I mostly succeeded at), I made a blanket announcement that whoever’s appointment time wasn’t for another hour or two would need to come back. I said I was going to have to skip over those names because there were at least 15 people already there within half an hour of their appointment time and it wouldn’t be fair to make them wait longer when they were already being so patient. Then I shut the window and continued with a new customer.
It was a quicksand day for sure.
And it didn’t end until my replacement came and took over–and by then there was only 1 customer left and a few returns with their documentation.
I’m just glad for two things, really, that I have to acknowledge as my little savings graces:
- Most of the customers were okay, I didn’t get angry yelling or confrontation or anything. I think they noticed I was being constant and attentive, working fast as I could and therefore didn’t give me any grief for it (though I don’t do well with a full waiting room–the curse of the receptionist on a bad day–and ended up apologizing to every single person I had in the last hour). Wish I didn’t have that problem, but I just couldn’t figure out what happened.
- The phone was silent. Part of my job is answering the phone and if we want to keep our jobs, we need to pick the damned thing up. Somebody up there decided Murphy was having a bit too much fun with me and kept it quiet. Otherwise, it could’ve been a lot worse–prospective customer calls can take up to 20 minutes if they give me all the relevant info, and I was at least 30 minutes behind for many people.
But I’m usually the quickest at that part of the job–that’s what kept bugging me. How did I get so far behind when I wasn’t distracted by tons of other things?
It was like little things added up. I was on sand and somehow the tap was left on to drip and I started to sink.
I think that’s what happened. I can’t pinpoint one particular thing. It was a myriad of little things that kicked my ass:
- The three customers in a row with faulty information
- At least four didn’t have the right payment method and had to leave and come back, which put them in a crowded waiting room when they would have otherwise been gone.
- I had people crossing out their names and asking me about re-scheduling, and some crossed out the wrong ones because they weren’t paying attention or they took up two lines and I didn’t know who was doing what.
- Some tried to manipulate their appointment times, as if I wouldn’t notice. I had the print out time sheet right next to me the whole time, so yeah, that wasn’t going to work. All it did was irritate me.
So yeah, a little thing plus another plus another, and it all snowballed into some major weirdness that I just couldn’t escape. I was still fuming when I left. I don’t do well with falling behind and failing without knowing how.
And then my job applications came back with rejects…just means I gotta make a new plan of attack and try again this weekend.
At least I’ll be working on that aggression with some super good coffee and a new cleaning plan. Throwing crap away and knocking it down with hammers can feel damned good.
Have a good Saturday. I’ll be working on mine.
One thought on “Surviving a day made out of quicksand…”
Dealing with the public at the job (whoever they may be) most always seems to be an exercise like attempting to control the wind, and twice as exasperating. Sounds like you handled it all quite splendidly! Entertaining post! Thank you…. best to you!
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