Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In the shops

I came back to work after my trip to Arizona on the 19th. I'm on my second week in the shops. From the forecasts, it looks like it'll be at least two weeks, probably longer, until the boat can reopen. Currently, the water level needs to be below 13.5 feet. And in the next ten days, the lowest level predicted is 16 feet. I think it's a combination of the constant rain we've been having plus spring runoff from the snowy mountains.

I spent all of last week working on putting together a system and manual for time sheets. Seems mundane, but I'm rather pleased with myself. I created a spreadsheet for filling out time sheets that does the math for the employee. This way, it's more likely to be correct, and saves a lot of time for the supervisors. Hopefully we'll have a staff meeting with all of the operators this week to go over it all and get everyone started. I'm a bit apprehensive. I've tried to make it as simple as possible, but I know that I'm working with a group of people, many of whom are not computer literate at all.

Tomorrow, I think I'll spend most, if not all, of the day tutoring an operator-in-training, who has really been struggling with the Coast Guard exam. At least it's something different, since the time sheets are starting to make my eyes cross.

I realized, once I finished the time sheets, that it was something I really have missed while working the ferry: the sense of accomplishment of completing something. You don't get that simply by going across the river and back, or hauling combines or bikes or whatever. But putting together a manual, which taught me MS Word skills on formatting, plus Excel stuff about formulas and privacy protection, has really made me feel good. I miss that feeling. I miss working with a customer, and finding them an answer. I miss finishing a complicated land use case, turning it in, and knowing that it was great. Dang it, I miss my job.

And sitting at my old desk, with my friends, has made it worse. It's so much fun to be back. My favorite coworker and I have been gossiping non-stop. I'm catching up on all of the latest drama for the county sanitarian, the code enforcement crew, everyone. But it's so odd to be there. I don't feel comfortable eating lunch in the break room. I feel like I really don't belong there. There are new people that've been hired on since I was laid off, and I know they look at me inquisitively wondering who I was and where the heck did I work?

I know most of that's in my head, but still. The other problem is that slowly, the boredom is starting to creep in. I'm doing my best to keep me busy. But if my boss gives me a computer task, assuming it'll take all day or all week, I'll be done with it in about 3 hours, max. I'm not really wanting to go back for more work that same day, I'm afraid that I'll run out of stuff he wants me to do. Keep in mind I'll be here at least two more weeks. It's an interesting juggling act.

Anyway, that's a random assortment of stuff in my brain right now.

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