We're All Suffering
2020-06-08, 9:36 p.m.
recently on Chaos Attraction
Hoooo boy, work. I had five hours of meetings in a row and then had less than an hour off before Coworker Sarah wanted to Zoom again, but at least she kept it to a minimum in the afternoon. Tigress had to go into the office today so we had to do all the work trainings (otherwise known as "Hey, remember that thing I said two weeks ago I can't get to work? Oh, you can't get it to either, eh?) in the morning, plus we had the aforementioned meeting with BigBoss.
I found out that my coworker who died's husband died a few days ago and Tigress and Lioness went to the funeral. Even if people in their culture don't touch, I.... can't even with physically GOING TO A FUNERAL RIGHT NOW. EVERYONE IS TELLING YOU NOT TO DO THAT. I don't know how they are somehow ducking catching things, y'all. I guess we wait another two weeks and see, but still. Jeebus.
Okay, onto the meeting: Lioness kicked it off by saying, "I shoot form the hip, and it's not intentional if it comes out the wrong way." How come I can't get anyone to acknowledge this about me? Anyway, she said that we haven't been able to keep the public service team filled for years, we're going to be down to three people, we can't retain people, and the portals are over 950 and people are sending complaints that they can't get responses in time or at all. How are we going to get any help? "Maybe the service bar has changed and I'm not aware of it."
BigBoss said there's a hiring freeze and they just don't use the words, and anything has to be approved first by SuperBig Boss ("he asks a lot of questions,"), then by the giant office overseeing us, and THEN the "vacancy management committee." One person is being filled for a few months through this new temp program, but she only works 75% time and what do we do when all the temps run out. But "there isn't anything we can do about it right now," and the only option we have is to try to put positions in again in 3 months or longer or whatever. She acknowledged that she had to answer "what happens if the position isn't filled" and she said degredation of services is going to happen. Some folks have been asked to fill in on portals for the week--a few folks are doing 2-3 hours a day or week, one person is just going to do nothing but portals all week this week. BigBoss is unclear on the details of how the new temp program works or if we can use it for the public service team.
She went into great detail about trying to retain her assistant ("I tried five times" and everything she did was thwarted) and "I've just been heartbroken over all of this." About the only good news is that the vacancy committee is now saying they don't have to approve extensions of temps if they are less than six months, but that still has to get through the first two levels anyway. We can't hire more temps because they have to go through all three levels and nothing can be done until a contract is about to expire. Of course our services will decline. Getting others in other sections to fill in is all we can do. And then we're going to have to cut positions for budget cuts too. If a position is budget cut, it's gone forever and we can't get more temps (not that we can now), and nobody can be reassigned without going through the whole three layer process again.
"I just feel as concerned as you all do," and "there's no way to sugarcoat it and say oh, this is good. It is what it is." and "I think what you want is a solution that resolves the problem and we won't get that right now" and "It's ugly" and '"We said everything you're saying. Please don't think we didn't ask," and "You're fighting for your life here. I need better arguments" and "We're all suffering under a very different kind of reality." She wants us to document when things go wrong. Penguin Girl asked if staff was going to get any grace for not being able to get stuff done.... Hmmm, I don't think there was an answer to this one. Of course. Tigress pointed out it will cause double work when we can't get things done in time.
FINE, I ASKED A QUESTION SO I WOULDN'T GET IN TROUBLE FOR NOT SPEAKING. Well, I didn't really ASK one, I just pointed out that we need to decide what's going to fall through the cracks. (Note: then later on in the day I got emails asking when I was going to key thousands of things and had to say over and over again, "Sorry, been pulled off of that due to extreme short staffing, go complain to my supervisor if you don't like it." One of them was understanding.) My boss was all, they're aware of that. Mm-hmmm.
Also, what should we do when people complain about paying the same price for reduced services that are "detrimental to success?" Erm.... well, nothing. No answer to that one. BigBoss blamed it all on the evil New HR program and said "we wouldn't have been caught with six vacancies when it all happened" had that not ruined everything.
Lioness claimed she felt better after this and that BigBoss smiled a lot during this. I....can't say I noticed that, but whatever makes you "get some relief" today, I guess. Penguin Girl looked like she was about to cry and when someone said something about live long and prosper, said "I'm missing the prosper part."
After BigBoss left, Coworker Sarah suggested that we name our newest Slack channel "Titanic" (it wasn't) and Tigress said, "We controlled our emotions really good." Later in the training meeting, Coworker Sarah said, "Your ship's gonna sink. What are you gonna do?" and Tigress was all, we put it out there and it's up to them and "that's the predicament management has put us in."
Also, one of my coworkers has apparently been dubbed the Keymaster because he sent out emails demanding that we inform him of every single key we have and what it goes to. To which I was all, "fuck if I know, I didn't know what most of these keys were to before this and I haven't used them in months," (it would be lovely if they'd label the damn things, but no, you can't, and I can't explain why I have some of the ones that I have been given in the first place). I attempted to guess what they were, but he was Not Pleased and he demanded that I go to the office and use all of them to find out what they were. To which my boss was all, um, nope, she is not allowed to go to the office right now, leave it be, and he literally sent an email saying "Sad face!" Oh, for fuck's sake, dude. I'm glad she sent that before I had to respond, because FUCK NO I AM NOT GOING BACK UNLESS THEY MAKE ME. Like, he lives in my town and if he wants to ride his little bike over here and I will throw him the keys from my door and he can figure it out himself, fine by me, but NOPE, not otherwise. It won't kill you to know the origins of the keys for a place we can't go to anyway.
At least meditation class during lunch today was nice. I tried to nap in my papasan chair and it was as close to a hug as I will ever get again, most likely.
My mom called me three times today asking where the tax paperwork was. I mailed it to her just before the pandemic hit and I was all, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON'T ASK ME WHERE TO FIND IT NOW, I AM NO LONGER SANE AND DO NOT HAVE THE BRAINSPACE TO DEAL WITH THIS PROBLEM. She found it on her own, thank god. She also sent me this article. Mmm-hmm.
The library is ready to take our books back now! Sigh. Yet Another Problem to deal with. Will they be doing curbside service? I guess later. I won't be getting anything, of course.
Tonight I watched a lecture by the Fleet Science Center on "The Women Pioneers of Space Science." The guy doing the lecture had a sign behind him saying "Time Travel? Ask Me How!" YES PLEASE, GET ME OUT OF HERE. He also mentioned Henrietta Swan Leavitt and Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson (the Hidden Figures ladies). Sue Findlay, Laurel van der Wal (Frankie) , Margery Townsend, Nancy Grace Roman.
"The wider the pool of talent, the more likely you are to make progress in ANY field."
He said NASA wasn't segregated at the time like in the movie, and the bathroom thing wasn't how it went in the movie. Katherine Johnson literally used the white bathrooms on her own that were closer by, dammit.
"Women are fundamental to everything we do."
I asked about time travel and he said:
I should be getting other stuff done--I need to type up a lot of notes--but good god, I can't get my brain to do that shit. I'm having a problem with my knitting coming off off compared to what the instructions say and I can't figure that out either.
I forgot to mention a few things from yesterday. I did get a card in the mail from Cameron adding me to her pen pal program, saying I was under no obligation to write back if I didn't have to, which is very sweet. I immediately wrote her a two page handwritten letter, but I won't mail it until two weeks from now, and I explained why. Said that theater and crafts are going really well, work and agoraphobia are not. I leave myself the option to add more to it within two weeks if I feel like it, I think.
And I had some adorable emails with Coleman about being unicorn-y, the Gavle Goat, fruit, the play, magic, etc. I liked what she said about Scott: "He sees you as extremely extroverted on or off the stage, which probably thrills him. Again, I've learned to not put all of myself into 'waiting' for someone. If the frequencies align, seems they will eventually meet. Who knows what can bloom in this social distancing storm, but you can try to be creative and, like I said, become the safe forest he can bloom in. Or you can be his sun to help him self-photosynthesize." I like this, just am not sure how to execute it.
I also got this on a mailing list. A sign?