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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Highs and Lows in the Working World

8:37 a.m. I open Outlook to find a follow-up email from a non-Wiley member of yesterday's meeting…with minutes attached. The entire subway ride to work, I had been thinking about how I wanted to be the first to follow up about the meeting, to thank everyone for coming and complementing everyone on how informative it had been. So much for that. I grit my teeth and thank everyone anyway. Better to be polite, as planned, than to have my 2nd boss (henceforth to be referred to as Boss #2) ask me to do it later, anyway. My first boss (Boss #1) would probably have asked me to do it yesterday, already, so I should count my blessings.

9:10 a.m. I mistakenly type "meting" instead of "meeting" on an email and then send it to 75 members of a neuroscience journal's editorial board. Boss #1, who I cc'ed on the email, catches the typo and informs of the mistake, correcting not only that error but also how I have worded several paragraphs and ordered the information. I want break my hand and then punch myself in the face with it.

9:35 a.m. I figure out how to get one number from one cell in one Excel spreadsheet to link to a different cell on a second Excel spreadsheet by using a formula, rather than copying and pasting. This discovery, if applied properly, could save me unfathomable amounts of time in the future. I celebrate by boiling myself a second cup of tea.

10:15 a.m. A secretary from the corporate division calls and informs me that room 8-068—coincidentally the room that has typically been used for all regularly scheduled Current Protocol meetings, for which I am now responsible, long before I ever arrived at Wiley—has now been commandeered and must be surrendered by all individuals who have not reserved it strictly for its videoconferencing capabilities. Thus, I am being asked to cancel and rebook all twelve meetings I have scheduled in that room over the next eight months. "Just go in 8-067," I am told, which would be an easy switch if it didn't involve first cancelling 8-068, then rebooking 8-067, then fixing the calendar in Outlook, then reissuing invitations to all invitees correcting the location . . . for every single event. And of course, this is assuming room 8-067 is even available in all twelve instances, which it is most likely not.
The woman on the phone can hear the frustration in my voice as I ask if we couldn't just stay there, at least for such-and-such a meeting, and her response is a whimper-y no, no one's allowed, please don't be angry, she's just the messenger. I spend the entire rest of my morning juggling calendars and emails, and I still only manage to move three events out of that room by lunchtime. I am beginning to think that maybe the corporate division arranged this plot to try and make me quit, until Damian mentions it on our noon-thirty running group outing. I still do not feel consoled.

12:30 p.m. Our little running group heads out for a jog. It's cold, windy, and raining. If I lengthen my stride, I am running too fast for the group and cannot hear the conversation, never mind participate in it, but when I shorten my stride, I can feel the bad habit of trotting setting in. I settle for running at the front of the group, for which our self-appointed coach calls me the group's "pacer." I could feel good about this, if it weren't for the fact that I know I am the slowest runner on the entire Harrier running team, out in Central Park. I try to think about what fun it will be to play open-gym volleyball at the public gym in Chelsea after work, instead.

1:15 p.m. An email is awaiting me from one journal’s Editor-in-Chief, informing me that I have missed sending an invitation to one of his journal's board members. This is not the case, but there is no easy way to explain this. I spend the next hour-plus trying my best to appease him, his assistants, and Boss #1 so that everyone is assured that everyone will be attending their function. I would like to throw every single guest list on my desk into the trash bin, along with my computer and perhaps a few extra piles of mysterious papers that exist on my desk, for good measure. Why must everyone always be informed of everything?

3:40 p.m. I finally finish the Excel report I have been trying to create for Boss #2 for over a week. She is actually in her office, so I make the harrowing six-foot trek from my cubicle to her desk to show her what I have generated and to ask what she would like to have changed. She seems enthusiastic about what I have created, even as she suggests changes, and then we start to rehash yesterday's eReader meeting. She tells me her tentative vision for the project, and then adds that I'd be the perfect person to see it through. I am almost doing backflips as I leave her office, when she says “Oh by the way, thank you for following up with those gentlemen from yesterday. It’s the polite thing to do, but I just got so busy….” I actually do a backflip this time, at least in my mind. On days like this, a little positive reinforcement can go a long way.

1 comment:

Mike Smith said...

Allison- If you can figure out certain tricks, Excel can be your greatest friend on Earth. Keep poking at it :)