Saturday, December 11, 2010
I thought I was going to put in about 3 hours at work today and it ended up being almost twice that without me achieving as much as I thought I would. I picked up the work that Yvonne could not do (she's worked from home while sick, but, when you work from home, you don't have full access to all the systems). Her student did not get as much done as I thought, so, when I came in this morning, I discovered that I needed to go back and fill in what was not finished. On top of that, the systems were running slowly. I guess IT was running some maintenance programs.
I ate different foods today and ended up on the low end of the range in most things. I feel really huge today and it's probably because I chugged diet sodas yesterday...
I am tired, tired, tired!
Friday, December 10, 2010
Today was something else! In yesterday's blog, I mentioned the awkward situation with the manager who was upset that I included his boss on an email about some legal research I had done. I included the VP not because he's the boss but because he is an attorney and a paralegal may not perform work without attorney supervision. Late this afternoon, the VP came to me and asked me how I was doing. I told him I am doing great! Then I asked him about the awkward situation yesterday. We talked and he understood completely why I had included him in the email and also why I had not earlier (I knew he was in an all day meeting). He said he spoke with the requesting manager yesterday and told him that the next time he has a request like that, he needs to have one of the attorneys ask me. Totally validated! I DID make the right decision! Of course I knew I did, but it was awesome to have that kind of support!
At lunch time, I drove to our outside counsel's office to deliver some discovery documents. It was casual dress day so I did not ask the receptionist to page him. I was not dressed to meet anyone! (I did not know I was going to do this before today or I would have dressed differently.) I left the confidential sealed envelope with her. Their office is really nice! It was moments from work, so I had the chance to take a walk and also augment my leftovers with a fresh salad from the cafe. It was a very short lunch time - work has been unbelievable! That was the first time I ever have done a trip like that. It's a little thing, but the fact that my employer trusts me to hand deliver legal documents was very cool!
I had two meetings this morning. The second was a leadership conference call with one of our board members. I may never meet him, but I would sure like to. He is very intelligent, degrees up the wazoo in areas of study that I would never pursue, he teaches, is the executive director of a think tank and was an astronaut. I am the only nontechnical person who attended, so it was a personal satisfaction to have him validate one of my observations.
The first meeting of the day was with our new CEO. It was a "this is what we did this year, these are the goals for next year" kind of meeting. I always sit in the front row because, otherwise, I can't see or hear. I am also known for asking questions. I asked one today that several people thought was really sharp. I never get tired of hearing that! The meeting opened with bagels, fruit, juice, coffee and toppings for the bagels. I had some fruit.
One of my coworkers brings in doughnuts every Friday and insists that I distribute some in the Finance group and I am supposed to have some. Today, no one wanted any and the smell got to me as the day wore on. The stress of workload almost triggered me to inhale some doughnut holes, but I stopped at one...! Progress!
I finished two of the big projects I needed to do for the outside counsel! Neither were as big as I thought they would be, so that was a nice surprise. I went to work very early and stayed very late. I will be going in tomorrow as well.
Yvonne has been sick and I have been attempting to cover her desk in between everything else. Her boss is the one with whom I had the awkward moment yesterday. Please keep her in your prayers. Her elderly parents are having some very serious health issues. She is scared! She is an only child and this whole thing is really freaking her out.
I have been having intermittent computer issues, so if I am slow to say thank you for spark goodies, post notes or whatnot, that is why...
Thursday, December 09, 2010
There were 11 working days left in the year when today started. I never did the countdown until this year. My company shuts down between Christmas and New Years. The end of the year push is really draining and stressful. I don't know how I'll get it all done!
Today ended with an uncomfortable situation that may blow up tomorrow. A manager (not mine) asked me to do research on a statute. It took me a while. I found the statute and it was 30 pages long! I read it, skimming first, then reread it more carefully. I also found a brochure published by the state attorney general's office. I wrote a memo with my findings and sent it to the manager. I also copied the director of the legal department who is, incidentally, his boss. I knew the VP was in an all-day meeting, so I had not bugged him about the request before doing it. I told the manager the reason I copied the VP on it is because he is an attorney and that, as a paralegal, my work is subject to legal supervision. The manager sent me an email saying that it is his prerogative to decide when the VP sees something. I replied that, in legal matters, by state statute, that prerogative explicitly does not exist and that, if I did legal work without attorney supervision (or prior direct authorization) then I would be breaking the law. The Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) is a very serious charge and I don't want to lose my career, my job, my bank account or my freedom for that!
In between the emails between the manager and me was an email from the VP saying to take it off line. I don't know what that meant. Maybe he did not know about the request. Maybe he thought I should have asked before doing the research. Maybe there were some other conversations about which I have no knowledge. He does have a hot temper and has been known to react before having all the facts. I very well could get chewed out tomorrow. I will stand my ground. I made the best decision I could based on what I knew. If I should have asked first, then, I know next time. (Assuming I don't get fired!). If the manager was right to be tweaked, then I wonder why an attorney would not want to know what his department is doing!
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
I had chana masala at lunch (a dish with rice, chickpeas and tomatoes) at the work cafe. To that, I added some spicy black beans and it was a feast! I was full, my palate was joyful and I lasted until dinner...
It's layoff season again. A couple of admins, two sales people, a lady in the payroll office, three technical guys and and attorney. I am sorry to see them all go. I feel diminished at their loss, but, obviously, the company believes it will do without them. We had a huge layoff a couple of years ago and I think that cut too deeply. However, I am very low on the organization chart, so...
I am, so far, safe, but time will tell.
Great news, however! I was invited to become a mentor for the new club that the employees at the VA are starting. I accepted conditionally - I had to clear the extended lunch hour with my boss. He approved today! I start in January! I am SO excited! It's a closed club (restricted membership), so I would not get to meet these people otherwise. The area governor said the club asked for me as a mentor! The lady whose speech I evaluated last month works with vets who've lost their sight. She trains them how to function in the world without sight. Improving her communcation skills will help her clients and I am humbled and excited at the prospect of contributing to her success! I am sure there are plenty of other stories behind each of these employees and I look forward to getting to know them.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
For years, I have taken December 7 as a personal day off from work. This is a day of remembrance, of prayer, of sorrow and of honoring our veterans. Today was no different in that respect.
It might be because I had two consecutive days of high calories, but I did not feel well today and was a complete couch potato. I am way under on everything, but I am not hungry and the thought of food makes me feel ill, so that's ok.
Part of it could be emotions, though I am not consciously aware of that. I can never look at the pictures of the USS Arizona aflame without a very strong burst of crying, even though I have seen those pictures hundreds of times.
I was not alive on 12/7/1941 but I have always had an exceedingly strong emotional reaction to the date, the topic, the pictures, movies, books...I have one of the best private collections of books about the Day of Infamy.
A friend told me once she thinks I must be reincarnated from someone who perished that day. I don't know about that, but it does ignite the imagination.
Years ago, I had the privilege to interview a Pearl Harbor survivor in Vermont. He was a civilian working at Pearl. He allowed me to tape the interview and gave me a print of a photo he took. His camera was confiscated when he put the next roll in. The Navy took the camera because of their intelligence concerns. He was a wonderful man and I treasure the memory of that day, his gracious interview and the photo.
I was at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1984 (way overdue for another visit to Hawaii!). I regretted I did not bring a lei (never thought about it until I was there and saw some in the water). I have a flag that was flown (run up the flagpole, really) there.
I once worked with a Japanese guy who had grown up in Hawaii. Cary's grandfather served on the Akagi, one of the Japanese ships involved in the attack. We used to talk about how times have changed and we were such good friends after our grandfathers tried to kill each other. Surreal.
My sister-in-law is Japanese and I will go to Japan some day (all it takes is money!). My brother has already promised we will go to Nagasaki and I expect that to be an extremely emotional visit.
The men and women of WWII truly were the greatest generation. I honor their memory, am awed by their sacrifice and appreciate their service.
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