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.
Monday, December 06, 2010
Yesterday was a big carbo load (see yesterday's blog) and I was *determined* to make better choices today. Wendy and I had lunch today, our only chance to do so before she heads back to Charlotte on Thursday. We went to Chilis and I had every intention of reading the nutrition info before going, but did not do so. I was swamped from the moment I got in the door. I should have set myself a Spark appointment to do it because I never thought of it while I was at the computer.
I should have lived my entire life not knowing how good their hot spinach and artichoke dip is! I was absolutely *stunned* when I read the info this evening! I always tell people to research before they head opset ut and I did not do so. My entre was the margarita grilled chicken and it comes with rice and black beans. We did not eat all of the dip or chips, but I inhaled all of my entre.
Today was crazy. I spent all day working for another department. I was cross-trained on this task a few months ago and I told my boss at the time that Yvonne would assume that I would step in and help her out during this crunch time. Sure enough! She is still upset that I did not help her out at all last week. I told her I was working on a project for the top attorney and she was only partly mollified.
I processed some orders today and went down to distribute the files to the negotiators and saw that Yvonne was logged into Facebook! On company time! I was a bit annoyed, but she was in a really nasty mood so I just walked away. She apparently came in yesterday and did some work - rare overtime. But she was not grateful, she was angry and resentful about the work. We have a different approach to things, I guess.
This afternoon, I discovered that she had done one of my files yesterday, but had left the request in my inbox! I had created a duplicate! I had to undo it...I'm just glad I caught the mistake. That kind of double invoice would be a very bad situation! I saw that she had made a mistake on another deal and am concerned that she's overworked to the point that doing more work generates more mistakes than positive product.
I'm not sure what to do. If I mention something to my boss, it may come across as if I am tattling. If I stop helping her, that hurts the company because this work *must* get done before Christmas. But my boss may be quite upset if he finds out otherwise what the situation is.
Getting off my high horse. I am still new at this task so it's not as if I knock out the contract creation and data entry as quickly as she does. But, this falls in the category of seeing a student employee playing solitaire or surfing on company time...I think I will sleep on it and not react right now.
I am off tomorrow as a personal day off. It is Pearl Harbor Day which is a solemn day of remembrance. I will miss the holiday Christmas brunch at work and the patent celebration (more food) in the afternoon. Actually, I am relieved not to be around the food! But these are the events where it's important to be seen...However, my observation of Pearl Harbor Day trumps office politics.
I plan to get some exercise in, too! Boy, do I need it after these two days!
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Today was the long-awaited fun day in San Francisco with my coworker friend from our Charlotte office. We are both paralegals and we get along wonderfully. We met for breakfast and I ate too much...I had an egg beater omelette with a bit of cheese, spinach and green chili. I had two heavy pieces of wheat toast and tasted some of the potatoes. I always am amazed how much food is prepared for breakfast.
Lunch was at Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco - a clam chowder in a sourdough bowl. I had never had that before. It was good, but, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about the choices I had made.
We did some window shopping and Wendy picked up a few Christmas presents. We went to the very small aquarium. It was so relaxing!
The best part was talking and visiting. What a great day as far as that goes.
I could have made better food choices and we did not walk as much as I could have handled (about 6K steps). Wendy is younger than I am but weighs a lot more so she was not interested in walking much.
Tomorrow, we are having lunch together and I will definitely make better choices!
Tuesday is the big day: the company Christmas brunch buffet (including caroling by a local high school choir) and the patent celebration in the afternoon (more food). However, I won't be there. Tuesday is also Pearl Harbor Day and that will never be a day for celebration as far as I am concerned. I always take it off as a personal holiday. But that is a subject for a different forum.
I was a little surprised that Wendy has not noticed the loss of 20+ pounds or at least she did not comment. Perhaps she did not because weight is an uncomfortable subject for her. I am ok with that. I am not happy that I have not lost more by now, but I am very glad that these pounds are gone forever!
I have not heard anything more about Mom. She is very much in my heart.
Thanks for the comments, support and SparkGoodies! You help me stay centered.
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