Surviving the Cataclysm

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Reposted from Blogger. Original Post December 7, 2008

You’ve reached the blog of a possibly mad financial aid advisor at a large community college. If you’ve reached this blog by mistake, I suggest you run now. Should you continue forward, you do so at your own risk, and I cannot be held responsible for any bad dreams, gross outs, or coffee snorted out the nostrils via the sinus cavity.

superheroEvery blog has to start somewhere, so I’ll start with how my week went. No, actually, I’ll start with the “superhero” names for my office coworkers, for the sake of their anonymity. This is an idea I had for my current novel-in-progress, and it seems suitable to carry it over to here. Some of the names used in my manuscript are used here; forgive me for the lack of originality, and please know that none of my characters in the novel are based on anyone living (only on some of their antics and circumstances, my own included).

  • Fearless Leader – Boss Lady’s boss. This is not a term of endearment, either. We’re the redheaded stepchild of the departments under his scope of supervision, and he’s often clueless about our needs and requirements.
  • Boss Lady – Our intrepid manager. She does two jobs for the pay of one and little thanks except from us.
  • Pokey – Slower than the movement of the tectonic plates. It may take her a while, but she’ll eventually get the job done; unfortunately, it’s usually too little, too late.
  • The Happy Wanderer – We never know where she is, which is unfortunate because she knows everything. We only seem to need her extensive knowledge when we can’t find her.
  • The Cruise Director – If there’s a party to be planned, she’s your gal. She has decorations for all seasons and is ready to plan an event at the drop of a hat. I may also refer to her as Her Majesty, as she is the self-professed Queen of Everything.
  • Chicken Little – The sky is falling, the sky is falling! Everything is a catastrophe. But she’s fun.
  • The UOM – Every office has one of these: the Unofficial Office Manager. We love her to death, but–God love her–sometimes we’d like to beat her to death.
  • The Germaphobe – She’s the one who’s always cleaning and disinfecting. And yes, we give her large rations of crap about it.
  • Wide-Mouth Frog – Couldn’t shut her up if you superglued her lips together. If you want something broadcast far and wide, she’s your girl.
  • Yours Truly, aka Tasmanian Devil – Don’t piss her off. Please. This is me. 😀

Now, for how my week went:

The Federal Student Aid Conference was held Dec 2 – 5 in Las Vegas. Yours Truly was scheduled to go, along with The UOM, but due to statewide budget cuts, our travel was axed. Probably a good thing, too–not sure I could have afforded Vegas this year. My Exploder died and I had to get a new car. Cost us a minimal down, but it was our Christmas money, so times are tight.

Aside from that, it’s a good thing for the office that we didn’t go as well. As it was, there were five of us left in the office (Yours Truly, Chicken Little, The Germaphobe, The UOM, and Pokey). Pokey doesn’t answer phones, although she’s supposed to, so that left four of us on phones. Our work study students had various issues this week: mandatory DSHS one-day seminar, illness, death in the family, and broken pipe in apartment, so we only had intermittent help.

Of course, this week was the last week to turn in paperwork and have our guarantee that we’ll have financial aid ready to pay tuition. Last-minute Lucys scurried like lemmings into our office–most of them after calling first; nothing like a double-whammy–to turn in paperwork and resolve issues. At one point in the week, I felt like that lady in OfficeSpace–the one who answers the phone multi-line phone with the same greeting over and over: “Financial Aid, how may I help you? Financial Aid, how may I help you?” Talk about conditioning–I don’t salivate at the ring of the bell; I get up to answer the phone.

The UOM nearly imploded over Pokey not answering phones or disappearing for 45-minute lunches and 30-minute breaks (our allotted times are 30 and 15 minutes, respectively); Chicken Little managed to maintain her equilibrium, and we actually managed to have a pretty good time even though it was really stressful. At one point in time, we found the front desk unmanned, so she and I ended up there for two and a half hours without quite knowing how. Since The UOM had class and The Germaphobe had to pick up her mother at the airport, that left Pokey on phones (or, rather, not on phones). And Fearless Leader never showed his face until Friday afternoon despite the fact he promise Boss Lady he would. Typical.

Add to the stress of the week: I had my final transcription tests to take, and 37 applications to score for a position at the District business office for which I’m serving on the interview committee. Guess what I did all day Saturday? Yup–read applications. And by the way, peeps, having totted up the end-of-the-day cash receipts at the local 7-11 does not qualify you as a Fiscal Technician. Oy. At least learn some PeachTree.

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