09 March 2024

Blogging limbo

I know there's been a paucity of substantive posts here in the last few weeks.  Going back to full-time work when you're not used to it any more really erodes one's time and energy.

I didn't exactly luck out in the choice of a temp job.  The person who was training me to replace her there while she's out was abrasive, adversarial, and flat-out abusive (aside from being totally incompetent at explaining things).  I've only encountered someone like her once before, long ago, and I quit that job on the second day.  She's finally gone, thank goodness for small favors.  The office is usually cold and noisy.  There is constant yelling and raucous, braying laughter.  People do not so much talk normally as sort of bark at each other, and one regularly hears two people trying to talk over each other and each of them getting louder and louder trying to out-overtalk the other.  It's not even hostile, this is just their normal pattern of interaction.  My aspirin consumption is through the roof from the near-daily tension headaches caused by overhearing all this.  I seem to be allergic to something in the office -- most days there I get watery eyes and a runny nose, which then clears up in a few minutes after I've left for the day.

The person who is finishing up the training is not actually nasty but is abrupt and unappreciative and clearly thinks I'm an idiot (yes, I make mistakes because so many things weren't explained properly).  The office processes seem twenty-plus years out of date.  The accounting software is the most cumbersome and frustrating to use I've ever encountered.  All documents are on paper, not PDFs in the computer.  Everywhere mountains of paper, paper, paper.  The accounting records are on physical paper in filing cabinets.  The boss's desk has a small clear space around his keyboard surrounded by stacks of paper and binders and whatnot a foot high.  It reminds me of an Alpine village under constant threat of avalanches.  You are constantly running to the printer to pick things up and trying not to accidentally get somebody else's stuff at the same time.  There are at least two people there who do that disgusting thing where they're going through a stack of paper and keep touching their fingertip to their tongue and then using it to pull on the edges of the sheets -- in a stack of paper you will have to handle later.  The boss is a nice guy but I rarely interact with him.  Most of the others are oblivious and have a conversational style that reminds me of those countries where all the drivers seem to think that blowing the horn is what makes the car go.  Spending forty hours every week in this environment doesn't create a good mental state for writing anything worthwhile about Islam or Neptune or movies or whatever.

Of course I know many jobs are much worse than this.  I would never have taken, say, a customer-service job.  But as an example of the kind of office work I've always done, this is among the worst.  And I'm 63 now and thought I was past this stuff for good.

Another oddity is that there seems to be essentially no personalized decoration of work spaces, not even the usual pop-culture stuff like a calendar with kitten pictures or a coffee mug with queen Elsa on it.  Everything is strictly functional.  This is unusual in offices.  I don't know what it says about the people.

Well, I've been there for five weeks now and have eight to go, assuming the three-month figure I was given is correct.  And I need the money.  I suppose I'll survive.  I'm not going to be at my best here on the blog or commenting on yours, though.


Blogger John A Hill said...

It sounds like quite the trial. I wish you well and hope you will adapt to endure it. I would not like to be in the position of needing to return to work.
Writing to vent may not be what you want for your blog, but it can be therapeutic. Sometimes I write and hit delete instead of publish.
Good luck.

09 March, 2024 06:05  
Blogger JustGail said...

That office sounds terrible. The longer I've been retired, the less noise from groups of people talking over each other I can handle, even if not done at
"loudest one wins" volume.
It's no wonder posts that take much thought are sparse. There's only so much a brain can do when so many hours are occupied by noise and much activity getting not much (?) done.

09 March, 2024 06:52  
Blogger Lady M said...

Take all the time you need. We will be here until you return.

09 March, 2024 07:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happens at the end of 3 months?
I hate loud noise of any kind..maybe headphones with nice quiet music?
And I bet most of your fellow workers are youngish people too..that would be hard for me. I’d feel totally unconnected. I think when you are older, live alone and not maybe real social, it can be very difficult. But time can sometimes make things better. Hang in there until you can find something more to your liking.

09 March, 2024 09:40  
Blogger dellgirl said...

This sounds very "mind-boggling" to me. You're doing a great job handling it, Thumbs Up to you on that! Take your time on getting back to blogging regularly, no need to rush it.

I’m just stopping by . . . saying hey, hi, and hello. I’m sending “good-vibes” your way and I wish you well. All the best to you, my friend! I hope you have a nice weekend!

09 March, 2024 12:29  
Anonymous Annie said...

Oh, my, Infidel; sure sounds like this is a trial. Are the headset and music possible? That might free you from the headaches and the need for aspirin, which I’m sure you know can be a stomach irritant.

Your posts and comments are invariably worth waiting for, so don’t worry about that aspect. And if it’s therapeutic to write here about your travails, write on!

Take good care.

09 March, 2024 14:33  
Blogger J roc said...

My office is rarely even half full now, but there's a member of staff who attends Teams meetings and is irritating. I put on Handels 12 Concerto Grosso Opus 6 and mostly cover the noise. I don't have it so loud I cannot be spoken to, but just enough to lower my ability to hear them.

09 March, 2024 18:07  
Blogger KanaW said...

That sounds awful. Constant noise like that can be really painful and even disorientating. You have my deepest sympathy, and my hopes that the next job is in a better place.

Don't worry about the output right now. I know I'll wait patiently until your head is working again.

09 March, 2024 23:53  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thank you, everyone, for your support and understanding. It means a lot.

Headphones (or earmuffs) aren't a bad idea, and I know some people actually use them in such situations, but for me they would be too much of a distraction. I'm sure people at the office would also find them very odd, even suspect.

I look forward to this being over with, and next time I need a temp job (if that happens), I'll try to get one that at least has a shorter term, just in case.

10 March, 2024 05:21  
Blogger seafury said...

Your description of that concentric ring of Hell makes me glad I drove a truck for 41 years. It does track with my experience of spending my non driving time waiting by a cubicle to make a pickup or get a delivery receipt signed. One can only hope that your contract isn't a long one and greener pastures await. Thank you again for this blog, it's one of my first stops now that I'm retired and I look forward to the link round up and every new observation. Keep your chin up and know that you're appreciated.

10 March, 2024 06:32  
Blogger Ami said...

I have had a job or two that made me just feel like crap the moment I walked in the door. Not a good fit for whatever reason. But this sounds really awful. I'm sorry you're stuck there for awhile, although having a finite amount of time has to be at least a little bit helpful for your mental health.

I hope that the job does what it's supposed to, help you catch up a bit financially.

As for keeping up with your blogging, you know we'll be reading when you do have time to write.

10 March, 2024 10:49  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

Well hopefully things get a little bit easier and better in the time you are there.

11 March, 2024 13:23  
Blogger nick said...

Your office sounds absolutely awful. I'm sure you'll be very relieved when your time is up. I had a similar experience at a local authority in London. Totally disorganised, people running around like headless chickens, no training whatever for the job I was there to do, which involved drafting legal documents when I had never drafted legal documents in my life. I stuck it for a week and then quit.

11 March, 2024 13:57  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

At the end of the three months, presumably, Ms. Nasty returns and takes her job back, and I leave since I'm no loner needed. I just hope there isn't some delay, or worse, a transition where they expect me to interact with her again.

I doubt my driving skills would mesh with driving a truck, but that kind of job does have its appeal, if the internet were available during off hours. At least there's very little in-person contact with people. Yes, this job is helping with the money situation. At the end I hope to have saved up enough to avoid having to work again for a month or two at least.

There are good days and bad days. I sometimes think about quitting, but it would really leave the company in a bad situation, and that wouldn't sit well with the temp agency. Oh, well, seven weeks and four days to go.

Seafury: Thank you for the kind words about the blog. I do put a lot of work into it (well, under normal circumstances) and it matters a lot to feel appreciated.

11 March, 2024 18:49  
Anonymous Reaganite Independent said...

OK , here it is 😁

I keep trying to get to a homepage but maybe that doesn’t really exist on your version of the app. Because I’m with blogger and my phone app is different I think, different template

Anyhow, hang in there man 😁

13 March, 2024 09:08  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Unfortunately I have no clue what a "phone app" might be. The home page is at https://infidel753.blogspot.com/ if that helps.

Still hanging in there, as the annoyances mount up.....

14 March, 2024 01:16  

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