Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Round Robot

One of the many evolving wonders of modern technology is JUST how many people you can get holding for each other at one time. Travel is an especially good matrix to get a truly spectacular Round Robot going; one person planning travel for another may be on the line with them while simultaneously on the line with an agent, the agent may be on hold with two entirely different air carriers looking for options … a single call can take well over an hour, easily.

If you’re truly lucky, you may be on hold with Orbitz, who have the most unbelievably suicidal-kitten hold music ever conceived; a short piece, but played on repeat, it begins with all the pathos of a sad, big-eyed cartoon pet in the rain, and ends on plaintive piano notes fading into nothingness, the only emotional response to which is bleak despair. As appropriate as that can be, if you make any part of your living working on travel for others, it feels almost aggressive.

Yesterday I indulged in the foolishness of reporting to work at 8:00 a.m., the actual time I am expected to be in. Usually, I’m a 7:30-er, but, lacking for sleep and unable to cope with it at oh-dark-thirty, I allowed myself that half an hour, with the result that the moment I walked in I was running at top sprint.

Today, I came in at my usal too-early, and had just gotten everything fired up and running when I decided to check an airline website for the status of my boss’s flights, when he emailed me himself to point out the ugh-worthy: first leg delayed an hour and forty six minutes.

This led to an hour and thirty-six minute Round Robot – if you don’t count the follow up discussions, and a second call to get him checked in on the latest edition ticket.

Starting off a day with this sort of thing means the day doesn’t get the chance to drag – at least, early on – which is nice, as when things move along you’re not hating the clock. Still, getting in at 7:30 works better for me in a long run. I don’t like being caught up short right at the start, and an early start often means I’m ahead of obstacles.

It’s also what I’ve become mentally and physically used to, over the past few jobs with flex schedules.

The discipline of early-ness was hard won and now seems to be difficult for me to shake. There was a time (it seems not so long ago, but it’s about a dozen years now) when going in to work at 7:30 was exceptional; the occasion of some special meeting or corporate event. Now, I can hardly see how it’s possible to show up at report-in time and really be effective. It can take half an hour just to get booted up, everything opened and organized, and to put on the day’s work shoes.

Today I got off my desk a series of invoices, processed expenses already spent, shifted risk items and fleet notices and provided titles to Finance. I secured several things that need to be shredded, and sorted a stack of outstanding items and one recall notice. Not bad, and constantly going (even if, sadly, not moving enough!).

I wouldn’t make a half-bad robot myself, some days. Only better.


Colin Smith said...

I temped as an Administrative Assistant for a year or so when I first came to the States. I was usually assigned to assist the permanent Admin, which meant I was scheduling meetings and travel and handling the day-to-day stuff while she was taking care of bigger projects going on at those businesses at that time. It takes a certain skill and discipline to do that kind of work well, so hats off to you, Diane. From what you've said before, your boss treats you well, and well he should!

Anonymous said...

7:30, Diane! Been there, done that, for YEARS. During the last bit of time at the BIG CORPORATION I made a 60 mile trip (one way mind you) 2-3 times a week. I got up every Thursday at 4:30 to ensure I'd be there by 7:30 to ensure I'd have the meeting room, overhead screen, and my laptop all connected in anticipation of running the weekly CIO meeting. THIS, after managing 18 people (at one point) managing sophisticated technical projects, and working in Voice Engineering. But, it paid well, and I really loved the people. You sound like a great employee, but there's something else you do much better..., and here's to THAT coming to reality soon.

DLM said...

Oh, I'm a a better admin than I am an author - but as a *writer* I do have talent. Still, twenty-nine years into this career almost, I'm stronger there, as far as the work goes.

My team are a blessing I'm grateful for every day. But here's to the currently-unpaid second job indeed!