27 March 2007

Schmoozin' Around, the novel

Last Wednesday, I finally wrapped up all of my projects. My shelf taping, shelf reading, and other assignments were complete. My office was totally impersonalized. I transferred all files to the shared drives. I finished the document about how to do everything I do. Wil and I finished approving 35 documents on the 21st and the last 2 on the 22nd. My work was done, as far as I could go (the printer was being lame again). I gathered up my things, went into Wil's office, and closed the door to show him the document. I ate my last yogurt there and took some silly pictures with Wil, which I transferred before polishing my desk to leave it nice.

Three hours later, I was on the train home, blackberry-less, badge-less, and job-less--by my own choice. I would have given two weeks, gladly, but I wanted to be able to slip away quietly, and also, every time I mentioned anything about ever leaving, Wil went weird.

I never did post all the pictures I took to show the massive project of the new training manuals. Here they are. (They are without fancy formatting, or caption ordering of any kind. Just guess: Me, exhausted from slaving away all day to do my regular duties, staying up late and getting up ridiculously early to write the book. The laminator and computer nearest to the printer, three of which burned out three different times and brought the wrath of other units upon me. Wil's office, messy? No! The infamous shredder that Wil saves papers for shredding, surrounded by bags of shredded, outdated documents. New, incomplete manuals lined up alphabetically around Wil's office. The only way to fit all the documents in one area for distributing.

After the fateful day, I went to Moab with the Bankheads (thank you Bankhead family, you are very accepting, generous, friendly, and hardcore). We got in a good hike and some awesome rockclimbing (pictures will be posted eventually, I am especially proud of my climb up the Flakes of Wrath). The ride back was nice, it was just Jace and I. We talked about a lot of random things and just enjoyed the scenery of Utah. He sounds exactly like Paul. We compared job notes and how we hated not working hard. I remember Dad saying a long time ago that I should go out with Jace. He's dating Kelly, so not now, but maybe later. I wonder if he'd think that's too weird. Paul mentioned to me that he kept forgetting Jace is my same age (well, six months younger), because he thinks of me as so much older. It took me the full 24 hours with the Bankheads to view Jace as even close to my age, he seemed so old to me. Ha. I told Jace that I love that the Bankheads are straightforward, the way I am. It is so refreshing to have people cut right through the bush. For example, most conversations would go something like this: "Thank you so much for letting me come with you. I would really like to reimburse you for the expenses." "Oh, you don't have to do that [meaning: "you'd better or I will make sarcastic jabs at you"]." This is how one of our conversations went: "Speaking of money, I can pay for half of the hotel room." "No, you don't need to pay anything. However, you should offer to pay for gas." Perfect. Short, sweet, and complete. I didn't have to dig for real meaning. I knew that he was sincere and I knew what I should do. We filled up on my card. Why can't normal people communicate like that? Steve and I had a conversation about the things we love in Crucial Conversations, which by the way, I asked if I could keep since I love it so much. He said that he sugarcoats or backs off. I told him how I think Mike and I have reacted to our parent's lack of communication in opposite ways. I am too blunt, which takes people off guard and intimidates them, and he is too vague or he avoids talking about issues. I think we both need to moderate, although probably me more than him. I think Mike and I just haven't had many opportunities to become friends with each other, and it's hard for us to get past our communication differences.

So far, I have had no wish to return to the Library. There were too many things that I couldn't deal with anymore. Why make a job that people love miserable for them? Amy says she thinks I'll be pleasantly surprised when I go work for another company and discover that not all companies are like what I've seen. People actually want to work and do their best and communicate, or they are let go. I have, however, thought of numerous things I should have done or that need to be done, such as cover my assigned windows on Thursday (if I had any). Today I found out the newsletter for April is lost forever, because it was the one thing I forgot to transfer onto the shared drive. They'll have to start from scratch, which makes me feel bad. Bertha, my coworker, finally passed away after a horrible bout of pemphigus. I'm glad for her. It looks and sounds miserably painful. I didn't go to the funeral, I would have been going for the wrong reasons. I wish her family had done an obituary. I would have liked to read that.

I think my eyes are feeling better because I'm less stressed. I don't wake up in the morning and think, "I really just want to go back to bed and sleep all day," although I have been sleeping a lot more, maybe as catch up for the last year. (Early to bed, late(r) to rise, and long naps, all combined make it hard to get up anyway.) I don't feel constantly weighed down. I can actually get in the shower and not worry about all the things I need to do, all the people I need to re-win, etc. I feel rather free, although I know I will have to grow up and go back to working or studying some time.

I think it really says something about those who contacted me. They will never know how much that reaching out meant to me. Brett and Steve wanted to see if I was okay. (By the way, Steve is engaged, woohoo! He is so amazing.) Ashley T sent me an email about how she appreciated my work and hoped things went well for me. The director of the Library emailed me, but that wasn't comforting at all, it was just weird. It didn't say anything at all that I expected. Part of me hoped that others would call and apologize for all the criticism and lack of communication. No one deserves attacks like that. I firmly believe in giving feedback, making changes, etc., but not in generalizing one person's ideas and actions into an overall judgment without even trying to work together and move on. Certainly people are wondering what happened last week. I'm glad to hear some people are being proactive (finally) and moving on. I would have done so earlier, but I wanted to have things wrapped up first. I wonder if those who move on will do the same favor to the unit. Probably not. Others don't care about their jobs the way I did. They weren't willing to work longer or to have more late nights. I wonder how Kristin is. She is such a kind, helpful soul. I wonder why she stays. She would be awesome in cataloging, reference, you name it. And, she'd be making more. I think she's a bit afraid of change. I felt that every time I tried to push her in a new direction. I hope the best for her. I miss those new part-time guys. They are so cool. I hope all the shelf taping gets finished before the end of March. I did what I could. I hate missing deadlines. I know people were mad about me trying to force deadlines, but if they weren't doing anything effective about it, why couldn't I have my team or the trainees or missionaries help? What's wrong with cooperating to get work done?

Wil's been taking it hard, but it doesn't help that he's been sick recently. Brett will be awesome. I talked to him on the phone a few times today. I let him know when he called last week that I love the Library and am willing to help whenever I can. He wants me to write a farewell for the newsletter, which I think is really nice of him. I really loved my job and made it my life, but I have been so worn down that what I've tried to write so far just doesn't show the dedication I felt for my job.

So, you've probably been thinking, "Hello! Get to the point! What are you going to do now?" This week I'm taking off to relax a little and to study. Study for what, you ask? For an interview with Google, scheduled for Jamesy's first birthday. Over the weekend, Paul drilled me with tough questions that could be asked. I've been reading books about Google as a company and its products. I've been playing with the internet more than I think is healthy, but I've enjoyed it and discovered some really cool things. I want to be a Google expert before they call on Monday. Then, while I wait for an offer or a rejection, I think I'll do some subbing for a little extra cash. April 16th I'll find out about the Columbia Publishing Course for which I applied. I'm hoping Google will take me after the summer program. That would leave room for me to do some really random traveling in May and June. If the localization coordinator position doesn't work out, there are some other cool positions I've seen . . . Also, I would like to go to Germany and study American Studies. (I know, that seems paradoxical, but I've decided it's cool: an American in Germany, studying America. Nifty. Nah, it's not what it seems. American actually combines quite a few of my interests: linguistics, lit theory, American literature, culture, etc.)

Another thing I've been doing is sitting at Egg Products for Dad while he does deliveries (he has another worker who doesn't show up). It's perfect for studying, reading, and listening to music. I've actually enjoyed the orders I've had to fill and wouldn't mind doing that every day, for a bit of monetary compensation.

So, here are some of the nifty things I've discovered in my Google gallivanting (only those that I didn't already know about--Google Earth, Docs and Spreadsheets, among others were discovered and appreciated long ago):

The classic Family Dog episode (see the others on YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr92CNDrXxw

The popular searches measured by Google:

The fun holiday logos designed by webmaster Dennis Hwang: http://www.google.com/holidaylogos.html

The translate this page button, the send to button, the highlight and word finder buttons, Google calendar, AutoFill, Google Scholar, Book Search, Patent Search, Web Accelerator, putting Google search on your own page, AdSense, and Google Page Creator.

Image of the Flakes of Wrath in Moab, though misleading (this climb is turned to the left, you don't climb against that big rock jutting out showing on the right. Use Google Images to find some others that were less linkable, I hope this one works!):

P.S. Yes, I do miss my blackberry.

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