Sunday, December 14, 2014

Guest Blogger 12/14/2014

Shorn For Love

Now I know how sheep feel, but more about that in a minute. First, a work update: I love my job! I love my team, I love the work, I love being there, and it's been way too long since I felt this way (about work, anyway).

I still don't know much about what I'm doing; every day is a massive learning engagement where I suck up everything I can around me, from Analysts trying to fix things to Processors going about their daily job. Terms are unfamiliar, programs are foreign, and everything is often confusing.

Take, for instance, reprocessing a packet. Sound pretty easy, doesn't it? Just re-send it out, right? Well, no. We only reprocess when there's been a change (otherwise it would be "send a duplicate" which is easy. . . I think). Before we can send the revised packet, we need to verify the change has been made.

So we run a sample packet for what it will "look" like, to see what it will, well, look like. While that's generating (because it's really slow), we go check our maintenance system (think: big database) to see what it says about it right now. You'll note that "right now" and "what it will look like" are two different things and often aren't supposed to match.

Then we check the maintenance system against the piece of paper we have that requests the reprocess (and tells us what the change is). We check this, check that, check that over there, check this thing, check that date, and then check this other thing. We write all these down because we'll need them all again when we view the sample. Now we change screens and check some other stuff, writing it  own, too.

OK, over to the renewal system, to check the sample, which may or may not be ready by now. When we can, we verify that what we've written down is showing accurately on the sample.

Whoops! Something isn't. Where we go to fix it depends on what it is. If it's this, ask Information Technology. If it's that, ask Group Data Entry. If it's this thing, we can fix it ourselves. And if it's that stuff from the other screen, we set the whole thing aside and wait. Why? Because sometimes these things magically fix themselves overnight. Truly.

Then tomorrow, we start over, because any of the data anywhere except on the printed paper could change. Ack. The scary thing is the people who do this (that I'm learning from) can pick up a reprocess request sheet and do the whole thing in under five minutes. Sometimes less than one minute, if the sample is generated quickly enough. Amazing!

When I learn the ins and outs of what they're looking at, I suppose I'll get it. Until then, I'm pretending to be a sponge and simply sucking in information. Even with the drawback of having access to four (yes, four!) email in boxes, I'm loving it.

I left the job I love a bit early today. I had an appointment with a woman named Melanie, who cut off my hair for me. Again, truly!

I've sent my long locks to Locks of Love, a not-for-profit organization that makes wigs for kids (and some adults) who have lost their hair for some medical reason. Visit them at Perhaps some child will enjoy that twelve inches of hair more than I did. I was forever catching it in things. Under my purse strap on my shoulder. In the shoulder seat belt in the car. In the headrest at the massage parlor (don't ask). Oh, and in a few other places I can't decently mention. Now it's short and bouncy and just above shoulder length.

Tomorrow morning I'll have to let my donation to the children warm my heart, because I'll no longer have hair to warm the back of my neck. Why did I do this in winter?

Copyright 2014 Michelle Hakala


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