Saturday, May 22, 2010

Battlefield promotion

About the term: In time of war, people in command positions from corporal up to and including generals are lost via WIA, MIA and KIA. You can't tolerate vacancies in a command structure so the best available person gets promoted to fill vacancies on the spot. Sometimes in intense battles, positions like platoon leader may change hands several times in a single day (albeit a very bad day).

But what about at the census?
It turns out that the census has adopted the same procedure in case people go missing for any reason. Last Thursday morning I reported for work at 7:30 am for a nice relaxing day at the office. At about 8:00 am our new AMA (Asst. Manager for Admin.), Vasantha, called me aside where nobody else could hear us and asked me if I'd like to become an OOS (Office Operations Supervisor). I told her no. She stepped back a quarter step then told me that they needed a night-time OOS, probably as soon as the next week and they really need me. I hemmed and hawed and finally caved in. Then I went back to work.
Let me step aside for a moment and tell you a wee bit about our night-time OOS extant. She was a very nice oriental woman of 30 something who is super quick on the keyboard, very knowledgeable about the census systems, and who has worked as an admin at the census for at least a year. She is also a single Mom who doesn't really like working nights, but couldn't work days because she has a home and child to operate. She had some issues with Vasantha, but I don't know what they were.
So back to last Thursday. I got the news at about 8:00 but it was a week away. No worries. Vasantha pulled me aside again at 8:20. She said they really needed an OOS right away and how late could I stay that night? We dickered a bit and I agreed to work until 10:00 pm. YaHOO! Overtime. And I got a battlefield promotion that very morning. My promotion was processed and official by 11:00. I got new computer permissions by noon. I got building access codes by 3:00, and I got congratulations from all kinds of people, high and low, in all the various departments. Many people were very kind in the things they said.
But what about the previous OOS, you ask. Her status changed even quicker than mine. She was going to stay in Admin as a regular worker - then she was going to work in Field Ops (in the room next to ours) - then she was going to transfer to QC at the other end of the building. She came by and picked up her few personal items after a while and then she was gone. I don't know if she'll be back or not. I spoke to her briefly - we are friends - but she was too emotional to say anything. It all happened so fast I felt kind of disoriented.
FYI, I did not take over the old OOS's desk. It feels kind of haunted or something, so I took over another one.

What does this mean for me? MORE MONEY!! Oh yeah, and more responsibility. It's not really that hard, but I have to keep an eye on things and people constantly ask me what they should do next. I'm not very good at telling other people what to do, but I'm trying. I'm still mostly doing what I was doing before: hiring, firing, and processing time cards. In the end, the job will only last another month or two, so why worry? I will work 2:30 - 11:00pm weekdays, Wed. off, and half days Sat. and Sun.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mother's Day update

Well, the bishop took the chocolate bar shrinkage in hand this year. I bought 88 bars and there are only about 65 women normally in attendance. In the past, the bishop has sent the young men to retrive and distribute the bars. This year the bishop posted his councilors over the box of bars, which was right up there on the stand all during Sacrament meeting, and had them hand them to the young men for distribution right up there in sight of everyone. Amazingly, we had about 20 chocolate bars left over. Imagine that.

Now home teachers are being commissioned to pass the remainder out to women who can't or don't attend Sacrament meeting. The young men will do fine, and the mothers will do better.
I like this.

I hate to really take any credit, but I've noticed over the past 10 years or so that other wards in our stake are no longer passing out carnations and are passing out chocolate, instead. Yes, ladies, you are very welcome.
Even better, last year, for the first time, the Relief Society decided to get big chocolate bars for the men on Father's Day. Well, that's more like it! I used to indulge in a little good-natured, friendly, whining when the father's Day treat was one, single, no bigger than it needs to be chocolate chip cookie. I mean, where could the women find the time to go all out like that? Heck, Hershey's has plenty of chocolate bars all ready to go and it's no trouble at all.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Recently, my brother, Charles, pointed out that Mother's Day was started by a peace activist named Julia Ward Howe. She wanted it to be Mother's standing up to stop war (the Civil War in this case), but she failed to get it going because she kept getting distracted by her other social reform activities and lost focus on Mother's Day. The idea hung around, though, and years later Anna Jarvis, who also had anti-war feelings, pushed it as a day when Mother's would perform service as a way of honoring their mothers. After she pushed the day through Congress and really got it going she fell into fits of depression over its commercialization. I don't know how she felt about it when Woodrow Wilson, as he made it official, encouraged mothers whose sons had died in WWI to put a flag in their windows in their honor. He saw it as a day when Mothers would honor their war dead, hardly an anti-war event. But now we get it as a day to buy, Buy, BUY something for momma. Cards, flowers, diamonds, pottery, cars, Ipods and everything else. "If you LOVE your momma, you just HAVE to buy her my [insert name of cheap, overpriced merchandise] to show her your undying love!"

Our ward used to present a single carnation to the women in our ward on Mother's Day. That was nice - carnations have come to symbolize Mothers. I have to admit that it was me that changed it for our ward. I was assigned to buy the flowers one year and it just seemed a little small to get one single flower. So I asked if I could get something a little better and I was given a budget. I bought 4-5 oz. (quarter-pound) chocolate bars for all the mothers, and I noticed that they were well received. Very well received! Every year since I've purchased more chocolate bars and all our women are fat, happy, and well honored. This year, though, I was working overtime on the census and I just didn't see how I could go around buying chocolate bars (it usually takes several stops to get enough of the big bars). So I stopped by Sam's Club and bought boxes of "Jumbo" size Hershey bars, which are only about 2.5 ounces. When I got them home, I was informed by a woman in our ward that those little bars just wouldn't do. I'd raised the bar and it would not be well received to lower it again. New, bigger, bars were purchased and Saturday morning I stopped at Sam's to return the little Jumbo Hershey bars. Yes, the tradition continues. Today, all our women will feel the warmth of our love melting like chocolate on their tongues.

BTW, we usually have the young men pass the bars to the women at the conclusion of sacrament meeting. For some reason we have to get quite a few more choc. bars than there are women in our ward. I suspect the boys feel our love melting on their tongues, too.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there! And may this day be like chocolate for you.