Change is Hard
This non-profit gig is outrageously difficult. Not because of the money. Hey wait, can we talk about something? I never understand those people who put in different amounts of effort based on how much they get paid. My effort is like a light-switch. It's either on or off. I can't look at this temp job and think, "I'm going to do a shitty job putting this huge file together because they don't pay me enough to do a good job." I just bitch about how the huge file became such a mess.
Here are the most difficult things about this job:
- The style of speech is different. I've "grown up" in law firms as an adult. Since 20 years old, this is all I've done. Lawyers are very direct. I understand the way lawyers in law firms speak. But at this non-profit, they kind of pride themselves on a relaxed atmosphere and that comes through in their style of speech. So instead of saying "Please file this in the Lindenberry file before you leave today," they say things like "Maybe this could be put away if there's time." That's too vague! Did you want ME to put it away? WHERE do you want it put? I've already fucked up one big project because the instructions were too vague for me. (Part of this is a learning disability thing - a comprehension issue - but most of it is the vague-speak.) I think the attorney was upset with my final product yesterday, and it put me in a bad mood. Today I did what she'd originally wanted, and gave myself a stern talking-to about really listening hard for instructions that don't sound like instructions.
- There is no system for anything. Including training new employees. There are no templates. There's no standard. So when I got told to draft a cover letter and I asked what format to duplicate, the response was to just ... make it look nice. Ummm .... what now? You know what looks nice? When every single letter from one company uses the same format! So I just copied the format from the last letter that went to the same guy last month. The easiest things are proving hardest for me here. Like yesterday, I had a four-page document to save and print, but only the first of the four pages would print or save. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why.
- It's a non-profit. They look to save money however they can. Even if they can't. So for example, there's only one IT guy. He only works three days a week. I can't even begin to wrap my head around this one. Is he on call the other two days? Working from home? I mean, what if the entire system crashes on a day he doesn't work? There is a certain type of pad I like to use at work that basically every single law firm carries. Not this place. Here I have to use a steno pad. Why? Steno pads are cheaper. Nobody even writes in steno anymore! All the old lady secretaries who used to do this have retired by now. Today I noticed a big spill in the elevator. It was a lawsuit waiting to happen. I mentioned it to the receptionist, so she could tell maintenance or the facilities manager or whoever. Her response? "I can wipe that up." I was so embarrassed - if she can wipe it up, so can I! I just thought there'd be a dude with a mop somewhere. Because it's a non-profit I thought maybe he does janitorial stuff AND something else, but surely there'd be a dude. There's always a dude! But no. Apparently the dude is the receptionist.
So yeah. I've spoken with the nice secretary sitting next to me. She started at the beginning of July. She's given me great gossip and been very helpful, though I try to not bother her too much since she's swamped. But she did tell me that the guy who had the job before me got fired, and why. And that the pay is terrible. And that the lack of organizational structure is very difficult to work around.
Everyone is very nice. I'm trying to focus on the positives. While I struggle to figure out really basic things like how to make labels for files, and wrap my head around the lack of professionalism like hand-writing addresses on envelopes rather than typing them.