It’s amazing how a full time job with positively nothing in the way of telecommuting and a 3 mile walk in (and back on the weekends) to/from work can make you lose track of time. Can make you lazy when it comes to making the demented artwork to be posted on a week-to-week basis. Can make you not really want to do anything creative (or constructive) in your off-time and instead indulge in the often mindless things people do in your off-time. But here I am, almost six weeks later; completely transformed from Daywalker to Nightbreed and just now looking into writing a public journal entry about the goings on since the last time I had come up for air (metaphorically speaking)…
The job is both calming and infuriatingly frustrating given that it feels like a well-established help/service desk going through the throes of growing pains and streamlining (or in this case re-streamlining). If often reminds me of what John Sheridan said in Babylon 5 when he became president of the Interstellar Alliance:
“Who knew the presidency was fifty percent panic and fifty percent paperwork.”
The panic comes when one of the few interfaces from the older systems decide it’s time to take a break from the work they’ve been doing for the week (or month) and take a break from communicating its information to the new system (in this case to Epic Hyperspace). Sure it goes well enough — we do all the normal troubleshooting and contact all the appropriate sources — and while there are times when it feels like a collective head (and ass) scratching — eventually the problem is intercepted, taken care of and brushed aside as the synchronization between old and new systems are restored.
The paperwork comes from the endless and sometimes overwhelming need to ensuring everything is recorded in the form of tickets in the ticketing system, going hither and yon and ensuring that other people have the associated orders to complete the work necessary to making sure this system, that WOW cart, printer, scanner, workstation, telephone, well practically every piece of technology (and even software) is fixed/repaired/handled/numbered/filed/stamped/approved/denied and on and on.
Basically it’s what one would expect working as a Help Desk Analyst (fancier words for Technical Support) and it’s something I definitely had agreed upon when I took up this contract. Do I like it? Sure… One, it’s good to being back to the graveyard shift. Two, it’s fun to exercise my never-ending need for service and expanding my knowledge of computer systems (both hardware and especially software). And three, it’s the sort of mental exercise of assisting in the streamlining of a department with all the knowledge and experience I had learned from previous environments.
Of course, returning to being Nightbreed I get enjoy being the Night-Owl I used to be moving at speeds different and more relaxed than following a more Diurnal cycle. I have also experienced the usual health benefits of a lower heart rate (BPM) going from mid to high 70s during the day, to 60 mid 60s in the evening. Blood pressure (when I’ve used the free monitors at the pharmacies) while being a bit elevated as they usually are, are now significantly lower than when I was a Daywalker. While sleeping’s a bit difficult given my apartment is sunnier than the basement I lived in when I was in Woonsocket, I’m finding that I can sleep through most of the sunny periods in the afternoon with the occasional wake up for the usual trips to the bathroom.
Working in the Healthcare Industry is like old hat with the same benefits and pitfalls that I recall from my time working at Care New England. Doctors are well, doctors; expecting instantaneous results for any issues that they might be experiencing with the software in question. Lack of results means instantaneous frustration. Nurses (and Floor Secretaries) are the bulk of the calls being within the range of savvy enough to getting the job done to acolytes that need that special hand-hold to get them through the issue that they’re experiencing… And then there’s my personal favorites: the CNAs. You know, the Luddites that somehow have gotten into the 21st century and never saw a computer before they came to work within the hospital they’re employed with. Oh yeah, you know the type too… Need a password change? Most people get through that in 5 minutes with a little handholding. CNAs? It’s guaranteed to take them more than 30 minutes and even then, you can’t be sure they had been able to do it correctly.
One of my best calls involved a CNA who had — using my favorite phrase — went off the rails trying to perform the simple operation of changing their password. She didn’t know what programs she had open, what screens she was supposed to be filling information on. Thirty minutes into the call spoke in tongues, put the phone down and went off to do something else. It took the nursing supervisor to come to the phone and me explaining to that supervisor what needed to be done to getting the password reset. The nursing supervisor said she would handle it, “once the CNA came back to the floor…” And that was that. There was a facepalm involved, there was an eyeroll (enough to fall unconscious from the whiplash as I rolled them hard and fast), and of course there was a “thank you for the call”…
The team I’m currently on is significantly better than the team I had been assigned to work at Cox when I worked the graveyard shift. Most of them are like me; over 35 and mature enough to being able to joke around without being obnoxious about it. Are able to do their work without being completely distracted by whatever else they were doing to keep themselves busy (and awake) during the shift. The one that’s under 30 is definitely easy going enough to follow the lead of the lot of us and does what’s necessary without noise or friction. We’re also significantly distanced from the management for the team to allow us the necessary breathing room to perform the job that’s required of us long before we actually need to call the technicians that are assigned for off-time paging.
I am also enjoying the fact that I don’t get Saturday and Sunday off for my weekend; instead getting Wednesday and Thursday night for it. The good (read: great) side of this is that it saves me from the routine 9 to 5’er out partying for the weekend. So I don’t have to deal with the idiots, rednecks and bloated self-entitled fuckwits that think it’s just them and nothing of the world around them exists beyond the end of their nose. Also it means that I get to experience less than usual amounts of people out and about while I do the necessary things like laundry, shopping and what have you during my weekend.
The homefront… Ha! My cat is king of the roost with me out of the house more than in. He’s eating like a king and basically entertaining himself however he sees fit, including completely turning over any of the throw rugs so that he can get the toy mouse he might have accidentally gotten stuck underneath. During the hour when I’m getting ready for work, having my breakfast and prepping my lunch for the night, he usually sits under the bed, watching me hustle back and forth until I’m through, then he’ll venture out for some loving and/or attention. Closer to my weekend last week, I saw that he seemed transfixed to sit on the throw next to the sink and staring at the fridge. He also did a bit of investigating between the garbage and recycling bins. Pulling up the recycle bin, I saw the quick movements of something brown and him shooting like lightning at the thing. So one of the few handfuls of mice that have snuck into the house (and seem to only inhabit underneath the sink) had been successful enough to get out from underneath the cabinet only to get caught under the fridge. A couple of days later it had successfully gotten back under the sink (as my cat often sleeps with me in the afternoon) only to have met its fate with one of the two mousetraps under the sink as it needed a little something to munch on for it’s foray under the fridge. I can tell that there are no further mice in the house as the cat’s happily spending more of its time on the bed and not on the throw by the sink, though he’s also been mildly curious about the bedroom closet… I haven’t found any evidence, but that doesn’t stop him from looking anyway.
My downstairs neighbor has been her usual quiet as well, though I think her son’s been watching the apartment and she’s off to somewhere south (like Florida) for a holiday. He comes and goes occasionally — usually to go outside to smoke instead of in the house — but other than that, he’s just as quiet as his mother. Neither of them have made any noise about the change of shifts for me, not that I make all that noise to begin with even with the change of hours.
Finally my weekly art submissions… *sighs* I know that I should be doing them more and I promise to do them at some point. The thing is that while I can do them on Sundays as I traditionally did with the coming three weeks while they’re trying to get another second shift person on, I’m going to be spending more time (OT) for the next three (or so) weeks. This means I’ll need to get to bed early enough to only have to head out to work for a few extra hours on Sunday Night/Monday morning. We’ll see after this whether I’ll have the energy to work something out.
And with that, that’s it for the update. Now I’m off to finish the rest of the shift and perhaps try to get out of here as quickly as possible so that I can wind down quickly and pass out for the routine 8 hours of sleep for the day. Until the next time.