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Can't sleep. Been struggling with a few issues recently.

Work is just insane. A co-worker has been sick with medical issues off and on for the last few months, and I've been covering where I can. Like all bandaids on gaping wounds, this doesn't last forever. I have to say, I've been doing a pretty good job, as some people didn't notice any loss/transition when I took over for support.

In a few days, she'll be off for a few months, and will be on medical leave. This is both a relief and stressful. As I have been covering her role, and mine (where I can), I will be responsible for training the replacement. Nothing really boosts your productivity in the short term than a replacement. I am fully confident they are screening/recruiting for someone specific, so that is hopeful news. She's been on this medication for a long time, and since she's come off, she has allergic reactions, possible stemming from the withdrawal. Its hard to watch, as her health has always been a concern, so I hope its a way for her to take care of herself.

Tonight, I have a meeting with my volunteers. Its feeling like the raw peeling of skin off flesh and bone, leaving only nerve endings exposed. We're undergoing a lot of change, and trying to manage two roles, I feel I have left my volunteers abandoned a bit. My boss supports me, but ultimately, at the end of the day, this still reflects on me. Its my pile of crap that still needs to get done.

A lot of the feedback will change how we move forward, and ultimately it will help us better support volunteers, but I wonder if we are asking too much sometimes of what we are expecting...
We had a meeting today, and I had a hard time biting my tongue, listening to 'my volunteers need to do this .. and this .. and this'. Some of these volunteers, I didn't hire, and I don't have the capacity in my role to individually support them, especially considering they may only volunteer a few times a month.

Tomorrow and Monday, I am training volunteers into their leadership counterparts. These are my volunteers, responsible for helping in the training process. I am a little nervous as my boss is going to be around, but I need the feedback, and clearly there are many elements of which I was not trained. Annoys me to no end, that a few years on the job, its only now, that I realize that I'm not doing things correctly. *shakes head*. This is not my fault, as I can only work with what I've been taught, but as the person to instill this knowledge to others, its a little unsettling...

I suppose, my struggle is not so much the change, but rather, what information I am working on. Lots of this change is happening in a committee I am not part of, nor do I hear about the information until its deployment. The second part of it, is that once you get really good at doing something, sometimes people forget what the circumstances of which you are working under. Working and covering 2 (and sometimes more) roles, I often get random requests, which normally I can fulfill and dispatch quickly, but I can't do so under the requirements now. The expectation is still there.

Which leads me to here and now. Status-quo isn't working, and I need to take action more than ever. I struggle with my decision-making ability here, and hope that a change of scenery will help. I have booked time in late May/early June to be in Toronto and try to iron stuff out. My one buddy, Mike, who is also having a baby soon, connected with me a few weeks ago, and he could just tell. Last few weeks have been more obvious to everyone around me, but it really hit home when he sensed it. I think, I just couldn't answer the questions. You know .. the simple ones I ask callers and volunteer...
- What's going on for you?
- What are you doing to take care of yourself?
- What's your plan?

Did I mention we also have our Volunteer Appreciation Event coming up at the end of next month? As I seem to be one of a few people in the agency who knows how to do a mail-merge, I've been enlisted to send away letters asking for donations. Its important we do this right, and grudgingly, I've had to follow these new protocols from the the fundraising committee. Certain elements have to be in there, the way we ask, has to be set up a certain way. I am compiling the list manually, and should have about 500 letters sent out by the end of week. It does feel a bit like looking for a job right now....

This is on top of my other duties.

*Ray feels his head ready to explode*....

Still, even with all this, I am so proud and inspired by my volunteers. One of my volunteers has been nominated again for the Heart of Calgary award, which is a lifetime achievement award in volunteerism. He was not selected, but he remains on the list in perpetuity until he does, and so until he does, he'll be getting annual dinner invites from this event. One of the teen liners won the Leaders of Tomorrow award. He's got such a great heart, and wants to go into public service. Look for him to become a UN ambassador one day. Omar Bainto. Really proud of him.

Each and every day, seeing new volunteers challenge themselves and seeing them grow and adapt, and master skills, I can't help but feel a part of that. Even with all my complaints .. .the Volunteer Appreciation Event, which is an interactive dinner-theatre, similar to last year will be a wonderful success. Its this raw impact, I think, at the end of the day, I can say, I made a difference, my work and effort is felt and makes ripples continues to push me forward.

I could write books on the stories I have about volunteers and volunteerism, and the impact they have. It truly does change the world.

For how long? At least until I go to Toronto. I won't be handing in any notice without anything else lined up. I am humbled by the work I do, and do feel fortunate by the opportunity that I do have, considering the state of economy right now.

My other job at Best Buy is usually a big relief and allows me to vent. I haven't been so happy-go-lucky, and people are always pestering me about it lately. There's been a lot of management changes around too, people getting shuffled around, and some even right out the door.

Some of my colleagues are hypocrites, and don't practice what they preach, and as they've been held accountable by the District Manager, they are trying to enforce SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) down everyone else's throat. Its funny, as its the part-time staff that tend to do more work than the full-timers and tend to do better quality work. Hypocrites are the worst to work for, as there are no standards, or they are arbitrary, and sometimes non-existent. At least with people who lie, or are ignorant, there tends to be some consistency in what they do. Mind you, liars always become hypocrites at some point in time.

So, as there are no clear policies to follow, you have to revert back to the book, and that's what I've been doing. Its pretty hard to out-admin me, so I'm putting pressure back on my colleagues. I am fairly certain I am rocking the boat, but for me, its the only way to keep going.

They've been writing people up for being just a few minutes late. Pretty ridiculous when you micro-manage like that. Leadership is a lot about credibility, and so far, that's been lacking, and when you try to hold them accountable, nothing happens. *deep breath*. It is retail, and that is the nature of the beast. I feel sorry for the full-timers, who some of which, may never see the world outside of retail, and the potential. Lifers as you put it. That's what education does for you. It takes those walls that you have when you are looking a narrow spectrum of life, and breaks them down and expands them.

Ultimately, I think retail is the biggest trainer for many young kids for life, and coaching life skills, and I think that's why I am so hard on them. Because I care .. and I care way too damn much.

This is where I really get into trouble. I put everything else on hold. Everyone else and everything else comes first. I've had some great opportunity to meet some really lovely ladies, but I stop. Not even deliberately anymore. Its subconscious now, just to not make time. Of course, you can't meet anyone or develop anything this way.

The best kind of friends/family, are those you don't hear from in a long time, and then they call you up for a random favor. For instance, my uncle, who I know doesn't really have the greatest thoughts about my family, inquired as to a new computer. Obviously also asking about discount and what not. To which I responded no. I also suggest he come down and I could help him out. He just wanted a model number and pick it up, nearby his place rather than drive across the city to come to my store. As I recall from our conversation, I would let him know which laptops would be best for him, when I get a chance to look at it. Haven't got a chance. He called me twice. Sorry, I have to come ahead somewhere along the way....

*deep breath*.

Feels better to get this out. Just have to push through this next month. Don't know how, but I'll figure it out.

For me, what really triggered all of this, was on Sunday, a co-worker is also working Best Buy part-time, and a full-time job elsewhere, said I needed to slow down, and I was burning out. She shared her story with me, and it was hard for me not to disagree. Have to respect it. So I called in sick on Monday and slept all day. Best decision in months.

Hopefully will be able to keep up to-date with all the madness... Thanks for reading/listening. --Ray


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 28th, 2010 11:57 am (UTC)
Take care of yourself... and I think you need a vacation. PRONTO.

Sometimes the rickety boats have a need to be rocked - it's just finding that one person to rock it.

*big hugs*
Apr. 29th, 2010 10:34 am (UTC)
Thanks. If only you saw my schedule for the next month... =P
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )