Driving to work yesterday, my first day back, I was thinking I was probably the calmest, least stressed driver on the road. Work was lovely--I was so happy to see everyone again and everyone seemed pleased to have me back. In the six months I was away, some of the secretaries had been moved around and reassigned, and desks had been switched, and so I found I had a new area to work in, and I was told that for the time being--this week and maybe longer--they'd like me to just do some overflow typing and help out with the work loads of those secretaries who were on vacation. You know--just ease my way back into things to let me and my hand slowly adjust. And to give me a break from non-stop typing, they wanted me to cover the phones on the front desk during the lunch hour and the last half hour of the day.
At 3 o'clock, everyone gathered in the kitchen and celebrated my return with a really yummy carrot cake. I felt so missed and appreciated, I emailed everyone to thank them and to say I thought I'd return again today--well, of course there was leftover carrot cake to eat!
When I finally logged into my email program in the afternoon, I found nearly 1,000 emails had accumulated over the six-month period--not including the three pages of emails in my spam quarantine program and 70 or so emails in my junk mail folder. I spent much of the afternoon weeding through emails and settling in.
Also in the afternoon, I was asked to take care of a couple fairly quick projects today for a secretary who was going to be out. Then I was asked to cover the desk of another secretary who was on vacation for the week. And then--just before I left the office for the evening--I found I'd been locked out of my email program. Because our in-house computer person comes in early, once I got home, I emailed her about the problem so she could look into it before I got into the office this morning.
This morning I arrived at work a little early so I'd have time to fix myself some breakfast, but before I'd even gotten to my desk, one of our outside computer support techs was on the telephone, requiring my help so he could try to fix my email program. And the problem with THAT was that the office manager came by to let me know there were a couple pieces of RUSH dictation that had been emailed to me--and, of course, I couldn't GET to those emails, nor did I have a computer to type them on because the computer people had taken it over in their troubleshooting efforts. About an hour and a half into the morning, I was temporarily installed on another computer so I could get started. And before too long, my email program was fixed, and I was back at my own desk.
I had about an hour and a half to work before I had to stop the rushes and go answer phones; then it was my own lunch hour. The office manager found me in the kitchen, nervously tapping my fingers on the counter, mentally trying to hurry the microwave; she wanted to know how things were going. As far as I can recall, I didn't scream or swear, so I guess I was still doing okay.
Around mid-afternoon, I had finished the morning rushes and had begun doing some "priority" stuff for the other attorney I was helping. It didn't help much that since I'd been gone, the firm had upgraded our document management program--the one that interfaces with our word processing program--and it didn't quite work the way it used to. And when the computer people "fixed" my email program, all the other programs seemed to have reverted to incorrect default settings. And if you're not following any of this exactly--well, it all just means that I was expected to turn out work product despite the fact that nothing was working the way it should. And, again, before I'd gotten finished with what I needed to do, it was time to go answer phones for the last half hour of the day. Probably just as well, because my word processing program mysteriously closed without saving a document I was in the process of making edits to. I might have sworn a little bit then, but I don't think I screamed.
And that whole "calmest, least stressed driver on the road" thing? I'm not sure where SHE went, but she was replaced by a crazed, tail-gating, swearing, steering-wheel-pounding maniac on the drive home from work tonight.
You'll have to excuse me now while wrap my legs like pretzels, close my eyes, slow my breathing, and repetitively hum "om" over and over again. I don't think it will work while I'm driving to work tomorrow though.