Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Life of a Peon

(More info on "Life of a Peon" later in blog)

Here's a snapshot of my life, with a recap of my weekend (one with events worth reporting).

Friday: Have I mentioned how much I LOVE getting off work at noon on Fridays? Why work til 5pm on a Friday... I mean, who does that?! (I've been spoiled and will be very sad if/when I change jobs and have a long Friday). I ran some errands, which included a stop at Great Harvest Bread company, where a huge hunk-o-bread sample makes for a perfect post-work snack.

Afterwards I had a few hours to clean my apartment for company (which turned into watching TV, taking a nap, trying to will myself off the couch, and a 10 minute speed round of cleaning), then my friend came over for a walk and homemade soup. My friend was huffin' and puffin' on our walk because she, like the large majority of my friends, is pregnant. (By the way,I plan on fully taking advantage of this opportunity to be the "small" one in my friendships). We had a great visit and I get giddy when I look into my freezer, which is now neatly organized with Pyrex bowls full of soup.

Saturday: A friend and I ventured to an apple orchard in Stillwater. We saw all-things apple (including Dutch Aapple Jam -- really? No spell-check?) and picked some apples. I was so relieved when she didn't frown at me for trying to cram 12 apples into my pre-paid bag that fit "8" apples, but rather, tried cramming 13 or 14 into her own bag. It's times like those when you know you've found a good friend. She is a few years older than me and, refreshingly, is single, roommateless, childless, etc. We made an agreement that I will try the Honey Butter we each purchased on popcorn and report back, and she will sign up for and report back. I think I got the good end of the deal.

In the evening I volunteered at a big fundraising event/auction for Courage Center (my place of employment). Here is where the day-in-the-life of a peon comes in. The event was one of those that I'd never be able to afford to actually go to unless I was volunteering. Afterall, I hardly had anything in my wardrobe that was appropriate for this "evening-wear" event. I'm so used to letting my personality sparkle that I have very few articles of clothing that aparkle (hardy har har).

My job assignment for the evening was Greeter. I unfortunately missed the volunteer training that was offered the week prior, but I felt fairly confident in my ability to stand by the door, try to look pretty, smile, and welcome people to the gala. There turned out to be about 10 greeters, so the guests had several layers of greetings to survive -- I mean, enjoy. There were greeters of all shapes, sizes, ages, and personalities... something for everyone! (My favorite was the old lady volunteer with the feathered hat and plenty of "bling" -- probably jewelry she used to wear in the roaring 20's -- who would point guests towards the registration table with her knobby, crooked finger).

Apparently I was far too non-chalant about my work as a Greeter, because at one point, the volunteer coordinator came up to our team of 3 and reprimanded us for not being "assertive" enough. After her constructive criticism, she moved us up to the frontline, closer to the first door guests walked through. Did I mention that Miss Bloomington USA was in our team of 3? Come on, the woman does this type of schmoozing for a living! Of course she just smiled and nodded during the reprimanding and then obediently stepped up her game (and maybe pulled her V-neck dress down another inch).

We smiled, we greeted, we schmoozed, we shook hands for 2 hours, all the while standing in high heels. I was so excited to sit down with the guests for the 6-course, steak dinner we had been promised. I wasn't even concerned as to which fork to use when or if I'd gag when I tried the Tuna Tar Tar. I was just excited to sit and dine with the fancy people.

Well. It turns out they oversold their dinner tickets to the fancy people, so we were demoted to the lobby. Fine. The registration tables had black tablecloths, so we could still pretend we were important. Then they were still feeding guests, so we had to wait for our food. Fine. Then they were running out of food, so what kind of pizza did we want?

Thus, my day-in-the-life of a peon.

We did get a few samplings of some of the leftover salads. I wasn't sure if I was to use one of my 2 salad forks or my dinner fork for the pizza. We weren't able to cleanse our palates with Intermezzo, lime sorbet, as planned.

But we still held out hope for a taste of dessert: Sweet Potato Cheesecake with caramelized Marshmallow creme.

We saw a whole tray of unserved desserts go back in the kitchen (we were seated close to the kitchen, where peons belong), so we anxiously awaited for it to come back out to us. We waited and we waited. We waited as some co-workers came out and raved about the dessert, declaring it the best part of the meal. We waited. Finally, a brave peon went in and asked the kitchen if there were leftover desserts. They checked, and they said no. (What, did that tray full of desserts fall into a black hole?). Later, as the guests started filing out, another brave -- no, a heroic! -- peon slipped into the dining room and returned with... desserts! Thank goodness for rich women who didn't want the Sweet Potato Cheesecake with caramelized Marshmallow creme to go straight to their hips. Hopefully they didn't sneeze while staring down and vicariously "eating" their cheesecake. The cheesecake was marvelous and the highlight of the day in the life of a peon.


In other news, this little peon ran her first 5k race this morning! "Race" is a strong word, as my goal was to run the whole way and/or just finish the course on 2 feet. I was able to run the whole way and it felt great! The event was a lot of fun, and I can see where races could be addictive. A bunch of people from my church ran/walked, too, so it was fun to bump into so many familiar faces. It felt good to be back amongst my people.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Wednesday I was very productive but had horrible productivity.


The "beauty"/curse of health care is that we are driven by units. You learn about units in school and, with glazed over eyes, hear about this many minutes equals this many units... and all you're really thinking about is how many "units" until class is over. It doesn't really make sense until you get a job and divide your work into these little units all day long. Units are calculated into productivity, a somewhat-elusive number that you are held accountable for but really have limited control over.

I'm fortunate to work in a setting where productivity won't necessarily make or break you. Some settings have 110-120% productivity expectations, but that's a whole 'nother blog post that I will entitle, "Quality Over Quantity."

This week I have not met productivity. Not by a long shot. For someone who likes to be busy like me -- and as someone with ants-in-my-pants all week in anticipation of a long weekend -- I've bemoaned my productivity (or lack there of) this week.

But productivity is so relative.

Take Wednesday, for example. My productivity was horrendous (I won't state it here in case the Productivity Police are reading my blog [not that they would sacrifice their own productivity to lurk on the internet]), yet I was very, very productive. I finished all kinds of reports, consulted with colleagues, got things ready for my absence during my long weekend (for which I have ants-in-my-pants in anticipation...)

And that was just at work! In addition to working my 9 hour day, I managed to: work out (twice), scrub/polish my kitchen sink, make 3 dozen sandwich cookies (see previous post for link), do a bunch of dishes, vacuum, do 2 loads of laundry, and sit on the couch, watch TV, and eat aforementioned cookies.

Now I am off to 4 more productive hours of work before I start my long weekend (for which I have ants-in-my-pants in anticipation...). It's sure to be another very productive day with horrible productivity.