Not (Really) Working

All dressed up with nowhere to work…

I spent my most worthless day on the current job yesterday. In essence, I spent the entire ten hours waiting around. This eventlessness directly resulted from my activities on Tuesday.

And what, you may ask, was I doing on Tuesday? Driving to Des Moines (actually Urbandale) to update the passwords for the netbook I used to use on the job (and which we EAB trappers havenʼt needed since the end of May).

As I like driving, usually —  at least in the spring, fall and summer times — getting paid to drive for about eight hours wasnʼt too bad. During that time on the road, I listened to Bill Brysonʼs Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid audio book (which he narrates himself and…), which not only did I enjoy immensely, laughing out loud frequently, but the book gave me a lot of thoughts about things from my own youth I should record before I forget (and which could therefore appear here perhaps someday). While at APHIS PPQ headquarters, along with nearly all the other seasonal employees, I got to take a quick course on conflict resolution, which fortunately was very reminiscent of a similar practice my favorite superintendent had investigated using for contract negotiations back during the days of my educational career. I had thought the computer issue would simply provide one pretty easy day filled mostly with driving (and listening to Brysonʼs clever words and childhood adventures).

What happened, however, is that the update of the netbook came either too late or too ineffectively. While I was approaching Clinton on Wednesday my cell rang, a call from Urbandale to inform me that perhaps the password update wasnʼt going to work. I was supposed to turn on my computer that evening to discover if it worked, meaning if I could get past the encryption window. So I did that, and I could — twice. However, Iʼd also been advised to leave the thing on overnight to permit it to update whatever updates were available, something I hadnʼt really done except a couple of times back in May.

On Thursday morning I could not get back into the computer. So then I had to call the national help desk and wait around (in addition to entering a lot of code) to discover why I couldnʼt get on — even after all the coding. It turned out that having not gotten online at least once a week to let the netbook update itself, my online account had lapsed. The only solution was for Urbandale to reinstate my account, and I waited a few more hours to find out if they did.

At least I spent the waiting hours fairly usefully, updating and checking over my trap book and revised maps. However, overall yesterday made the most worthless day I think I have spent on the job (at least from my perspective).

I did get another phone call on Wednesday as well, advising me that as I had some 55 hours of comp time/accrued annual vacation time/accrued sick time, and nothing really to accomplish until the time came to take down the traps, I should take a week off…

So thatʼs what Iʼm going to do. Vacation started today (which is kind of why this post appears so late this day). Happy weekend, all!

©2011 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

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