Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Poked and Prodded

Things at work continue to be as satisfactory as possible. Whereas once my office was the place where files went to die, I am now moving things out and getting them back into the filing cabinets where they belong. In addition, filing for the individual lawyers is finally being addressed so that the files are up to date and properly maintained. I have actually had a couple of lawyers come to me specifically to audit and "fix" a file that had spiraled out of control. I've also been asked to proofread a legal brief, so it isn't all filing.

And I have lost at least six pounds since I started this job.

The only concern I have is the time I am taking off during my probation period for doctor's appointments. I am not a malingerer, but the timing is especially bad because we are changing up some of the medications I am on in order to address some issues around chronic pain. Apparently, I have fibromyalgia, which pisses me off. I mean, what the fuck is up with that? The medication I used to take for it no longer works, not since last September when I fell on the stairs and injured my right knee.

I saw the rheumatologist this morning, who examined the knee and then aspirated some fluid out of it before injecting me with a steroid. Oh, my gentle German Jesus, that was fucking uncomfortable, and now that the local anesthetic is wearing off, I'm even less impressed. He prescribed some naproxen, sent me for x-rays and blood tests and told me he thinks the knee might be mildly arthritic. The rest of my pain, though, that's fibromyalgia.

Piss me off. I haven't been able to fence since Quad War (SCA) last August, either because my knee has plagued me (despite weeks of physiotherapy), or because I can't lift the sword. And I miss fencing so much, I regularly dream about it. For awhile, I was doing archery, but my shoulders and arms couldn't take it. I know I could lose weight if I could only move, but it's all I can do to get through the day at work.

So now we tinker with drugs and other strategies, and I pray that my bosses see that I am invested in doing my job to the very best of my ability and that their faith in me so far has not been misplaced. My probation period ends in June, but it seems so far away.

Also of some interest is the fact that my former employer, a certain Princess Dumptruck, used to work in the same place I am now. I have even seen her name on some of the files. And she is remembered, though not fondly, by some of the staff. The stories they have shared with me about the Dumptruck's behaviour certainly confirm for me that this has been an issue for years, and that she has only gotten worse in private practice. Words used by these staff members to describe the Dumptruck ten or eleven years ago include "vulgar", "gross", "inappropriate" and "mentally ill".

I have been given to understand that when I submitted my resume for this job, my former employer's name caused a stir, as the memory of her presence there (and her subsequent dismissal) lingers like a persistent fart. There was some concern that I, as her assistant, might be equally as damaged, and there was apparently some hesitation about whether or not an interview would be granted to me. Luckily, one of the lawyers (the one who knows Dumptruck) ascertained that I was in need of rescuing, and thank the nine-pound baby Krishna that she did, because I was!

But now you see why I am so anxious that my health issues not get in the way of my fabulous new position, because it was almost a job I didn't get! I know what it's like to work for someone who is an unequivocal train wreck, and am daily mindful of my good fortune to be where I am.

And while this blog hasn't fulminated against anything recently, be patient. It's coming.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Government Hooker!

I started my new job with the City last Monday, so I am officially a government hooker. Many of you who live closer to me know that this has been an unbelievably positive experience, but for those of you who are a little further afield, here's how it has worked out so far.

Let's leave aside the generous wage and benefits package, as well as the fact that I get a 50% discount for all the Parks and Recreation facilities and cheap passes for public transit.

Let's start with the fact that when I walked into the office last Monday morning, there was a sign up saying, "The City of Deadmonton Law Department welcomes (my name)". And then I was given a tour and a thorough orientation by one of the lawyers who hired me. I was given an office (with a door, no cubicle!) and invited to make myself at home. I was introduced to everyone, and welcomed quite warmly.

And then, last Friday, I received in the mail a postcard, welcoming me to the team, signed by the two lawyers who interviewed me for the position! Is this how things are normally done in the corporate world?!

(I am, by the way, working in a support position to eight different lawyers in the Expropriation segment of the City's Law Department. Essentially, if the City wants to do something, and your land is there, I help the lawyers get your property. A couple of the senior lawyers actually have to appear at Counsel meetings, and one of the perks of the job is that we're encouraged to watch over our computers. And, yes, I'm nerdy enough that I consider that a perk.)

I have been struggling a lot with my fibromyalgia lately, and last Thursday, I found that I simply could not move without grinding, terrible pain. I tried to complete my tasks, but all I could think about was lying down. This was noticed by the young woman training me, and she suggested I go home. I protested; after all, this was my first week on the job! She insisted, however, as did the office manager, who told me, "Go home and feel better. That's what's important. We'll see you tomorrow."

And when I went back the next day, refreshed and energized, everyone wanted to know if I felt better. I was rather touched, actually. It seems that I have found myself in an office full of intelligent, compassionate, professional people.

And here's the kicker: at no point in the last week and a half has anyone showed me their belly or bra, announced a bodily function, performed said bodily function in a noticeable way, or talked about their genitals.  Nor has anyone discussed my sexuality or called me "File Monkey".

The difference between this position and my last is like night and day. I have always enjoyed legal work, but now that I am working with people who are professional and respectful adults, I rather look forward to going into work and facing a day of new challenges. A small part of me thinks that I've died and gone to heaven.

And I do enjoy the work. Right now, because my position has, in the past, been staffed by temps and those who were indifferent to the job, I am doing a lot of cleaning up; auditing and correcting files, filing, diarizing, etc. But I don't mind at all, because it gives me an opportunity to learn the filing system and the various matters we're dealing with. And it certainly goes a long way to satisfying my mild OCD tendencies, to have things put away in their places in proper chronological order.

Further, it's really kind of neat to drive around the city and see the various projects that we're working on in progress. "Oh," I thought to myself on Saturday as we descended the hill into the river valley, "I was filing on the Walterdale Bridge just this week!"

It's like playing SimCity, but with an actual city!

So I'm happy, and I kind of get the feeling that I'll stay happy. At least at work. God knows, there are plenty of douchebags shitting in the global punchbowl to inspire my ire, and therefore, more blog posts.