A Case of the Mondays

This is a day in the life (more accurately, a Monday in the life) of a husband & father, foster parent, and data analyst. If you ever wanted to know what I go through in a day - I have typed it here for you.

6:00 - I’m awake. I don’t want to be… but my eyes are open. I guess I’ll watch some news.

6:30 - Attempt to wake up Bekah. Last night, she asked me to wake her up early so that she could run an errand. She didn’t tell me what she meant by “early.” She wants to sleep until 7am.

7:00 - Wake Bekah up again. The three year old is in time out (a bit early… I know. Google reaction attachment disorder… you’ll empathize). Dress two of the toddlers. Feed the kids breakfast. Dress the other three.

7:45 - The three year old is in time out again.

8:00 – Shave. Shower. Listen to Plankeye (Commonwealth… great album).

8:35 - Time out again. Time out thrice before I leave for work… I think that’s a record.

9:28 - I tell my wife that I need to leave for work. She looks at the clock and objects. It’s only a five minute drive… and I don’t start ‘til 10:00. She thinks I just want to get out of the house and away from the kids. She’s partially correct. She convinces me to stay a little longer. I check facebook while she cooks breakfast. I listen to Shiny Toy Gun’s new song (the one from that car commercial... the 2010 Lincoln MKZ).

10:00 - Log in. Read e-mail. Check current status of our markets. Check ending status from the weekend. Check current status again. Call from corporate to review the groups’ performance over the weekend and set plan for the day. Deliver walkie-talkie to point of contact on the third floor.

10:35 - Was going to walk down the stairs, but the elevator door is open so I step inside. The elevator smells like McDonald's. I push the button for the second floor, the door almost closes before a coworker presses the button outside and reopens the door. He gets inside and we stand and wait for another employee to catch up. The doors close and we ride down. One of the coworkers looks like she got hit by a bus and is coughing like an asthmatic cat trying to hack up a hairball. The elevator passes the second floor, and the first floor… it opens up in the basement. The light for the second floor is still lit. Two more coworkers get on. We ride back up. Finally the doors open on the second floor.

10:40 - I should have taken the stairs.

10:55 - Prep for my hourly reminder of why I hate Microsoft Access. Access is of the Devil.

11:06 - While Access exports files into Excel, I analyze pie charts depicting current activity in the markets. I like pie charts. I also like pie. Suddenly reminded that there is no “I” in team, but there is an “I” in pie.

11:13 - My report is completed. One market is good and getting better. One market is bad but improving. One market looks horrible, but I tend not to worry about them. Two of the other markets I completely ignore. I get a call from one of the supervisors; he asks me to move some of his staff from one market to another. Done.

11:29 - So far, four employees have asked for permission to leave early. I probably will not approve their requests. How’s that for a Monday?!

11:50 - Notice that one of our markets has 30 employees doing nothing (but available to do something). Time to organize a training class. Class started: cut availability in half.

12:13 - Several employees are frustrated that I won’t let them go home early. Darn. Experiencing some confusion. The “A” in my job title stands for analyst. Some of the coaches thinks it stands for administrator. I’m sure some of the non-supervisory employees thinks it stands for ass.

12:17 - We still have a baker’s dozen available to do something and not doing anything. So we’re going to give them something to do. Unfortunately… it’s something they probably would rather not do.

12:30 - Conference call. No one has joined, so I’m listening to hold music: smooth jazz. Not the good kind of smooth jazz – the bad kind… the drum-machine-keeps-beat-for-syth-keyboard-player-who-wishes-he-was-KennyG-but-isn’t on infinite loop kind of bad smooth jazz. Logistics thought the meeting was at 1:30. Will try again in an hour. I look forward to the muzak.

12:42 - Check status of one of the markets. 13% above goal. You’d think that was a good thing, but we’re not supposed to go over 5% above goal. That number will need to come down.

1:10 - Analyzing traffic in one of our markets during the 4pm to 7:30pm time frames. Looking at the last two Mondays and Tuesdays. Data might come in handy.

1:30 - Conference call part deux. Other people are on the call. Yea! As soon as the call starts I get distracted. A trainer asks me to switch her class’s skills from training to production. Before I can begin switching the trainees’ skills… maintenance shows up to complete a maintenance request I submitted last Friday. (There’s some hardware for a slide-out mouse and keyboard stand mounted under my desk. I don’t need it but it’s there. The mounting brackets are kinda sharp and I keep bumping my knee on it. I’m worried that I might cut my knee on it once the weather is warm enough for shorts. On Friday, it ripped a hole in my jeans. I requested the hardware be removed.) Maintenance needs to crawl under my desk to remove the hardware, but I’m still on the conference call. So, maintenance and I do-si-do as I scoot out of my narrow cubicle. He is now power-drilling away while my phone’s pigtail is stretched to its limit and allowing me to remain on the conference call from outside my cubicle.

1:44 - The trainer returns to my desk to see if the trainee’s skills had been switched yet. Maintenance is still half under my desk, I’m still on the call, and my mouse and keyboard are out of reach. No... No one’s skills have been changed.

1:46 - Woohoo! My desk’s underside is hardware free. Now I can start switching the classes skills. And I’m still on the call. Hooray for multi-tasking.

1:52 - We finish the call 8 minutes early. My boss says “We should talk about something else. Any one watch baseball?” My counterpart at the corporate office does. Her fantasy baseball team is winning. What about basketball? Yeah, she watches that too… the Nuggets are winning. While they talk sports I finish switching skills for the training class.

2:00 - I’m going to go to lunch, but we need to pull some people of the phones. One of the supervisors volunteer to train a class. I IM him to see if he’s ready. No answer. I call his extension to ask the same question. No answer. I walk upstairs. He’s at his desk. “Are you ready.” He says he is and he just called me to let me know, but I didn’t answer.

2:15 - I’m starting my lunch. The trainees’ whose skills I just switched are done for the day. They’re going home.

2:20 - Mmmm. Onion rings.

2:25 - My counterpart IMs me and asks if I want her to do the mid-day report. I say “Sure... I'll get it when I'm back from lunch.” Lovely way to answer the question and then contradict my own answer. Helps if I read the whole question.

2:49 - Reading Stuff Christians Like on my lunch break. That guy is hilarious. I love having hour long lunches… I get so much reading done.

2:59 - My boss asks if my payroll is accurate. I think so, but I’ll double check. Crap. Payroll has not tracked any of my hours since Tuesday. I must have had a new employee number assigned. Lunch is over early… gotta fix my payroll.

3:18 - Payroll fixed. My boss looks up my new ID (he didn’t know it changed). Check email. 14 people have requested to go home early – including the four I mentioned earlier. And I’m still not approving any of those requests. Suckers.

3:27 - Check status of all of our markets. 5 out of the 7 are below goal. One I don’t care about. Two of the others should have no problem meeting goal within the next hour (maybe two), one should be making their goal but isn’t, and the last one is hooped for the day (beyond repair). The market that was 13% above goal is now 15% above goal. Good thing our call volume is going to spike within the next 30-60 minutes.

3:35 - Wandered away from my desk to speak with a floor supervisor. All of the supervisors are in a meeting. Is it strange that I feel like they’re talking about me?

3:50 - Talked to an agent in the market that should be (but isn’t) making their goal. Trying to figure out why they weren’t making goal. They’re there now… barely.

3:58 - Time for my hourly ritual torture (AKA: Microsoft Access). Thankfully, my counterpart has done the last four update reports. Access works faster on her computer. I’m slightly jealous. But she has gone home… so it’s all me.

4:00 - Microsoft Access error: Database (Access 2007) (Not Responding). I’m looking at an hourglass instead of a cursor. Story of my life.

4:05 - Waiting on files to export. Realize that 26% of the employees in one market are sitting idle… but 0% of the employees in another market are idle. 0% available means there are customers waiting. There’s a few employees in a meeting, so I call the point of contact for the market with customers waiting and ask him to get the staff in meetings out of meetings. I finish by saying “that’d be great” suddenly realizing I sound like Bill Lumbergh.

4:11 - File export complete. Finish report. All groups are improving (though some slower than I hoped for). Spike in call volume started exactly when I expected.

4:17 - I issue a request for a stop & drop. It’s basically an command for all employees to do nothing except what they’re supposed to be doing. You would think that should be the case all day… but you’d be wrong. And if I added a roll to the stop and drop, I’d bring back memories of childhood fire safety lessons. So far, I’ve resisted that urge.

4:20 - Received a big kudos from my boss.

4:21 - Take a short break. Use the bathroom. Call Bekah. Microwave and washing machine have both been fixed. Awesome.

4:25 - Back to work.

4:29 - Chase more employees out of meetings. Start calling people who aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Again, you would think that this shouldn’t be a problem. And you would still be wrong.

4:51 - I want to check the current status of our markets, but can’t until 5:00.

5:00 - Longest 9 minutes ever. I’m now waiting on Access. Again.

5:11 - Report complete. Head up to floor to talk to a resource.

5:29 - Did you know that salmon are carnivores?

5:36 - Continue calling people to get them to do what they’re supposed to do.

5:41 - This is the roughest part of my day. My final update can’t be sent until after 6pm. Our service percentages are dropping. I’m busy calling various extensions trying to get people to be more efficient, but I’m anxious to finish the 6pm update so that I can start my closing reports… but time seems to slow down. It’s like data-entry in bullet time.

6:01 - Access error: Database (Access 2007) (Not Responding). I’m looking at an hourglass instead of a cursor. I’m getting a strange sense of déjà vu.

6:05 - I have a headache. But I have horrible posture… and the only things I’ve eaten all day is a bowl of cereal and some onion rings. So I’m sure the headache is my fault.

6:11 - Update complete. I still loathe Access.

6:20 - I gave one employee permission to leave early. She’s got a bad headache. I feel her pain.

6:24 - A bowl of cereal, some onion rings, AND a handful of tortilla chips.

6:27 - Starting my closing report. The good news is my day is almost over… The bad news is that I get to spend the next 30ish minutes in Access. I’d rather be burnt at the stake, but being the object of a witch hunt is not in my job description.

6:34 - Access error: Database (Access 2007) (Not Responding). I will probably see this no less than 14 times between now and when I go home.

6:49 - Still working on my closing report. I hold nothing but spite for that abomination Microsoft named Access. But I let two more people go home early. So I’m trying to be nice.

6:59 - Every time I look at Access it freezes. If it wasn’t so aggravating it’d be funny.

7:07 - I have finished copying and pasting data from 14 spreadsheets into access. If I have to wait two minutes for access to unfreeze after every set of data, that would explain why I rarely get off the clock on time.

7:10 - I have approved one more employee to go early. But that’s it. I’m done being nice.

7:15 - My closing report is done. Adding it as an attachment and sending it to the staff that needs it.

7:20 - Shut everything down. Enter last minute requests.

7:25 - Go home. Long walk out to the parking lot.

7:35 - I'm home. Two of the five kids are still awake. Bekah must have known that I'd be hungry because she has dinner cooked and ready: pancakes & bacon. (Impeccable timing too... She was flipping the last pancake over in the skillet as I walked through the door.) I feel loved.

7:39 - Bekah and I talk about her day while I eat. She told me about the incompetent receptionist at Fred's Appliance and the nice repairman that came out to fix the washing machine. She tells me about the horde's attitude problems, how two of them didn't want dinner, and why the eldest went to bed early.

7:55 - There's extra batter left over, so Bekah makes another pancake for herself while I cooked more bacon... bacon dipped in pancake batter. (Bekah was appalled, but really - not as disgusting as it sounds)

8:24 - Sit down at computer. Check HBO. Check blog traffic. Check facebook.

8:27 - One of two still awake refuses to go to bed. Instead she goes to time out. Same kid who spent the morning in time out.

8:33 - Three year old falls asleep in time out. (According to Bekah she fell asleep in time out earlier today when she refused to take a nap)

8:35 - Carry sleeping three year old upstairs to her bed.

8:44 - All kids asleep, except for my little Zu.

8:47 - Check facebook again. Look though pictures posted by my friend Steve from when his band played at Austin Reggae Fest

8:56 - Update my facebook status. Christian comes down the stairs and stands in front of the couch staring at Bekah. "What's wrong?" she asks. He bursts into tears. She pulls him up onto her lap. He has a fever.

8:59 - Get some children's strength ibuprofen and a cup of water for Christian. I help him take his medicine then get a cup full of gummy bears for him to share with his mommy. They cuddle on the couch. I head back to the computer.

9:07 - Post this blog. Get off the computer. Cuddle with my daughter while watching Heroes. Yes, I know Heroes started seven minutes ago... No worries, I have a DVR for a reason.


  1. I love #12....been there most of the time as the north end of a southbound donkey.

  2. Just great! I didn't know you were up to five these days! What are you and Bekah up to this summer? I'd love to see your wife in July or August when I'm back in the States.

  3. Wow! You guys are amazing! :-)