Journal Entry: January 6, 1999

The blinking red light on my desk indicates I have a phone message. Someone has called and I was either on the phone or away from my desk, please leave a message after the beep, if you need immediate assistance, please press ‘0’ now. I check my messages, jot down the information I need, and delete the messages. I hang up. The red light continues to blink. Did someone call while I was checking my messages? I pick up the phone, but there is no stutter tone (another signal of a message waiting). I hang up again. The red light goes out. No more messages.

There are forms on my desk that cannot be whited out. If a mark is made outside the indicated box, the form must be done over again. In the upper left hand corner of the form there is a blank box. An employee’s address must go in this box, but must not go in the space labeled “Use the space below to correct name or address”. In the pre‑printed version of the form, the information is already in the blank. I will be completing my fourth form. Additionally, the box on the form marked “Human Resources Department Certification” should not be filled out by Human Resources. It should be filled out by division payroll clerks. I have also recently learned that there is a confusion over what date to put in this box. Where the label says “State Service Months as of”, the payroll clerk should not put the employee’s state service date. This instead, is the program effective date. The payroll clerks are doing it incorrectly. All the forms that we have received must be sent back to the employees and executed again. A form arrives which has information which has been struck out in blue pen. This is unacceptable and remains on my desk only briefly before another worker removes it and sends it back. I am only responsible for tracking correct forms.

I have sent an e‑mail to a number of payroll clerks. I use parts of other e‑mails to add portions of information that I did not write, but I have been advised to include. The e‑mail contains information regarding a form that we are using that is being completed in an incorrect manner.

One payroll clerk writes back that all she received in my e‑mail is boxes, no words. I have used a font for my e‑mail that she does not have loaded on her machine. It is CG Omega, which used to be common, but now Arial is standard. I find the CG Omega is nicer to read. I resend the e‑mail in Arial and recall all copies of the e‑mail. The System Administrator indicates simultaneously that recalls have both failed and succeeded. Some of them have already been read, seconds after being sent.

It is the day earlier, and Olivia and I are working on a puzzle. An ad that we placed is showing up in the state online ad posting, but, through another link, is not showing up. We quickly realize that the link where the ad is absent has not been updated. Olivia sends an e‑mail to the Division systems person. He replies by e‑mail stating that she must be looking at the wrong link. The same day: I am helping my co‑worker place an ad in our internal system, which is a new system that we are just learning. I had already found that when I add an ad to the database, it is not showing up in the system from the user’s link. I find out later that I am using the wrong input link. “I guess Cindy didn’t send that information to you,” the Division systems person says, regarding the mixup. Cindy handles statewide employment matters.

Joyce calls. I need to return a phone call to the state health insurance company. A message was left on her voice mail. There is a phone number with no area code and the name is unintelligible, but it is urgent. They are calling from the insurance underwriter’s office. The message regards a non‑specific issue dealing with extended health care benefits for a former employee. I am to return the call, but the number is not local. I try a common area code, but it is not correct.

I try another area code, but dial to a wrong number. It seems a common mistake; they give out the correct area code. I dial the area code and the phone number. The recorded message tells me “Your call cannot be completed as dialed…” I return a call to Joyce. She suggests I call the insurance company’s number and see if there is someone who can identify the caller whose name we do not know about a non‑specific extended health care benefits issue regarding a former employee. I hang up after talking with Joyce. Another e‑mail arrives. I read it.

I am speaking with an employee. There is nowhere for privacy and he wants to speak about a healthcare issue, so I take him to my co‑worker’s cubicle, which is next to mine but offers a higher perception of security being in the farthest corner, not facing anyone. The employee’s ex‑wife has discovered that their son needs crowns on his teeth. Their son is six years old. The employee’s division payroll clerk suggested he change his health care insurance plan to a plan that will cover crowns. He has assumed he will be able to keep the dentist he sees now, but he has discovered that that assumption is incorrect. He has already followed the advice of his payroll clerk. He does not want to switch dentists. He cannot change coverage for another year.

He does not want to pay out‑of‑pocket. He is mad at himself for not finding this out sooner. I listen to him and say I’m sorry, but I will confirm from Joyce that he is out of luck. The employee thanks me. We shake hands.

Today: A man calls. He has applied for a job with our agency. He received a postcard in the U.S. mail that indicated we received his application and that it is being considered. Then, days later, he received a card that indicated his application was late and that it is not being considered. I tell the man to disregard the late postcard. We are having trouble with the way these cards are being handled. Robert is sending them out erroneously. Robert’s daughter is sick today, so he is not in. Hattie and Liza moved his computer to the opposite side of our office, so it will be nearly impossible to supervise his actions for now on. Luckily, I am not officially his supervisor.

Although, I have trained him in everything he does.

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