Office 101

My first few days at my new job have been a crash course in administrative studies. I’ve had to learn new procedures for just about everything. Even the simplest tasks: checking emails, receiving mail, scanning documents, all have ridiculously tedious steps and checks. All this is to ensure that every snippet of information to cross the threshold into our office is processed, quality checked, digitized, and documented in at least three places. The monotony of this position cannot be over stated. For example, today I spent all morning shadowing the intake of  online, emailed, and faxed applications. All emailed and faxed applications must be printed for the sole purpose of being scanned into our digital database and then entered into our other database by hand. (Did I mention that there are two online databases?!?!?!!!) Do you know what’s even more boring than spending two hours saving PFDs, printing emails, and date stamping applications? Watching someone else saving PFDs, printing emails, and date stamping applications for two hours. My morning was basically an exercise in appearing totally engaged, when really I was relishing the refreshing micro naps of my each and every blink.

My afternoon consisted of non-stop, balls-to-the-wall data entry. Thrilling right? I must admit, I do kind of like the sense of primal conflict between human and huge stack of paperwork. Did I mention what exactly the morsels of information that bespeckle these applications are? What exactly are we printing, entering, and quality checking? Well I’m glad you asked! Some of it is just general information: customer name, address, telephone number and contractor name and address, but the rest is downright painful. A majority of the applications include such stimulating data, such as, utility account number, furnace model number, thermostat serial number, and AHRI number. Down right fascinating, right?

But, that’s just the easy stuff. How could I neglect to mention the allure of mail merges and qualifying applications? My mail merge training packet has over 200 steps. Not to mention that each step has several substeps and even a few subsubsteps.  I had the honor, no, no, the privledge of using seven different spreadsheets to print and send four letters. It took us three hours. Don’t worry, I won’t make you go back to reread that for correctness, I’ll just repeat it. Four hours to print and send four letters. It probably would have been faster to enter the information into the template by hand, however, efficiency does not seem to be the main goal of this establishment. Everything is done at least three times by four different people. We also spend a majority of our time waiting for computer programs to load. Currently this position is so mindnumbingly boring that I think I’m losing IQ points. I’ve been told by multiple co-workers that these menial office tasks are much more interesting once you are involved in the action first hand. Call me skeptical, but I doubt I’ll ever be delighted by the idea of checking a furnace model number to see if it complies with our efficiency standards.

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