Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If I were having coffee with you this weekend, I would tell you that I finished reading the book, rather I finish listening to the book, Getting to Yes by Robert Fisher. Is not a new book but this book about negotiation is still is relevant.

Rather than teaching people how to beat the party they’re trying to negotiate with and just teaching you to be a Better horse trader Getting to Yes offers more positive solutions.

On Saturday I had lunch with four former colleagues it’s been our tradition to meet once in the winter and once in summer however since one of our group job to full-time we never got together in winter. So we have a lot to catch up on. My colleague with the new job has changed from advertising to healthcare. Her title is Engagement Coach for local hospital System. She coaches nurses and doctors on their communication skills by evaluating talk and how the patient reports how well the Conversation went. Then she coaches to health care givers on how to improve.  It’s cool that the hospitals are systematically working to improve communication.

15 Edouard_Manet_011

Manet. Still life

After lunch, I went to the Art Institute of Chicago for its final weekend for an exhibit on Manet’s paintings. Usually I take a lot of my own photos, but with one arm I didn’t bother. I did get the audio tour and that was worth every penny. The only downside was it was extremely crowded so I didn’t see every piece. 

I’d tell you that I enjoyed the Japanese movie I am Waiting, a noir gem.

I’d tell you it’s getting cooler and a few trees’ leaves have begun to turn. I’m still not ready for fall.

teddy-242831_640

I’d tell you that it’s been hard continuing to work at the library with one arm. They aren’t legally bound to make accommodations for people so the choice is either do all the same tasks go home and recover. I have been juggling answering the phone while using a computer with one hand. The patrons are quite sympathetic and patient. The higher ups don’t give it much thought and actually see my injury as their inconvenience. 

On Wednesday a nearby library hosted a training session on customer service. To evaluate how you’re doing, however a lot of what we learned I’ve learned other positions. Also half day program tried to pack a full day into a morning. So the last hour was quite rushed. Given that they charge $316 per person, I love to start my own business in this field. 

I’m continuing with my census work and am grateful for my wonderful team. I got a couple blocks done yesterday myself enjoyed exploring neighborhoods I never gave a second glance.

Two more people have decided to quit the library. That’s now 16 for the year from a staff of 43.

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Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee I tell you that it’s been rather tough figuring out how to manage in a sling. Needless to say getting dressed, cooking, bathing, writing, working, and even reading a book is a whole new ballgame.

I did go to work on Friday and was able to catch up with email and do a few tasks. There was a second news report in the local paper about the state of the library. We also learned that the director has consulted a lawyer to help her deny people Freedom of Information Act request for documents. Other libraries have provided these documents on the same day as they were requested. The library where I work doesn’t want anyone to read these documents. 

I had a good long talk with my mentor who profusely apologized because she felt guilty that she knew this library with the toxic work environment but she also knew I wanted a job so she refrained from telling me how bad it was. Again and again she suggested I get out of here as soon as possible. I do still think there’s hope and I’m not ready to quit yet. Since I’m just part-time I don’t see the full abuse that others have seen. I do pray things improve.

Thursday I had a meeting with some of my census team members. I’m really happy about the people were working with me. They’re interesting and dedicated. There’s a ton of addresses to verify and good people are on this job which can be challenging in many different ways.

And Friday since I can’t type quickly rather than discuss The Age of Innocence via email with my friend Bill, we arrange to Skype. I worked with Bill in Korea and for the last few years we selected a novel read it via email. Skype with a great way to go because the back-and-forth was immediate. I think we both learned new ways to look at Edith Wharton’s novel.

Today is Labor Day and we’ve gotten one of those beautiful late-summer days. It’s not too hot; the sun is shining and the sky the brilliant blue. Mainly, the day has been filled with work by choice. This morning I met one of my listers for the census and we tried to troubleshoot his computer problem. Unfortunately, I had no solutions and the IT department was closed. Then I tried to make progress on a huge block that I have to canvass. I thought it only consisted of a senior living development, but when I finish that complex, I realized it includes the entire street to the east of that complex plus for at least two cul-de-sacs. It could take another two days to do this since I can only work a couple hours at a time due to this broken wrist.

I’ve been boning up on negotiation skills. Right now I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Getting to Yes. Although the books a bit old, the approach still seems relevant. And there’s lots of specific examples to guide you through the process. I like how the authors suggest methods that aren’t confrontational but rather ways to work together without resentment and bad feelings. I hope to be ready to go to discuss salary with my current job get up there salary. Wish me luck.

On my way to the massive block I stopped for gas. Somehow I locked the keys in the car along with my eyeglasses and phone. I wound up having to walk home about an mile and a half, call my father who’s in Utah, find out the code to open the door, call my neighbor, get a ride back to the gas station, unlock the car and proceed to canvass. I didn’t want to court more bad luck so after canvassing, I had lunch with a friend and canceled any other errands for the day.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be an easier day.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I fractured my wrist on Thursday. I was at my brother’s house and he has two dogs and one more he was taking care of. At one point, I took a step backwards not knowing there was a dog behind me so I fell over the dog. I put my hand out to break my fall. Immediately my hand puffed up. My brother got me some ice and took me home. I figured it was just sprained because it felt like a sprained ankle. I couldn’t move my fingers so it seems I hadn’t broken anything.

Later my sister-in-law came over with the splint my nephew had used. By Saturday my hand was still pretty swollen and black and blue so I went to a nearby bone and joint specialist that has an immediate care unit. Out I came with my arm in a splint. Needless to say it’s tough to get dressed, open a jar, or do most household tasks. I am testing out the dictation mode for my word processor and getting in the swing of that.

An added complication is that the library underpaid me for eight months. They discover the error and deposited all the money I was due into my account last week. Because it’s hard to get a full-time library job in these parts, I’ve been working part-time and qualify for Medicaid. However the big deposit disqualify me from that form of aid. So I had to pay out-of-pocket. An extra ouch. I am hoping that the library will take at least partial responsibility but that’s doubtful. If it weren’t for their error, getting the healthcare would be no problem.

Also at work the library got into the local news with two stories on the front page concerning the high turnover rate and the directors’ performance. Our turnover rate exceeds that of McDonald’s.

Just this year out of 43 employees 16 have left. I had lunch with some of my colleagues and what they told me about the harassment they’d witnessed in endured was frightful. The problems are worse than what has been stated in the two articles below. More on that another time. The library board take some action and responsibility.

Annex - Hayworth, Rita (Cover Girl)_NRFPT_02

If we were having coffee, I just tell you I thoroughly enjoyed Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth in Cover Girl. In contrast, I’ve given up on Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot le Fou, a crazy nonlinear French abstract New Wave puzzling Bonnie and Clyde.

 

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that there’s been a lot of drama at work. Last week two community listening sessions were held to hear what our patrons wanted in a renovation of the smaller library in our district. The sessions were well attended but people didn’t want to talk about the building. They came to find out why 33% of the staff has left in less than a year. They miss the small town, high quality service they got when most of the library staff knew them. Stay tuned for more details on that.

The weather’s been perfect, rain in the early mornings or at night, temperatures in the 80s and blue skies. It’s a perfect August so far.

I’m really enjoying my census job, which allows me to meet lots of new people. Right now we’re training the listers so I’m tapping into my teaching skills.

There’s a big misunderstanding with the full time job offer I’ve gotten. First I was offered a job, but didn’t get to see the salary. Finally I asked for an offer letter and was told I’d make $9,000 dollars less than a young employee who just has a high school diploma and far fewer years of work experience. I said no to that. Then they discovered that they’d been paying me $2/ hour less than they should have. I’ll get this money soon. Then I was given a small improvement on the first offer, but they still are paying less than the woman with the high school diploma. They seriously don’t understand what an affront that is, not just to me but to all of us with a college degree.

I saw a Japanese noir film called Rusty Knife that was packed with action. I’ll post a review soon. I’ve started listening to The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, a master by Alan Bradley. The narrator is super charming, on the verge of almost being too charming, but it’s a fun listen so far.

 

Overjoyed!

I completed the final for my University of the People computer class. While I liked the class in the beginning, the assignments were so time-consuming and we didn’t see enough examples or have access to a teacher to answer questions promptly as much as I’d like. I often spent 20 to 24 hours a week on the assignments. It’s a sober reminder of the stresses students feel.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I regret overloading my schedule. I now have two part time jobs and I’m trying to give as much time to the new second one in case something goes awry with job #1. The director at job #1 has fired several dedicated employees and forced a few out by making them miserable. Also, I’m having fun with my second job for the U.S. Census so I rather like the work and people involved.

On Friday night at almost midnight my mother had to go to the hospital as she had a painful tightness in her chest. When you’re in your 80s (or probably even in your 50s), that is scary. Luckily, her stress test had normal results and there’s no heart problem. What a relief! I will mention that on Saturday I had been assigned to work for the Census. I had all the training materials in my car so I had to go to our workplace. My supervisor was very understanding and got someone over to take over the training.

I watched Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Funeral this week. It’s got lots of bawdy humor so it’s a guilty pleasure, but I did laugh out loud and needed to this week.

My father bought a new car. He’s been mulling that over for two years. His old car was faithful, but just not performing well lately. Well, the car he’s gotten is very sleek and high tech. The problem is we don’t know how to get all the features to work. Often the voice activated features respond with unintended results. For example, when dad asked the car to turn on the radio, it turned on the heat.

My University of the People courses are winding down. Next week is finals week. The required College Success Course has been a waste of time. I’ve written that I don’t think they should assume all students need an 8 week course on note-taking and how to cite. I had to write a 500 word response on what I learned and what skills I’ll apply this week, one of several essays that are hard to write because none of the content is new. I had to be honest and said that I hadn’t learned anything new so we’ll see what sort of grade that gets me. It galls me to waste time. I could have used that time to job hunt or do my own writing. Time is more precious than money right now for me.

My computer class is fun and challenging. I’ve definitely learned in this course, but I miss having a teacher’s response to a question. There’s no live sessions and the teacher seems to sign on just once or twice a week so when you’re puzzling over what to do and want to ask, “Why does this work, but that doesn’t?” you’re not getting an answer. That can happen with a live teacher in a classroom, when the teacher isn’t a good teacher. Nonetheless it’s always frustrating.

I’d write a bit more, but I’ve got to get to my computer homework. Anyone good with Python? I wouldn’t mind a tutor.