Monday, 14 November 2011

Thirty Second's Worth of Distance Run

I was never cut out to be the secretary of anything. Last night I wrote out a set of minutes (ten days after the meeting) for an organization where I am temporary secretary. I had them all done and was spell checking when the word processing program just, click, shut down. The document recovery feature gave me the first five lines when I used it. I went to bed both grumpy and puzzled. This morning I managed to recover a temp file with most of the material in it, re-saved in several formats and watched one format go pop again. Copied to a new document and that seemed to work. I proofed and sent it off in an email to the group. Without attaching the document. Luckily the organization is getting a new, better qualified, secretary next month. So all I have to do is tidy up the files I am using and pass them on. Whimper.

Almost seventy years of working at this sort of stuff has not made me good at it. I am not the right personality type at all. Give me an emergency deadline, hand me a bunch of posters or whatever to design, need something done in a hurry and I will come through. But the neat and tidy, precision stuff (unless it has to do with ems and hairline rule) is not my thing. I think you are born one way or the other. I have two daughters: one of whom is Ms Organized Precision; the other is your perfect example of adrenaline-charged Last Minute Mabel. They have been like this, both of them, from the moment they left the womb. If you kept the infant Ms Organized on a schedule, she was a happy, thriving child. Upset the schedule and she turned into Miss Hyde. The other daughter, hauled around a wet, windy Expo site at three months old, fed at weird intervals, forced to sleep in a bouncing backpack, was her cheerful self all through. Genes rule, I strongly believe. Nurture can only modify what Nature has created.

Not that my Very Organized mother did not try.

I get angry at myself from time to time, especially when I blow something. Especially when I have volunteered to do something that is not in my skill set and end up doing it badly. Sadly, experience does not teach me; I continue to take on stuff, to say yes to things that I really don't want to do, usually just to get them done when no one else is volunteering for the task. I have a fundraising event to run in the spring. If the event were to take place next week, I could just turn in and whack it together. But with several months' leeway on some of the tasks, what do you bet that I let them slide and end up running in circles in the last few days. Also, I don't delegate well. It almost always seems easier to do what needs to be done myself, rather than find someone, explain the task and monitor the results. Oh, well. At least I get to do all the posters and art work.

In the main, though, I manage to tolerate myself. There are things I am good at, that I do well. I hope there are enough of them to balance off the messes I occasionally make. To have patience with myself. Even to laugh at myself. Last night I was stamping around stewing at the computer and my own sloth. This morning I can be amused at the whole sorry mess. Especially since I did manage to recover enough of the job that I did not have to do it twice. Otherwise, I might still be sulking.


  1. One of the tasks I have at work involves downstream accounting for a purely sales-driven business. Everything they send is a mess and requires hours of work on my end (Thank God only once a month). When it doesn't add up, they just shrug. It's ugly.

    I am surrounded by volunteer needs and do get a lot of raised eyebrows when I am selective about my choices, but it's a disservice to the organization to say you'll do something that you can't do - for me, that's dealing with people. I just don't work well with others, but if there is a job that I can do alone, in my own space, I'm your gal. I see the administrators relying on the same people over and over again without any consideration to whether they're equipped for the varying tasks and getting mediocre results. Also ugly.

  2. It's good of you to try when there's a job that needs doing. I imagine that you always get it done, so I guess it works out.

  3. I can be organized too ... although I procrastinating right now by reading blogs and not doing work that needs to be done. (Hmmmm)

  4. Mary, you're bursting my bubble. I'm like this too, but figured that in 30 years I'd have conquered it! Not so, eh? lol

  5. I think it's always dangerous to go against one's nature. Sooner or later, all that built-up frustration has to come out. At least you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses. So many people are clueless and flail about, just half-a**ing everything and calling it done.

  6. Ah Mary G! I see why we get on so very unorganized mother passed that gene on to my sisters. I got the organized one, and it sometimes drives me crazy! Though I find as I age, my failing memory makes me less so organized!
    Take care and let's get together again soon!

  7. Oh I would be hopeless at it but if you ask me its not your fault that the machine let you down.
    You sound very competent to have rescued the gist of it.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  8. You're kind to take on what others won't... which more than makes up for your being (sometimes) disorganized, IMO.

    And I agree about genes.