View Full Version : another deep thought/work

Zoe Girl
10-19-11, 10:36am
This will be super quick,

So yesterday I had 2 things, one was the weekly meeting with my supervisor and the other a difficult conversation on a behavior issue.

The weekly meeting was fine, i heard what I have heard my ENTIRE life however and I am not sure what it is telling me in a bigger picture kinda way. One is that I need to be more timely/correct/perfectionistic about all the pieces of paper we need. Okay, not my strength but I am working very hard at it. Then about my very inspired things from last week we will need to wait on the grant and of course she does not want to add anything to my plate as long as I have struggles with the little peices of paper issue. (sorry for the crappy attitude)

Then I handle teh behavior talk, this is the 4th time I have been warned about a volatile parent/guardian and the 4th time they have walked out with a smile on their face, sometimes thanking me and with the behavior report signed by everyone. Damn, I think i am good. (now to go back to 3 staff and follow up with their part, argh).

So I don't disagree with the peices of paper but I will never be great at them and how do I get beyond people trying to cut back my work load because I am not good at something I never will be that good at, meanwhile I doubt too many people could have done these 4 conferences this well.

Miss Cellane
10-19-11, 11:18am
Zoe, I too struggle with the paper/details issue. I don't mind doing the work at first, because there's a challenge in figuring out how to do it better, faster, more acurately. But once I've got that figured out, it becomes boring. And then I have no desire to do it at all.

On the other hand, you are being told pretty clearly that you will not get to do the fun, interesting stuff at your job until you figure out a way to deal with the paperwork and details. I have gotten the same message from my supervisors more than once.

So I think you need to spend some time figuring out how to overcome your difficulties with paper and details.

What worked for me was this:

Write the deadlines for things down on my calendar, not just on the day they are due, but the day before as well. And if I had a long time to do the task, say a month, a reminder at the half-way point as well.

Dedicating specific times every day or week to handling the paperwork. Every day from 8:30-9:00, say, for daily stuff. Every Friday from 2-4 for weekly stuff. Whatever works with your schedule and will get things done on time. It's like taking bad-tasting medicine. Just do it and get it over with. Then you can enjoy the rest of the day without having it hanging over your head.

Identify the big problems and figure out a solution. When I handled student workers' timecards, we had a two week pay period. It was very, very important that the students sign their timecards. And signing the timecards was something the students always forgot--although they didn't forget to fill in their hours. So halfway through the pay period, I'd go through all 120 timecards and sticky note all those without signatures. That reminded the kids to sign them, and if they didn't, they didn't get paid. Before I came up with that system, I was chasing kids down and calling them up and leaving messages everywhere to just freaking get them to come in and sign the stupid card, which they handled every single day they came into work. Did I enjoy taking a half hour every other week to do this? Absolutely not. But it sure beat spending four or five frantic hours every other Monday trying to get the signatures.

Can you delegate any of this? I finally figured out that I could delegate the signature checking to one of the senior student workers, who all had additional training and sometimes supervised the other students when staff weren't available. It felt like I was shirking my responsibilities, but my supervisor actually complimented me on freeing up so much of my time to work on other things. (The student signature on timecards issue was a huge, huge deal where I worked. Apparently, I was the only student supervisor to come up with a good solution.) I know in another post you said you have to travel to various sites to get payroll signatures. Is there any way you can delegate getting the signatures to someone working at that site? Then all you would have to do is drive there and pick up the completed paperwork. Or if employees come to the main office on a regular basis, maybe one of them could bring the paperwork.

Your supervisor seems willing to work with you. In many cases, supervisors don't care how the details get done, they just want them done and on time and correct. So I suspect that if you stop telling yourself you just can't do paperwork and details and instead start looking at them as puzzles to be solved or challenges to be faced, you will be able to come up with some creative solutions.

And if you can identify a big stumbling block but can't solve it, ask your supervisor for suggestions. Sometimes you really just need to talk a problem over with someone else to get the ideas flowing.

10-19-11, 11:48am
Miss Cellane has lots of good ideas. Are there some types of paperwork where you are checking for completeness on someone else's behalf? Could you let them take the natural consequences of them not being complete- for example if its a timecard, they don't get paid if its not complete. They will only experience the consequence once before being more careful.

One technique I'd like to add is creating a checklist for yourself on the details you need to remember, maybe even laminated and something that you can keep in view on your desk. I've done this with repetitive tasks, particularly ones so mundane I may skim over.

10-19-11, 3:21pm
Anne, I had a very similar job as you do...and I also wasn't enamored of the paper work involved with that job. But I do have to say that when you are running a licensed program, all of the paperwork needs to be done correctly and on a timely basis or it affects licensure and reimbursement policies. Follow Miss Cellane's suggestions...they are wonderful and will help you greatly. I wish that I had them when I was directing my center! I know that you wish that your job only entailed the human interaction skills, but most of the supervisory positions in a center will entail both human interaction and detailed record keeping. Good luck!

10-19-11, 5:03pm
I really like Miss Cellene's suggestions, and that is really the attitude I try to adopt to make it more palatable to myself -- challenge myself to find a way to make it more efficient and streamlined, or experiment with different approaches with other people in order to see what works best in terms of helping them to take care of their part of the process. Ironically, I have actually introduced some standard forms and more regular reporting processes into my job/area of responsibility as a result because I have seen places where not having clear documentation was having a negative effect.

Good luck in finding a way to deal with this constructively and in a way that moves you toward being able to have more time to do the substantive work you are capable of and obviously good at. Maybe you need to come up with a form for documenting your successes with teachers/parents so that your supervisor will pay more attention to that stuff :)


PS: Would it help to outline the different pieces of paperwork you have to deal with over the course of a pay period or a month and have us help you brainstorm about how to set up a better system for managing it? I know you work multiple sites and don't have a good office area, so that is also a challenge those of us who like organizational stuff might be able to help with.

Zoe Girl
10-19-11, 10:36pm
Thankyou all, I will have to check back on those suggestions for how to do things. Also our supervisor made a laminated write on/wipe off list so she can put down what we need to do and it is a visual reminder. I think that helps my feeling that I am the only one struggling. Of course there is one young lady who seems to get everything done and sometimes she irritates me, however she is so black and white that sometimes it is hard when we talk about things like charging parents a late fee and how much to use our own judgement. She doesn't have that, so i think maybe someone notices that I do have that ability. I tend to be way too independant so I try to check in a lot not as asking for advice in most cases but jsut so i am staying connected.

Okay it is another pay period and I have until the end of the week to get signatures in, and there is still lots of work to do with this situation of the child and grandparent. (I showed the original write up for the child to a few people and it is not just me, it is shocking and totally bad). I did get a great compliment when I called back grandpa to check in and offered him my supervisors number, but he felt I had the situation handled well enough. So today I had an absent staff ( I sub for the absent staff) and I still got over to have the first of 3 talks that are needed, then there is additional training for the entire staff, etc. So I am down to 3 signatures and i didn't get those today (one was the absent staff). So tomorrow it is back on the list! That and goals for our program, I will get that done however I think that I am doing things a bit more in depth than others> I would relax but this is my way so I will just make sure I get it done on time even though i put a lot of thought into things. And part of my putting a lot of thought into things is how much I think all but a few out of 13 staff totally need to be trained from the ground up.

I still think that we should recognize and appreciate the creative people, the peacemakers, the mediators, and those who have a talent for doing those things you cannot put your finger on but you know talent when you see it.

10-19-11, 11:26pm
Life is a breeze for black and white thinkers, I've noticed. No time wasted pondering.

iris lily
10-19-11, 11:36pm
...On the other hand, you are being told pretty clearly that you will not get to do the fun, interesting stuff at your job until you figure out a way to deal with the paperwork and details....


You mean that the paperwork ISN'T the fun stuff????!!!!!

Left brained Iris

Zoe Girl
10-20-11, 9:14am

You mean that the paperwork ISN'T the fun stuff????!!!!!

Haha, I love actually setting up organization, making new systems and creating things that work really well. Then i get bored. So i got a burst yesterday on the rosters, I get asked for updated roster numbers with a short turn around time while we are also calling for new registrations so this is an issue. I also work remotely often. So rather than wait for the once a month roster from front office I have a simple spread sheet in my computer where I can add and subtract each student immediatly. Then all I need is to pull up the spreadsheet and have the number.