Today was the day. We didn’t have time to talk with Da Boss immediately after she returned from vacation but we did today. The conversation went well, she is after all the best boss I’ve ever had. We are invited back should we get back to this part of the country and you see the proof — the date July 25 — Peter and Peg GONE.
Having said that… the rest of the day was … let’s say …. bizarre! I’ve said so many times that I’m a entrepreneurial guy — the world I live in depends on me to make things happen, and when I don’t do something it doesn’t happen. So, when Da Boss told me before the holiday that the Service Center that processes volunteer reimbursements was having problems with some of our last transmittals I was frustrated. Last month was the easiest and smoothest reimbursement processing in our experience; the problems we’d been having seemed to have been resolved the month before and we were anticipating an easy processing this month. NOT.
It turns out that the process worked out by Da Boss’ boss didn’t fly two months in a row. I sent off an email inquiring what the problem might be with the delayed payments and ended up on two long phone conversations with two different people about what we now needed to do to get our volunteers paid.
This idea that you work through and negotiate a process and then as soon as the process is implemented one party says — wait…. “that aint the way to do it” befuddles me. But, of course, no one wants to put themselves down in writing because then they are a.) accountable and b.) probably didn’t have the authority to make the agreement but didn’t want to admit that.
We put in 7 1/2 hours in the office and about 5 hours were spent on trying to find a solution. Knowing that no one talks to anyone in the office across the parking lot I said the heck with it and went straight to the Deputy District Ranger bypassing Da Boss’ boss. Not sure if there will be repercussions but I really don’t care. Staff would get mighty upset if they tried to cash their payroll check and there wasn’t any money in their account. Why can they not realize that volunteers deserve to by reimbursed for expenses they have experienced on behalf of the Forest Service.
And then — after telling the Service Center that I was waiting on a letter from our Deputy District Ranger that I rough drafted for him which I would forward to them — I get an email appreciating my patience. It took all my efforts not to blow up and be really snarky in a return email — but I sucked it up and said nothing.
Of course I now have to wait for the Ranger to clear up the pending reimbursements, and I have to hold onto the new batch which are ready to go right now — except for that letter that needs to accompany each and every individual request. Yikes! What a waste!
Fortunately I had a little good work to do: following up on a few volunteer inquiries, talking with well-meaning volunteers, getting to know new people and make new friends.
There are great joys with this job. Sure, there are frustrations but we would not have stayed for 10 months if we didn’t have fun and didn’t have rewards in all the frustrations. I truly hope that reading my experiences doesn’t discourage anyone from volunteering here — these are great people and it’s a great place — but for now — we need a break.
Tomorrow we’ll telecommute. I’ll finish up the photos for Recreation.gov and then turn that project over to be uploaded by staff.
Thanks for stopping by! I’ll talk with you tomorrow.