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If there truly is no rest for the wicked. . .

March 17, 2010

Then I surely must be bad.  And unfortunately, it’s looking like that state of wicked I aspired to in my youth isn’t that much of a giggle.

Having recently returned from the tabling wars, I toted up my time report and sent it off to the home office.  I was amazed to find that I’d managed to clock 80 hours of overtime over the last weeks.  That, together with the 83 hours of overtime I’d put in during the two weeks prior to that, and the 40+ hours I was carrying into that time period, means I’ve got at least 260 hours of comp time coming.  NGO’s don’t pay overtime; our union settles for comp time.  (I can’t fault our union leadership.  Granted, they’re not John L. Lewis’ or Jimmy Hoffas, but our “rank and file” is very young, very vocal, and believes we’re on a mission from God — not conducive to hard collective bargaining.)

So yesterday I go in to read the mail, stow the gear, and decide what poor soul will inherit me for a long lunch before I start putting my tax stuff together.  Halfway through the mail the email chime goes off and we’re off to the races.  I get a national field staff action request.  That is NGO speak for, “Drop what you’re doing and get this done in accordance with the timeline included.”  Even worse, this one’s got my name spelled out; I’m not just on the periphery; I’m accountable.  So, I pull out the calendar, cross out the “comp time” entries and start filling in the conference calls, meetings, and research time this entails for this week.

Next comes word that I’ve got to provide a preliminary response for my performance evaluation so we can have a meaningful discussion about it on Friday.  Again, an appropriate calendar entry is made.

And so it goes.  Today was bit more of the same, but I ran out of the office at noon and went to lunch with my research scientist friend.  Listening to him, I felt better because I didn’t work for the USFS.  (His Internet service was just terminated because someone, somewhere in the United States, had neglected to pay the server’s bill for the last three months.  Even more perplexing, he couldn’t even find anyone with the record that the USFS had dutifully made the payments on that account for the previous two and a half years.  We think maybe he’s being terminated by inches.  The country’s not interested in science anymore.)

But I’ve still got tomorrow reserved for tax prep; I haven’t cancelled my Friday appointment with my CPA — yet.

— Margadant

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