I got my final orders today. I return to my main job on July 5th. What the hell am I talking about? Well, let me ‘esplain’. I’ve been assigned to records production for my department for the last 5 years. It is a voluntary assignment we bid for and I was fortunate to be selected, but now that assignment is ending. In my assignment we handle subpoenas for criminal/civil litigation, freedom of information requests, human service agency requests, and various other types of requests for records relating to dispatch.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it but my biggest struggle has been the hours. When I originally signed up, the hours were more to my liking. Due to the typical broken internal communication of civil service, I discovered after I was reassigned my hours would be earlier and longer than originally planned. If you read here with any sense of regularity, you know I am NOT a morning person. More astutely, I’m not an early to bed person. To be fair, I could have declined the assignment once I discovered the error; however, I had already made a commitment and I really needed a break from operations. I decided to stick it out. I could have also pushed for different hours from my counterpart in the office. That would have most likely led to friction and an uneven work load. I didn’t want friction or drama and I got lucky in that I get along really well with the other person assigned to records. I’m fond of saying, “we get along like two peas in a pod”.
There have been some great perks to the assignment. The work is tedious but not hard at all. It becomes routine pretty fast. We do have a manager but we are mostly left to ourselves. We are experts in our assignment and no one in our department can really match our knowledge base. Perhaps the biggest perk is the flexibility with my daily schedule. I will definitely miss that. My normal schedule can be very rigid and getting time off can also be very hard due to staffing shortages. In my assignment, I only need to make sure my coworker can cover for me or isn’t taking the same time off. If we finish our work early on a given day, we can take discretionary time and leave early. If we need money we can work overtime on the floor at our choosing. For myself, if I want to go the gym mid day I can. I just need to ensure I still put in the required workday hours before I go home. I can’t workout on the City’s dime obviously. That would be really rude, not to mention unethical. And we go out of our way to ensure our hours are properly accounted for and tracked. But yeah, the flexibility has been nice. I’ve also learned a lot. Knowledge is power and the more you have the better you are at making good decisions. I know so much more about the inner and outer workings of my department and my own work now.
All that aside, I am ready to go back though. Shawn is surprised I would rather go back to handling emergencies vs keeping a nice comfy office gig. And I can see how that might sound, but I didn’t sign up to be a general clerk cranking out paperwork all day. It has been a much needed break, but that is over. He also tends to think I’ll hate going back to my normal job as I routinely bitch about calls I deal with in my current assignment. In my regular job taking phone calls is my job. So while it can be stressful, I still feel productive. On my assignment taking calls is a distraction from my work so it is way more frustrating. It may some conflicting, but in my mind it is clearly defined. I love that he worries for me though. And it isn’t like a I have a choice anyway. My assignment is up, it is someone else’s turn. My replacement has already started.
The one good thing about dispatch is never worrying about what’s on my plate. When I’m in Ops, I do not think about work until I show up. And when I leave, it is forgotten until I return. In records, I find myself often worried about incoming work, how much work is on my desk, etc. Every time I get a news alert for a major crime or incident in the city, I audibly groan knowing my next work day is going to be overly busy. I am definitely looking forward to having that care-free attitude when I’m not at work.
I decided to go back on my old shift, which was 1500-2300 hours (3pm to 11pm). I have seniority so I still get weekends. I can actually pull weekend days off on any shift I choose now. Better still, no more alarm clock and no more feeling rushed every day on a 10-hour shift. I can go to the gym without feeling rushed and I sleep in as needed. It is amazing what that 2 hours in a day can make. I didn’t realize it but the shift combined with the very early hours was damaging my emotional well-being. I rarely want to travel or do things on weekends. Shawn gets credit for basically dragging me places he wants to visit. I just never feel motivated to do much at all beyond local events. And being in SF can leave you a bit spoiled as we have so many events here every year. The pandemic only made it worse as I got really complacent with my video games. I think the only reason I still have an ass I can measure is I had cut out most carbs right before the pandemic hit.
As I return to a schedule I really want, I am hope to get some of that eagerness and excitement back outside of work. Ironic, I know but I’m excited. If it ever affects how Shawn and I spend time together, I would of course reevaluate it, but for now I’m looking forward to it.