I did intend to update about all this on those two days respectively, but I was so knackered by it that I simply couldn't be bothered. However, as I promised to keep LJ updated as to potential job progress, I should explain my reasoning and the events of Thursday and Friday. Though obviously, I've slept in the interim and will have forgotten some of the finer points.
Thursday was basically One Of Those Days. First thing on arriving, the call button for the lift wouldn't work and it appeared to be stuck on the third floor, so I had to use the stairs. (Obviously it was working 10 minutes later. It hates me.) The automatic disabled door for our room has been playing up for weeks but seemed to be particularly slow that morning. After that, things were going okay, and then this happened...
Kemi (our newest solicitor) had put in a long tape for dictation, on the end of which was a Threshold Document that had to be sent to Court Thursday afternoon - court run is at 2.00pm. Actually, before I go on with this incident, I need to explain the back story.
As of 6th April, the Ministry of Justice have told us to use new application forms for issuing proceedings. On Tuesday lunchtime (12.30pm), being the only WPO apparently not on lunch and despite being actually busy helping Central team (more on this later...), I was dragged to a meeting/presentation/training about the new application forms because the Head of Service running it wanted a representative from each job level. Anyway, that was all quite straightforward, and we were told that as of Tuesday we were supposed to use the new forms. Several of the old forms have disappeared and been replaced by one single form.
However - and this is a big 'however' - these new forms are not yet on Iken for use as precedents. The only way to access them is through the shared directory (the 'S' drive), where to further compound matters, they aren't even saved as templates as yet, only 'read only' documents. AFAIK this morning they are still not on Iken for use as precedents.
So. As a result of the new forms and re-jigging of templates, the Threshold Document has moved slightly. (It used to be SC6.12, it's now SC6.10, I think...) Kemi was also present at the aforesaid meeting about the new forms so had helpfully dictated the new precedent number. Thus, because I do what I'm told, I went into the old precedent bank on the 'S' drive and used the new template - even though the actual content is exactly the same...
First of all I turned off the read-only setting because it confuses Iken if you don't. Then I typed the document. It was only short, comparatively (4 pages, 3.5 minutes of dictation), and when I'd finished the tape (totalling 18 minutes) I automatically reached over to erase it. I decided to be clever and save the document into Iken before printing it off so that the footer would be correct, so I hit the Iken 'tree' button (which saves and closes the document into the system) in order to do so.
I should explain: when you've created your document in Iken it generates a document number, then pressing the tree button automatically saves it and closes it with that number. If you create a document outside of Iken, you can import it by pressing the tree. A box pops up saying "Do you want to save this document into Iken? Yes/No", and then it asks you where it's being saved, and generates a number for it.
With that in mind, I hit the tree button on my completed Threshold Document (which had not been printed or saved elsewhere). The window 'minimised' and disappeared. I literally sat there staring at my monitor in complete disbelief for about five minutes, then spent another 15 trying to find it in all the possible places - my recent documents, my document history in Iken, my temporary files. When that elicited no document (the recent documents version was merely the empty template) I conceded to go upstairs and find our Only Useful IT Bloke, who spent half an hour looking for it in those places and more, to no avail.
Feeling stupid, I had to tell Kemi I'd lost her document. Luckily, Kemi is lovely. We even checked the shredding bin because she'd put her hand-written notes in there the night before, but it must have been emptied that morning as there wasn't much left in there. In the end she had to re-dictate it, and I said it would be prioritised when that was done
All this because I did as I had been told to do, and because, as ever, they create these shiny new documents without giving the WPOs (i.e. the people who use them the most) any correct access to them.
I was also getting annoyed by all the people who had failed to read the email about using the new documents. It's not my job to go around chasing people and telling them not to use them, and quite frankly after the Iken-eating-my-document debacle on Thursday I was emphatically not in the mood for it. Since being clever had got me nowhere, I was at that point content to play the role of Dumb Typist.
The Iken thing really wound me up: I swore profusely in front of two people within earshot and then apologised (I normally only swear under my breath; anyway, one of those people has a mouth like a sailor. :P) and spent probably two hours seething about it, one of which was eaten up by trying to find the bloody document in the first place. My entire morning was lost to this incident. I got so frustrated by it that Sharn even said at one point, "It's not your fault, dude, chill...", which was nice, but still. ARGH.
Alas, the day did not improve after that.
In the afternoon, at 1.35 (after lunch), I was supposed to be sitting with Marie to go through the precedents and fix the little errors. We already had to re-schedule this because various people were receiving their 'superuser' training and we couldn't do anything until then. By 1.25 I was still working through another long tape, which wouldn't ordinarily have taken so long except Iken slows everything down and the process we have to use is long-winded - not helped by the fact it kept complaining whenever I did anything, which made the process even longer. As a result of this, I didn't have any time to clock out. I ate my lunch quickly and then proceeded to go downstairs at about 1.40, to be informed that Marie had gone on lunch. Great.
I wandered back down about 2.00pm and she appeared about five minutes later. We attempted to fix some precedents and the system kept kicking her out. After four attempts, she gave me her login and password, and the manual, and said I could do it in my spare time. I have Iken stuff on my PDR anyway, so I can at least use it for that, and I'll have more time to play with it than Marie will, as well as actually knowing the issues that need fixing.
It doesn't end there. After 'lunch' (I use the term loosely) I then spent the afternoon attempting to catch up, after the Iken incident had put me (and Noor) behind. Noor got lumbered with redoing the Threshold whilst I was pointlessly downstairs and then I did another urgent when I came back upstairs.
During the process of which, Miss Chatterbox (Central Team's typist) emailed myself and Noor to ask for help. Only myself and Noor, despite the fact there were two other typists in. Because obviously we are SO productive that our own workload can't be heavy and therefore we are completely expendable. A little irked by this, I sent back a reply along the lines of "Not right now, we both have urgents, I'll be down in a bit". What I wanted to say was "No, bugger off", but I'm a professional. :P
About three minutes later Marie sent an email to ALL the typists asking the same thing. Which was fair enough, though quite why she couldn't have done that in the first place I don't know... The first email came "on behalf of" Marie anyway; presumably Chatterbox was so affronted by my reply that she called in the cavalry.
I went down, as promised, in a bit. Marian was already down there with one piece of their work, and I took another. I finished it 15 minutes later and was then told by Chatterbox that they didn't need any more help, they were up to date. At this point, I would like to clarify the following:-
1. The piece of work I picked up was number 7, and there were only about three more things in the tray. In South we were up to 75 in the book and about 68 in terms of where we'd got to.
2. Whilst I was sitting downstairs with Marie for our ill-fated precedent-fixing exercise, Chatterbox was watching our conversation over her monitor and not doing any frelling work.
As a result of this, South's work ended up behind the 24-hour turnaround. I ended up staying at work until 6.30pm just to get up to Thursday morning's work, and gave up at that point. I went to the pub with Paul after work and we didn't get to eat until 9.45 in the evening. Thursday was basically an epic failure in all respects.
As for Friday?
Well, at first I thought it would be okay. On Thursday evening I managed to get into Iken and fix a couple of template issues whilst it was quiet(er), so on Friday morning I sent an email to the WPO / secretary pool advising that the letters should be appearing correctly and to let me know if they found any more issues.
Five minutes later: Arsey-Pants (secretary) came through with a look of incredulity. "Who told you to do Iken stuff?" she asks.
So I explain: I was meant to sit with Marie yesterday and it kept kicking her out, so she gave me her password to do it myself. And also it's on my PDR so ner. Which is obviously not what I actually said, just an approximation. This is the secretary who took it upon herself to all add the contacts to Iken and spelt a few of them wrong. She's hardly one to judge. She's always like this when I attempt anything apparently out of my job remit. I'm just a lowly typist, I must stick to typing. Screw you, Arsey-Pants.
It should have ended there. It did not. After lunch, Central were somehow behind on their work AGAIN. Marie was on leave. One of their senior solicitors even came upstairs to moan, saying she was going to complain to Jane (the AD) about Marie and the fact that they need another full-time typist, blah blah blah. I didn't like to point out that it would be redundant to complain because (a) Jane doesn't manage Marie any more and (b) the structure is changing very shortly anyway. In the end I managed to placate her by saying that we were pretty busy ourselves but we'd do our best.
A few minutes later Chatterbox comes upstairs with an urgent and asks us to do it. Even though we'd said we'd be down in a bit.
This went on ALL DAY. After lunch Ian B, the acting senior for the Education Team on the 2nd floor, asked to 'borrow' some of the 3rd floor's typists because he was under the impression their work was piling up. Gaynor said that we were all doing our best but both teams were very busy, and anyway, Ann had checked the tray at 1.30 and found it empty...
Basically, whenever there are more than about three items in the tray in Central, the fee earners panic. They're also used to having Liz, who is currently acting up as their team secretary, doing their typing, and she's quite fast. I suggested in jest during this fiasco, that we should sit Chatterbox up here for a couple of days and see how she coped. Sharn shot me down in flames, quite understandably. :P
On Thursday, I was so bloody frustrated and wanting to knock heads together that the Senior WPO role sounded more appealing than ever. By Friday I'd gone in completely the other direction. I don't know how much power I would get (the answer is probably "not enough"), and I think if I had to manage these people, even on a low level, I would end up making myself horribly unpopular. Plus the job at Ingleby is not just the WPOs, it's the Clericals as well, and apparently they're even worse.
So there you have it. As much as a pay rise would have been nice (and very much appreciated), it's not worth the hassle. The cut-off is Wednesday, and they're interviewing for it on 27th April whilst I'm on leave, so essentially it would be the same situation as last time where I'd be thrown into a job immediately on returning to work.
I should get my cost-of-living increase in this month's pay, and with any luck I will pass my PDR with flying colours and thus achieve my pay increment too. Which will be better than nothing, at any rate.