Friday 5: Are you prepositioning me?

Work has been a bit frenzied lately. It usually calms down for me in December — when I was first hired in December five years ago, they told me not to come in until the second week of January because there just wasn’t much for me to do yet.

If the last few Decembers have been less than frantic, I’ll just say I kind of earned them because in order to get year-end stuff out, my busy time is September into November. Those stories take time to write, and getting them approved by all stakeholders often takes even more time.

But I’ve picked up a new responsibility: sending out bulk emails on behalf of some of UH’s units. We are tenacious protectors of our data, as we must be. We collect money from a lot of people, and our records are freaking sensitive as heck. We also keep alumni data. So when the department of ______ wants to send out a bulk email to its donors or alumni, it does it through our foundation.

I’m not in charge of any of it, but we lost one of our people who used to do it, summer 2020 on the day I still think of as Black Tuesday. So responsibilities have shifted, and they continue to shift as people move into and out of positions.

I’d been bugging my boss for years to let me learn Mailchimp so I could help out with that stuff once in a while. Also because learning new stuff is critical to keeping me interested in my work. I finally got the okay when someone needed to pick up the mailouts for a few units.

The end of the calendar year is pretty busy for a task like this. I’m handling the smallest number of these and they still take up an enormous chunk of my time and energy. They’re not supposed to, but I’m still new to this task, so I’m still in the steeper part of the learning curve.

I’ve complained to my boss that I haven’t lately had any time for goofing off during my workday. I have to do my NYT crosswords at home before bed, rather than during breaks at my desk. I was being playful when I said it, but I was also being serious.

Not complaining about the work or the workload, actually. Just trying to keep it going without letting myself get fully immersed beyond a reasonable week’s hours. ‘Though I could certainly let myself without worrying too much. It would never be as self-destructive as when I was teaching.

It’s 2:33 in the morning and I’m still up because this last two weeks I crash as soon as I get home, for two to three hours, and then I’m up too late getting non-work things done. It’s a very unhealthy thing I do every so often and I find the cycle super difficult to break. I was going to reset last weekend, but I got a request to put together a proposal on Saturday afternoon and spent Sunday evening — late Sunday evening — doing it. Because end-of-year stuff. We’re a charity, and people want to get their donations in by the end of December.

Soooooooooooooooo I might as well do a Friday 5.

From here.

  1. When did you recently do something on the sly?
    I stayed late in the office to get a few things done Tuesday night. Was about to lock up (everyone else had gone home) when I remembered Wednesday is when I hoped to put my office Christmas gift out: eight tins of assorted teas from Harney and Sons. I wasn’t exactly sneaking around to do it, but I like to leave that stuff when nobody’s seeing me. Santa-like. I printed an obnoxiously punny message on some Christmas-printed cardstock and set it up nicely in the break room where we keep the tea stuff.
  2. Which of your plans for the coming week is still up in the air?
    I have to mail Christmas gifts to people I won’t see in person, and I still have two unchecked items on my list. Gotta pick something up then pack stuff to mail. I’m hoping to get the shopping done Saturday evening and mail it all out early Monday morning.
  3. What’s happening across the street?
    I live across the street from the faculty housing of a certain Hawaii private K-12 school, and since they’re about to begin Christmas break, it’s been super quiet over there. I think some of my neighbors are from off-island, so during breaks they go away. Just a suspicion; I don’t actually know any of them. Between semesters, there’s often some turnover there too, although less in December than in July.
  4. What have you heard recently through the grapevine?
    As I have said many times, I try to run away from gossip. If I consume any gossip at all, it’s usually about football or baseball, but that’s not gossip. In baseball’s winter months, it’s hot stove. A different creature entirely. Which player is thinking of signing with which team, that kind of stuff. And the hot stove league is quiet these days because the stupid Major Leagues are in lockout pending some kind of new collective bargaining agreement.
  5. What kinds of videos on YouTube are likeliest to send you down the rabbit hole?
    I don’t like looking at video on my phone, and I’ve never really liked it on my computer. I’m kind of old that way. I like computers and phones for reading and interacting. I don’t like them for sucking in video content. However, when I do get drawn in (or when I let myself willingly be pulled under), there are three common culprits. I like compilations of Jimmy Kimmel’s Celebrities Read Mean Tweets segments. I find them hilarious and have watched some of them several times. I also like concert videos of bands I like. Most of the musicians I really want to see in concert never make it out here, so if there’s good live video of them, I’ll occasionally lose a few hours. Related: the third culprit is a series by Loudwire, a metal blog, called Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction? in which the host interviews metal musicians, reading them stuff Wikipedia says about them. The musicians then confirm or correct the info. It’s just this chill vibe with musicians I admire the heck out of, and there are few things I find more interesting than artists talking about their art.

4 Replies to “Friday 5: Are you prepositioning me?”

  1. I love that you do the Santa thing for your coworkers! That’s just nice. I had to laugh at your answer to number 4. My answer was similar, only about the NHL! I watch the Loudwire series, too. Sometimes it’s WILD!

  2. I’m not a fan of Mailchimp even though I have had to use it. I think the interface is clunky.

    I like Constant Contact. They have a nicer interface and to me it is easier to use. However there is no free tier for CC.

    I use CC at least once per month (for a non-profit) and Mailchimp for my now seasonal job. Plus I set up my own free MailChimp. You can do that just for practice.

    I hate the two factor authentication for MC.

    1. @MEL The interface isn’t the greatest but I do like the real-time WYSIWYG editor. I don’t have anything to compare it to! Also the nonprofit I work for is pretty big, and we’re sending out mass emails almost daily, so the free tier doesn’t really work for us. I think it’s a good skill to have, though, and I’m grateful I’m getting to learn it.

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