March for Babies

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In which I blog about work...sort of

Have you ever thought about who might replace you at your job if you were to take a leave of absence? Think about it, really think about all the little things that you do on a daily basis that seem small but they all add up to your job. They are things you might not even think about as your job description but they are what you do. How do you go about writing a description for the position available for that short period of time? In my case, I have 8-1/2 years of experience behind me. I need to be able to fully train someone to replace me in a two-week period. This person will fulfill my duties for the time I am gone on maternity leave and then will again be out of a job. How do I find someone qualified enough to do this responsibly and yet who does not want a long-term commitment? This is sort of a tall order, no?
Now, it is not as if the person needs a degree to do my job. I swear I am losing brain cells on a daily basis. However, I do like my job. I love the people I work with and it is a steady secure paycheck. (And they LOVE me!)
The big thing is the attention to detail. This is not so easy to pin down in someone in an interview. My job consists of looking at a piece of paper whether it be a purchase order or an invoice or some sort of shipping document and I have to make whatever the paper says match what the computer says. I do this by either changing the paper or the computer but in the end, they must match. See? Not exactly rocket science. There is investigative work involved in finding out which needs to be changed, the paper or the computer, and this can take some time involving phone calls, looking up files, asking co-workers, etc. The thing is, the computer and the paper usually ALMOST match. This is where the attention to detail comes in. I have to catch those subtle differences. My replacement has to be able to catch them as well. I have been looking for those little things for years, they stand out to me. Someone with two weeks worth of training will not have that experience behind them.
A big part of saving my job is finding a suitable replacement for me at work. This has been a major issue for me from the very beginning when we started talking about having kids. What was I going to do about work? Now that I am in the situation, it sucks just as bad as I thought it would. The last three receptionists we have hired have all been prospective replacements for me. If they had proven themselves capable then we would train them to do my work in my absence and we could get a warm body to answer the phones during that time. Alas, it seems that knowing the alphabet and the proper order of the numbers is a bit of a challenge these days.  None of them has shown the capacity to do what I do. Is this really so hard? Maybe we DO need to find someone with a degree like my own. The problem is, they were hesitant to hire me in the first place because of my advanced education. They thought that I would get bored and leave in search of my dream job. 
Any highly capable people out there with computer experience, 10-key proficiency, detail oriented anal-retentive personalities want a full-time job for only three months?

1 comment:

ThreeBees said...

Actually, I'd fit the bill except that I live in Colorado. :( My previous work experience sounds very similar to what you do.

Hope you find a capable stand-in while you are on leave.