Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday (Non-)Madness

There are two major concerns which I assume loom for just about every mid-level white collar office drone when they return from a long vacation, and which I know for a fact loom large for me in said situation:

1 - Did anything at work go completely mad while I was away?

2 - Did I go completely mad while I was away?

To cut through the (probably low-to-non-existent) tension right off the bat, I’ve been in the office for about two hours now as I type this and the answer seems to be “no” on both counts. Things did not completely fall apart when I turned my back a week and a half ago.

In fact there was a smidge of good news waiting for me in my Inbox this morning: official confirmation that my employer is going to be granted a six-month contract extension while the government makes up for lost time and blown deadlines and finally gets the re-compete process underway. So, in theory, I have stable employment from now until late March 2015 or so, and I am grateful for that.

Otherwise, I was relieved to see that nothing went horribly wrong while I was beaching it. Apparently there was a slight server responsiveness problem on Thursday that I got one e-mail about, but just as apparently it resolved itself quickly enough that Friday, at least, was a normal day for my users (if the auto-logs are to be believed). I tried to tell myself, as I commuted in this morning, that if anything had gone well and truly kablooie that somebody would have called me, approved vacation time or no. And since I had my cell phone at hand, charged and working, the entire time I was gone, and no one called, everything must have been fine enough. But those rational thoughts did not entirely appease the fear and dread (though to be fair, some portion of that was not so much dreading the messes I would find and need to belatedly clean up, but just the dread of the Big gray in general). It was a relief to log in and discover the absence of any panicked PLEASE OPEN THIS AS SOON AS YOU RETURN e-mails, or for that matter the dearth of frantic voicemails or hastily scribbled Post-its stuck to my desk.

And speaking of logging in, I know that I did not completely lose my mind, either, because I managed to get to work on time and with all of my badges and access cards and whatnot, and without forgetting any of my various system passwords. I did have a moment of self-flagellation on Saturday morning, two days ago, when I woke up feeling like I had forgotten something, and realized I had intended to fill out and submit my electronic timesheet on Friday by 9:30 a.m. as per company policy and then of course had completely lost track of the days until that moment had come and long since gone. I logged in to the network later and saw that my boss had done a provisional timesheet on my behalf that I had to approve, and I did, all of which is a tiny drop in the compliance bucket but bummed me out nonetheless. Still, as I said, for getting out of all my habits for a solid week, I made a relatively non-bumpy transition back today. And I’m well ahead of not one but two of my co-workers, one a fellow contractor and one a DoD employee, both of whom are having bouts of the Mondays and forgot their network access cards at home, as I overheard them both tell our government boss with much chagrin.

Vacation was pretty wonderful on the whole and I will relate various high points as we go through the week. But for now, yes, things are back to near-normal. Let the countdown to the long Labor Day weekend begin!

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