Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Chapter Begins

Today is the last day of 2014. It was supposed to be my one day off of work this week, a break I had been looking forward to since I officially went operational on Christmas Eve. We had hoped to actually get out of the house and do something fun this afternoon/evening, but, while at work yesterday I received a phone call informing me that my day off was being canceled and I was being forced to come in for the afternoon/evening shift today. Alas someone has to work, and at the moment that someone is me. --When not enough people volunteer to work extra hours someone has to be forced, and who it is is determined by who has the least amount of overtime hours for the quarter. Since I came into the job in the final weeks of the quarter that means that, at the moment, I find myself at the bottom of that totem pole.-- So now I will soon head in to work day 10 of what now appears will be an initial 16 day run with no days off. In fact, when I hit my next scheduled day off on January 7, I will have had only one real day with no work or training since December 7.

While this intensive work schedule is certainly a challenging way to start the new job, it is not unexpected. My class is only the second to graduate after a long dry spell and, as one of the newest arrivals, it falls to me to work so that others don't have to. As we enter a new quarter beginning tomorrow, and with another class coming in at the end of January, the pressure will ease, but for now it is off to work once again.

Due to moving directly from training into being operational, the work schedule, and Alison's family visiting for the Christmas holiday, I have had little time to reflect on the fact that I have actually started the job. It has seemed like such a long process to get to this point, that it is taking a while to set in that the process is actually complete. A story that began More Than a Year Ago, that took me to Georgia for 3 Months, and that culminated in 17 Weeks of Training in Maryland, has now come to an end.

A new story began on December 12 when I reported to the White House for two weeks of "on the job" training. This training is normally three weeks long, but in an effort to get us out more quickly they compressed it to two weeks of 12 hour days. Our schedule was additionally compressed by canceling our days off in order to have us operational on Christmas Eve. It is these adjustments, and the need to accommodate others who were on Christmas leave, that has resulted in the schedule I described above.

One distinct advantage to working so much at Christmas time are the beautiful decorations. Both the interior and exterior of the house were adorned for the holiday and the National Christmas Tree (and accompanying state trees) on the Ellipse has been lit every night that I have been working.

I don't know anything more at this point with regard to be getting onto the team that conducts tours and special events. I have made my desire to be a part of it clearly known, and now I just have to wait and see. It remains my goal to become part of this team at the earliest available opportunity.

There are times when I have found the job less than stimulating, and it is certainly a challenge so work so often right now with so little control over my schedule. But I am also consistently amazed that I am where I am and honored to be doing what I am doing.