Monday, November 5, 2012

First Day at... This Is Work?

The best thing about today is that it's over.

The second best was coming home traveling up Dysert, northward on the western end of the Phoenix area, when all but the very horizon was black, and that lit just enough in a faint gold to outline the western mountain(s?).

I was faithfully on the road logging in at 7AM this morning. Or trying to. After several tries, a phone call that wound up being picked up in Los Angeles because nobody switched them on out here, a later connection with this office, and finally a call back to the Minnesota office for some real  help, we finally discovered that my Blackberry phone number had never been entered in the system down here so it couldn't recognize me.

So could they fix it? Well, either ______ or ______ were the only two who could, and they'd be in at 8, or 9, maybe 10.

Gee, thanks guys.

I was told to head in to HQ for a spot of training in how to deal with one customer. (Couldn't that have been handled when I was in before, either time?) About the time I was getting close, dispatch called with a run coming from the area I'd just left. Rather than send me back, he gave me three slow service runs to get me started. The first was a downtown "slingshot" run, one that could be completed with a good slingshot. A short. Pays zip. At least I knew enough about downtown to drive right to the corners I needed, finding reasonable parking in a maze of alternating one-ways with few spaces to offer. On the other hand, the addressee was on the 20th floor of a building with access only to the elevator lobby of each floor and a phone with numbers to call.

Nobody answered. I tried more. Same story. Eventually I decided to head back to the security desk on the main floor and ask about a mailroom. Nope, don't have one. While dispatch was putting in a query to Dallas as to whether the package could be left without a signature, I decided to go back up and try some more. Lots of people were still arriving to work. Maybe I was just early.

As I was dialing the very last number in her department, finally getting a human voice on the other end, in she walked behind me and hearing her own name, claimed the package.

One down, two to go. This slingshot run had taken 5 minutes of drive time, 35 minutes of loadtime, unchargeable due to no electronic proof.

The next two at least were out of the same pick, 35 blocks north of the street I was parked on. Simple. The first went out to a very fancy hotel/resort/golf course, the kind of place where after you reach the address, you need signs to direct you through the maze of streets and buildings to the end of the road a mile later to the registration desk.

By then _____ was in and called to let me know my number was entered in the system. Try logging on.

Funny enough, I had taken a break in driving to try to do just that. No success. Tried again. Same thing. Head into HQ to get the phone straightened out. OK, just a 10 mile detour to my next drop, but hey, necessary.

You gotta figure by now that with this kind of day, when I got to HQ and handed over my Blackberry, _____ hit the key and it logged in perfectly.

I made my last drop with 45 minutes to spare before it would be late. It went to a residence. The dog was home, but it couldn't sign for the package. Too bad, it would be useful if they could. I called the attached phone number, got the addressee, and was instructed to leave it at the front door. OK, done.

I contacted dispatch and asked whether they wanted me to come back in to a busier spot, but was told to hang out where I was. There was no work.

Nor was there any an hour later. Nor three. Nor 5 1/2 hours later!!!!

This is the perfect recipe for paranoia: no work, lousy communication, and you start to wonder just how soon you're going to  have to return to Minnesota and how Steve's going to cope without a car down here? How big a mistake was this? Is it personal? Because I'm female? How badly did they lie to me about the availability of work? And why is this branch of the company such a rinky-dink outfit?

At about 5:30 I called in for my last time of the day and begged to be told that this day was not at all typical of what I was going to find down here. I'm used, after all, to working my behind off. (Unfortunately, only figuratively.) He assured me (?) that in fact it was very unusual, that after noon he had a lineup of 9 drivers waiting for work, and that most of them had gone home early. But wait, a run was coming across the board right now, and did I want it?

Of course! I would have taken anything at that point. The pick was where I'd stopped earlier that day, not far in fact from where I had moved in to hours earlier. The drop was Avondale. Until I looked it up on the map, I had no clue where that was. Didn't care. I'd be  doing one of my least favorite things: hunting an address in the dark. Still didn't care. I had work!

Tomorrow's got to be better. Right?

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