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Advice needed - I've even had to cancel dd's swimming today

(9 Posts)
Rosamund1 Wed 13-Jul-16 18:41:18

I've got bags under my eyes. Just now I had to call the childminder for an extra hour and it means dd is missing her swimming lesson. I've got work waiting for me when I post this, and haven't even started dinner yet.

It's all because of bloody audio tapes at work. I don't know how to manage this situation and would welcome advice.


I am about 15 years behind my peers in terms of career for a number of reasons and my CV is a mess. I finished my postgrad five years ago and the only work I could get was factory, cleaning and reception.

Two months ago I finally got my foot in the door in an entry level position in the industry I am interested in. It is a small firm with only five people. My role covers reception, admin as well as substantive work. In a large firm I could realistically find myself stuck photocopying all day or away at reception answering phones and not learning much but due to the small size I really get stuck in. I can observe all that goes on and work on my own bits and pieces which then get checked over. It is very satisfying and the people are nice.

I only work there four days a week as I volunteer one day a week for something important to me and they knew that when they took me on.

The problem I would like help with is down to audio typing. Basically the more I do, the more I get and it is taking over my day. As well as my other duties I do audio typing. At first it was just a bit but it is now swamping everything.

The second week I was there we were facing a deadline and to demonstrate I was a team player I took a tape home (with permission) with me on the weekend so that the proposal would be mostly ready on Monday morning.

I think my boss is glad because he is getting a lot done however my other work is now not getting done. 'Have you reviewed the thingimy'
Well no boss, you gave me three tapes this morning'.

On top of that their admin is quite disorganised so if you are typing something and the tape says 'confirm the contract number' that's a ten minute hunt for information.

I have been taking work home and maybe twice a week staying till 7 or 8. I only take 20minute lunches at my desk as there is always some deadline.

I have gone so far as to produce a daily timetable / log - broken into 15 minute segments accounting for my time with a breakdown of tasks. So I will have 10-11 - review X contract but then it will be crossed out and have 'audio typing' as the activity listed.

In itself the audio typing is interesting because it refers to complex matters and high level matters however I am starting to feel run down and want to get my other work done. You never know how much is on them . It could be simple dictation or it could be, 'write to so and so and give them an update' which means a good 30 minutes finding their address then reading their file then typing and addressing a letter and any enclosures.

It is always 'oh here are a couple of tapes, it is really important'. I even show the boss my list and say what should I take off for today? He is always non commital and a few days later it will be 'did you laminate all the packs' or whatever and it's like the fact that was the lowest priority thing to get done and so given the number of things on the list, which you have seen, it's not going to happen until you stop with the tapes.

When I said I'm running a bit behind, he said 'you shouldn't have spent more than an hour researching xyz'. It's not the 40 minutes of research that are the problem, it's the hours of tapes.

Today I literally did nothing but audio typing as well as the phone and some urgent emails.

I was at a job where for four years I barely saw my dd and they basically took advantage and I don't want that to happen again.

BeatricePotter Thu 14-Jul-16 06:54:05

Oh, the joys of admin!

You need to start prioritising. So... everything that gets handed to you, you need to ask when it is needed by. If it's an audio tape then you need a list of what is on there and when it is needed by. You then complete work in deadline order.

Stop working all hours. It is fairly clear that your boss has no idea how long things take or what you are capable of doing in a day.

Unfortunately, this is the nature of the beast. Very little control of workload = high stress. As best you can, you need to push back and take control. This is very difficult in admin roles. Have been here a few times over the years and I'm now a very bossy PA.

fastdaytears Thu 14-Jul-16 07:04:49

shock that people have actual physical tapes but not really the point...

This doesn't sound all that sustainable, or really what I would want to be doing with a postgrad qualification. Is this law?

violetbunny Thu 14-Jul-16 09:08:05

Agree with Beatrice. Also perhaps start recording how long each tape is taking you to complete. It sounds like your boss has little idea how much time you're actually spending on them.

LIZS Thu 14-Jul-16 09:15:51

I don't understand why this has led to cancelling a swimming lesson. confused you need to chart the week and go to however you report to and ask for a review of your workload. It is pointless paying a professional wage for someone to audiotape ( seems very backward) , may be they'd agree to a temp for so many hours a week.

C0ff3333 Fri 15-Jul-16 00:20:16

Can your boss set up an internet "webex meeting", press record

The conversation can be emailed to all people that need it

No need for auto typing

Some other people may know about other similar technologies

EBearhug Fri 15-Jul-16 01:39:15

Yep, we record conf calls via webex and make the replays available.

I think you need to have a more assertive chathe with your boss, and also not have some of the audiotapes complete on time, but stick to reasonable hours - this is where the prioritisation comes in.

venusinscorpio Fri 15-Jul-16 01:49:16

Yes I agree with pp. You are going to have to let them down occasionally, it's not sustainable and they are being totally unrealistic. People never have the first idea how long these things take unless they've done it themselves before. At the moment you are breaking your back to do pretty much everything you're asked. They will keep piling it on unless you say something. I sympathise, I have left a job for this reason.

EBearhug Sat 16-Jul-16 00:41:15

I've found that since I've started saying "no" more, people respect my time more, too.

It's not always an outright "no" - sometimes it's, "not now, but I can fit you in at 3pm," or "I can't do that before Tuesday, because I have to finish these two pieces of work before I can look at anything else." or "no, but if you ask Pete, he's got more knowledge on that anyway." And sometimes it is just no. And other times it's yes - and then people tend to be more appreciative of it, because it's not automatic.

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