Life: The Handover
As The Administrator for a small not-for-profit arts organisation (and yes, that’s The Administrator – as in The Terminator and The Plague), I’m the only person in the office who has to organise cover when I go on annual leave. This is definitely because I play a crucial role in the organisation and not at all because nobody else wants to answer the phone. No, not at all.
Personally speaking, I like having someone cover my job because there is so much that I do on a day-to-day basis that is like that impulse-bought marinara mix languishing at the back of my fridge: I’m really hoping somebody else will have dealt with it by the time I get back from holidays.
Still, handing over to someone else is no easy feat. Writing down what you actually do for a living is a sobering experience, whether it’s “Woah, I’m responsible for a lot of things here. When did I accidentally become a grown-up?” or “This – THIS! – is what my life has come to?”
And then there’s HOW to hand over. Some handovers can be a few dot points jotted on the back of a beer coaster. Others can be veritable tomes: the Return of the King Director’s Cut of handover documents, if you will, which will take you longer to read than it would to actually do any of the work. And then there’s those handover documents that get all fancy with their screen grabs and flow charts and animated paperclips saying “It looks like you’re taking over someone else’s cruddy job for three weeks. Would you like help?” Man, if that paperclip ever really wanted to be helpful, he’d invest my money wisely, fix me a cocktail and massage my old lady feet. Just sayin’.
Finally, there’s the problem of finding the time to hand over – you know, while still actually managing to do your job. There’s that frantic push as 5PM approaches on the final day before your holiday and you’re rushing to get everything done and the phone keeps ringing and the emails keep rolling in – don’t these people KNOW you have a holiday to get to? Sheesh! And then finally – FINALLY! – you’re on your way out of the office, but your head is filled with all kinds of stuff you didn’t manage to impart to your replacement, like where the laminating pouches are kept and which box the 2009 financial statements are archived in… until, roughly 36 hours later, there’s that glorious moment of release, where all those thoughts of work evaporate in a puff of smoke and your job has officially become somebody else’s problem… Bliss!
Of course, there’s also that awful moment the night before you return to work where you realise you totally failed to put one of those marinara-mix-languishing-in-the-fridge-type tasks in the handover document and that it’s that very task that will greet you and try to kiss you on the lips the minute you step back into the office… It’s a wonder anybody ever goes on holiday, really.
What’s the thing you hate doing most when trying to go on holiday?
The formerly fashionable NDM had three children and discovered that brown is the new black the hard way. The force behind the once-was-blog Not Drowning, Mothering, she now very occasionally writes for the sometimes-blog The NDM. In her spare time, she enjoys baking cakes, cyber-hassling advertising executives and collecting photos of unusual objects made out of paperclips. She’s now officially on holidays, suckers!