September 1st, 2005

poor me

(no subject)

Okay, this is just petty.

This is what I have to deal with when I am in creative *fevor*.

In my email box!


I am so persecuted.
version one, frog love


chopchica negotiated a cessation of hostilities.

For now.

*hugs everyone who emailed gleefully* Y'all rock. Seriously.

She's going to do something *spectacular* to get me for this one.

*still grinning, triumphant*

That I just wrote above? It's so waving a red flag, isn't it?
children of dune - leto 1


This isn't about Katrina.

Yesterday, our office got the scouting party version of the Katrina escapees who ended up in Austin. Houston is getting the huge group from Louisiana stadium, but apparently, designated shelters have been set up throughout the state, including a rumor of a fairly large one in San Antonio.

So yesterday, it was twenty five of them, today eighty-two. That isn't a lot, comparatively speaking, to say, Houston or Dallas--it just doubled our current workload and we pulled trainers and supervisors into active interviewing--that was fun, because most haven't interviewed in a *decade*. Except we got freaked at the realization that Houston's office would be dealing with *thirty thousand*, at a minimum, nto counting the people who aren't part of that bulk group.

To give you an idea--there is an average of twenty-thirty interviewing workers per office in a city above about a 100,000. Even with our drastically shortened protocol--and I mean, right now, disaster protocol is basically having an ID to get benefits--you can't do more than two to four an hour, at *best*. Houston has, in all its offices, at best, one hundred to one hundred fifty people who can approve benefits. That is if we pull *everyone* from doing *anything else*, including normal certifications and recertifications, childrne's medicaid, supplemental nutritional programs, all the multiple Medicaids that don't fall under elderly and disabled, not to mention the people who work on elderly foodstamp certification.

To recap this--in teh entire state, we have probably less than three thousand people who are capable of distributing benefits, and almost all of them are doing the work of two people right now, just to keep the system relatively stable as is. And I really, realy, really have no idea how we're going to do this. To be honest, I'm not sure we have enough computers to do it. I'm not sure the computers can run as much as they might need to, since as of today, overnight processing has been suspended and possibly the mandatory back-ups as well. And well, the state buys sucky computers.

So, the Commissionner has set two things into effect. One, all Katrina escapees get same day service, so we do shut our doors until the last one is certified, which according to what I heard over the grapevine, was processing went on until nine last night at some offices. Second, Saturday and Monday are now workdays. We aren't required to come in. We are just encouraged to do so if necessary. Same policy on same day service applies.

No one refused. No one even *winced*.

I'm proud of my agency right now. I mean, not the Commissioner or the upper levels of the bureaucracy. It's easy to make a rule when you don't have to deal with it later.

I'm proud of my *people*, my coworkers, who were still working when I left at six-fifteen to get the Lone Star cards out and instructing clients where to go to use them. I'm proud because if they had to, they were there until nine last night and came in at seven this morning. I'm proud because doing two to three interviews an hour is *murderous*, and they did it for eight hours straight and some skipped lunch to keep going to keep up our current workload and intergrate the extra people in. I'm proud because the first thing they did when they heard what Houston would have to deal with was to *make sure they'd been designated as volunteers*, so if they were needed, they'd be ready to go. I'm so proud that when I walked by offices today, they were talking to every escapee, letting them talk out whatever they'd gone through, and that they didn't watch the clock for the end of the day, when half the people in this office aren't even eligible for their own jobs come January.

I can't name them, and they'd probably *step on me* if I tried to express to them how utterly amazed I am that they can keep up this pace and be perfectly calm when looking to a weekend that won't be free, because I don't think a single one sees this as anything other than their duty, their--vocation. They're employees of the state, and for them, this is what they *do*, what we are, what we're trained to do, now just to do a lot of it very, very, very fast.

I'm not sure if they'll be remembered, so I thought here, I'd remember for them.
happy snail

and this is why i never, ever forget what i do can be amazing

Okay, this is something I'm not sure how to share the right way. It's personal and it's work related, so I'm going to try adn do this right, because I will say honestly that this is the second time in two days that I wanted to cry.

About two weeks ago, I interviewed a recently unemployed woman who was caring for her children and I think grandchild (this was about fifty-five interviews ago). I certified her for benefits and we were talking and she used to work for another agency a long time ago and I said, well, you should work for us.

Now--my clients are--most of them are burned out. It's like--it's like, some light went out of them. And I'm not anyone's idea of a beacon of hope, but I was talking to her, really *talking*, because weirdly enough, she *wanted*, and I told her about the temp jobs openings in the agency, the same job I have. It's only six months, but it's a good way to get into the agency. I printed out the job and the website, and I think an app, adn then I forgot, because I do this a lot.

Today, while upfront, I saw a familiar woman, but I was working on something else, and then she comes over and says, Jenn?

And I kind of blink and then she says, with this huge grin, like she just couldn't wait to tell me...

She says, I got the job.

Tonight's a lot of catharsis, I think.