08 October 2008

"Patience is the Greatest of All Virtues."

So said a semi-famous dead guy.

Why is it that patience always seems to elude me?

I have no problem dealing with life's trials and difficulties. I realize that tribulation is part of the dues one pays to life a full, rich life. In short, without the bad, you can't have the good, and I acknowledge and accept that fact.

However, I severely lack patience. I don't like waiting. I expect results instantaneously, or at least quickly enough to gain satisfaction from the ordeal in the first place. When things, even things that are clearly going to be issues, do not go smoothly, I get frustrated. The more frustrated I get, the more irritated I get, and then we just get an annoyed KtMac with no patience in sight.

What is patience? According to Merriam-Webster, it is the act of being patient. Patient, evidently means:
1: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
: manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
: not hasty or impetuous
: steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity

Ahh! Dear reader, really, when you read the Merriam-Webster definition of patient, do I cross your mind as meeting any of those possibilities? I think not.

Which is why it is a challenge of mine this year to find ways to remain calm, and even-tempered when I encounter opposition, difficulty or adversity. Some days are much better than others. But then again, the days my patience is most likely to be tested are the days I need to work on keeping it.

Like today.

Y'all know my work deals with a bureaucratic organization. Details are unnecessary in this blog. Accurate, complete details are a must in my particular position. In fact, my job is to ensure that accurate, complete details have been given and are always current. If not, I have full permission to rain fury and thunderstrikes upon the fools who did not provide the full details. (Well, not quite to that extent, but you get the idea.)

However, I frequently am dealing with people and parts spread out, literally, across the globe. This a) makes details even more crucial, and b) makes for more than one test of patience when key details go missing.

On Monday, I was informed that a very key point was missing from quite a large group of data. I was not surprised because this particular data group has been the one with issue after issue in the conversion process I've previously mentioned. However, to track down that key point for each data item, I need a name and a number of a person to call and "discuss this delinquency" with. No big deal, right? Our conversion process is complete and the wonderful new system should make it easy to enter the data I do have into a search to find a name and number to contact. At the very least, I just need a name....I'm smart enough to figure out how to contact the person.

No go.

I do not yet have enough experience with the new wonderful program to know how to make it do what I want. Normally, since time, as always, is a concern, I would have just taken the back-door and looked up the information on the old system. However, I'm locked out of the old system until next week while the end-of-the-fiscal-year computations are completed (I have nothing to do with those....every user of the system is locked out across the board).

Instead, I spent yesterday trying to teach myself how to find what I am looking for. I tried tricks. I hacked my way back into the lessons I took (I even tried going over the lessons again today, hoping a fresh eye might catch something). I talked it out to myself (my coworker and I really do need to devise a signal or something to let the other know when we're talking to ourselves out loud). Finally, I cried uncle. I emailed the helpdesk.

Now, with the old system that we just converted from, the helpdesk was wonderful. They would respond within an hour, even if just to say "Hey, we got the problem - we'll get back when we have a solution," and almost always, they solved the problem by the end of the working day.

Can't quite say the same yet about the helpdesk for the new system. It's new to me and my client, but it's been around for a while now, so the helpdesk isn't new. As of quitting time today, more than 24 hours after my initial flag for help went in, I still have not yet received a response.

I know I can call one or two other people, but, a) this is something I'm going to have to do more than once, so I might as well learn it, and b) I hate asking people to do my job. So I tried, all day, to keep my patience as the hours ticked by without a response. I tried to distract myself, I tried to discover a new technique I hadn't tried yet, and I tried to not curse inefficient bureaucracies while I tried to figure out why it seems someone in charge is hell-bent on teaching me to be patient this year.

At the end of the day, I can say I didn't lose my temper. For me, that counts as keeping my patience. Now tomorrow? New day, fair game as far as I'm concerned, when it comes to staying patient.

1 comment:

Mirabelle said...

I lack any and all patients, so amen to this posting.