Friday, August 7, 2009

An insight into my daily grind and my first (sorta) soapbox.

Where have I been? Not blogging, obviously :) It is CRAZY TOWN at our house (slash / 5th wheel...). But really my non-blogging has stemmed from the fact that it's also been CRAZY TOWN at work lately.

Why, you might wonder? Well my job has a certain "busy" seasons. Usually it is something like this:

Spring: Busy designing, but not so bad that you can't take a week for vacation. Usually trying to get projects designed far enough so that you can leave them on the shelf for a few months during the summer. Spring is also spent prepping for construction projects.

Summer: Anyone who lives in Washington State knows that summer = ROAD CONSTRUCTION. Here in Eastern WA it's mostly paving, chip sealing, and small illumination or channelization projects. This season, we actually have some bigger things like a few rural hwy passing lanes, rock slope stabilizations, and bridge modifications. Really what that means is that no one is in the office because they are all out inspecting projects and making sure contractors dot their "i"s and cross their "t"s. 40-50-60 hours a week spent away from home and family. There is so much paperwork is required for each job! No one is in the office except for me of course because instead of getting to go outside I am stuck designing a ton of projects that have super tight timelines. Love it. Not.

Fall: Finishing up constructing different projects, including as-built drawings and tons and tons of more paperwork which is required by the Feds who likely funded the project. It all falls under public accountability - showing y'all that we are spending your tax dollars wisely. We have to document that we are doing so for when we get audited. Fall is also the time for getting projects for next summer out to Ad. This means plans, specifications, and cost estimates are advertised for public bidding by contractors. Before you can even go to Ad with a PS&E set you have to check off your list of other requirements:

Environmental (NEPA/SEPA/NPDES, Hydraulics etc)
Geotechnical (Slope recommendations)
Materials (Pavement recommendations)
Planning (Access issues)
Utilities (Relocations, franchises, lowering, raising)
Traffic (Traffic counts, traffic control plans etc)
Real Estate Services (Right of Way purchase, temp. construction easements, etc)
Public Involvement (Open houses, webpages, meetings with communities)
Program Management (Are there sufficient funds for the job? Who is funding it?)

Sound complicated? It can be. But that's what I do - aside from actual design it is my job to coordinate the other hundred things and make sure things happen according the planned scope, schedule, and budget. Theoretically that is all taken care of over the previous winter, spring and summer with help from specialty offices in all those areas.

Winter: Design, design, design. Try to check off as much from the list I just wrote out before summer hits.

Let me just go a little soapbox here. I get SO TIRED of people hearing that I work for the State and then saying "ooh, that's nice, a cushy state job where you don't actually have to work to get paid because of your Union. Blah blah blah consultants work so much harder blah blah, state workers are lazy blah blah blah..." And then they go off on their favorite tirade on which projects have inconvenienced them the most and "why the he** did you build it that way?!" etc. etc... WELL LET ME TELL YOU PEOPLE. It is no walk in the park. My job exhausts me enough mentally that when I come home at night I can't bear the thought of getting back on a computer and having to think about what I write. (Ahem, like now). I work my BOOTIE off for the taxpayers, including overtime the last 4 weeks so I don't want to HEAR IT. And while I am on a soapbox - let me just say that not all of us are against public transit so STOP lumping us all in the same category when you say "The State doesn't care about public transportation and never has." Okay my soapbox is over.

Really all I intended to say in this post is that I am sorry - I have missed writing to you all and filling y'all in on the Saugens. I like writing posts! I am sure you'd rather hear about Olaf or the building project but since this was on my mind this is what you got. Someday if you are lucky you can hear my rant about "stimulus" money/transportation projects and how effective I feel they have been, or how I am learning to get more and more frustrated by politics. Is it possible to get beat down by "the man" at such a young age of 28? This last month, I feel it is.

But in all reality, I really enjoy my job and if I have to work outside the home, I'm glad that's what I do. I am just a tad bit stressed out right now... :)

We are moving into the house tomorrow and I am not really believing it just yet... wish us luck on moving/unpacking/cleaning/
moving/cleaning and unpacking. (This is the reason for crazy town at home lately - Steve has been BUSTING it to get me into this house. Thank you hub!) We will post pictures as soon as we are all in! (And once the realization that we are in has actually sunk into our brains.)

Our guest room is open for business starting Labor Day weekend :)

LOVE, jenn.


James & Kristin said...

Sometimes you just gotta let it out! Hope work feels less stressful once you are more settled at home. You've done well to survive all this transition and change at home, much less the stress at work, without losing it, so rant and rave all you want! :) Have fun moving in! xoxo

Joanna said...

I know about busy seasons :-) I'll be thinking about you and praying for you as you're moving and finishing up your busy season. I can't wait to come stay in your guest room, though it might be a year or so :-( Love you!

Kristin said...

Here's to hoping for an easy going move!