Friday, May 21, 2010

Dull Days as a Government Employee

There isn't much to blog about with New Job. Today I only saw two people total at work: a receptionist who found an inter-office envelope for me to send some forms to HR and an undergrad (come to think of it, he may be recently graduated) who I share an office with.

Probably the most exciting thing that happened to me today was that I discovered the existence of TuneR, an R-package that allows one to do statistical analyses on audio files.

I spent a disproportionate amount of time today filling out completely useless paperwork to get officially hired by the university*. HR sent me a nine-page form where I had to list every job I've had in the past 10 years, every educational institution I've attended, the last two places that I've lived, all of my relatives who are state employees, and every job I've had with a state or federal agency. This is amazingly uselessly awesome because I have been working for this university for the past seven years, so they know most of this information already. Although I never had to fill out any forms when I was first hired, so maybe they have just developed a love for forms. Maybe this is how the university justifies its institutional overhead.

And then I spent more of today downloading e-books in PDF form. I discovered that an awesome series of Springer books is available as full-text PDF through the library website, so I downloaded over 3000 pages worth of books that are really and actually related to what I do for my job. Not that I will be reading over 3000 pages worth of books, but with the awesome full-text search capabilities of e-books, I will be able to find information I need that much more quickly.

I also returned my key to the math department to Lock & Key Services. While I will miss my nice office a little bit, what I will really miss is access to the work room. Located there is the awesome scanning photocopier with a sheet-feeder that would allow one to turn any document into a PDF with ease. (I had considered walking over to the math department to scan the HR forms and emailed them back instead of sending them through campus mail.) Also in that room is the supply cabinet, with an endless array of red pens, envelopes of different sizes, and all the chalk you would ever need. The record-keeping at Lock & Key services is so bad. They said that I had two keys to the math building -- to two different offices. I'm pretty sure that when I moved offices that I exchanged keys at Lock & Key. But after I insisted that I didn't have the second key, they updated their records to show that I didn't have a second key.

*Even though I have a desk at a federal facility 30 miles from the university, technically I am employed by the university, as the money that funds my position is through an NSF grant to the university, and the PI is nominally affiliated with the university to a minor extent for grant-writing purposes.