Wednesday, November 6, 2013

People, money, work and life

There are few things I detest more than dealing with money, especially other people's money.  Of course, what is one of things that I get to deal with in my current job?  Other people's money.  Ugh.

I don't write the checks. I process the forms to send to the treasurer who then writes the checks.  It's a multi-step process that seems clumsy at times and gets frustrating.  Some requests arrive in the mail, some are emailed.  If mailed I get to scan and compile the requests into a single document.  Some are emailed with one part being a PDF and another being a word doc.  Compiling all of those into a single document means cutting and pasting (if the cut and paste looks clear enough) but if that fails then I get to turn on the laptop computer, put all the files on a thumb drive, transfer them over to the laptop, open Adobe Acrobat and combine them into a single PDF, put them back on the thumb drive and transfer them back to the main computer and then continue.  (You may be asking why I don't have Adobe Acrobat on the main computer.  A.  Don't have the installation CD-ROM.  B.  It's an old version and the download files aren't available.  C.  There isn't money in the budget to buy the new version.)

The next step is to double check that the expense account is listed correctly AND make sure there is money in the budget.  If any there isn't I get to go up the chain of command and say, "Ummmm...."

The current system requires the overall committee chair to sign off on check requests.  Many people just send me the requests.  If there isn't a double signature I then get to email the file to the appropriate individual and wait for them to send me the signed file back.  That can take hours or days.  I get to follow up with the individuals for the 2nd signatures if I haven't heard back from them.

This year, instead of just recording the date, payee and check amount and the date I'm sending it to the treasurer, I also get to enter the information into the budget worksheet and track the budget to-date.  If the amount is over the budget limit, I flag the request and go up the chain of command..."Ummmm...."

I then compile all the files into a single email and send them to the treasurer, or in this case the treasurer's assistant who then processes them and comes back at me with "this is wrong, what about this" and so on...I seriously don't like this part of my job.

Now, add in this fabulous fact, the treasurer changes every.year.  Every year there is someone different who does things a little differently and the whole system goes through a major adjustment period.  Last year I sent requests in weekly and they were typically paid within 10 days.  This year I send in requests on the 1st and the 15th.  Sounds easy simple and like it would work well...not so.  If someone sends in a request on the 16th and there are 31 days in the month and the 1st is on a Saturday, that means that the request languishes for 15-20 days.  Add in those individuals (ahem) that wait a month or two or three before turning in receipts and things get dicey at times.  (Newsflash, if you want to pay your credit card on the due date with the funds owed by us, you need to send the receipt in within a day of purchasing your items!)

This is one of those weeks when the s**t has hit the fan.  "Where are my checks?  Why is it taking so long?" emails have been flying.  I had to question a couple of requests, which resulted in terse email strings (beginning to SERIOUSLY dislike emails).  The tension has begun to wind through my body until I cringe when that sound plays over the speakers indicating "You've got mail" and break out in a sweat.  My stomach is cramping, I can feel the hair on my head that is not already gray turning gray and I wonder, silently, do I love this job enough to deal with this?

And there, my friends, is where I have found myself week after week for months.  Asking questions. Do I love my job enough to keep doing this? If I changed jobs, there would be other issues with other things...would I love that job enough?  What am I going to do when I grow up?  Where am I headed?  Am I just marking time after being in full time ministry?  What am I passionate about?  Do I want to just have a job for the sake of making money to pay the bills and maybe (dream on) put some away for the future that just keeps getting closer?  What is it that God has in store for me?  Am I being too dense?  Have I ignored the signs?  Am I sabotaging myself because I'm afraid of failure?

I have no answers to those questions but I do know this...I really dislike dealing with people and their money...accounting, banking, anything financial is OUT!

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