Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Preparing for my upcoming maternity leave...

In preparation from my maternity leave, which will extend from mid to late May until late August, I've been a busy bee preparing work assignments so that I won't be behind come fall. One of the items on my to-do list is to prepare a "help document" for the one tutorial that I coordinate for the library. I handle it mostly solo, and it's actually a graduation requirement for undergraduates here, so it's important that someone is able to adequately cover the duty for me while I'm off. There are lots of little content and administrative nuances. It's nice to feel needed. :)

At any rate, I started the document on Monday and thought it would be fairly easy. I prepared a list of frequently asked questions and scoured my mind to be sure I had put everything down I thought would need answering while I as off. When I was satisfied that I'd thought of everything, I started constructing answers to the questions. I was optimistic that it would take me 2 days to finish tops, and that included editing and formatting. I'm sure you can see where this is going.

Well. I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised, but this sucker has taken on a life of it's own. I'm almost afraid to open it each morning for fear it may drain some life blood from me. "Pregnancy brain" is affecting me pretty heavily these days, and this project was no exception. I was typing along happily when I realized that I needed to add another question. And then another one. And then another one. Microsoft Word's automatic numbering feature is recalcitrant to work with under normal circumstances let alone when I'm pregnant and extra prone to be testy. If I wanted to add a question up in an area where I'd already completed some work and added subsequent subsections, Word was not cooperating. At one point, I swear it gave me the finger.

I was finally *approaching* the bottom of my list when I realized that I'd predictably forgotten about at least a half dozen other things and the entire document was going to have to be re-organized. I took it in stride, figuring I could add the content now and try to do a total overhaul of the format later, so that then the questions would flow in a logical order. This made me feel better until I realized that some of the things I'd "remembered" to add had actually already been covered above, and I could simply modify the previous entries. Why is this bad?

I used to be a practicing attorney, and my training hasn't totally been expunged from my memory or habits. Pretty soon, I found that not only did my sections have subsections, but my subsections suddenly had sub-subsections. The first time I wrote:

"...for instructions on this variation, please see #6(d)(iii)..."

I knew I was out of my cotton pickin' mind. I mean, SERIOUSLY. I'm a LIBRARIAN, and I work with OTHER LIBRARIANS. We're a peaceful, introverted lot. There's no need to be so anal about this.

But I can't help it. I'm now plotting a table of contents with subheadings to organize things by main topic and logical flow. Maybe I can even place internal links with anchors so that they can jump right to the needed question and answer?

Someone rescue me. Especially if I try to use the words supra or infra in context. And if I never see an id again, it will be too soon.

EDITED TO ADD: I've reached a new low. I just added a sub-sub-subheading. Kill me now.

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