“Find wall. Beat head against same.” It’s a phrase a friend of mine often uses when she’s feeling exceptionally frustratred, and one that was my mantra today.

It began with arriving at work to find that my key card was mysteriously non-functional. Or, well, mostly. Once I managed to get INSIDE the building (thanks to a well-timed trip from one of the janitors) all the OTHER doors responded to the flashing of my badge just fine. I could even use it to trigger the exit function of the very same door that wouldn’t let me in. (These are high-tech revolving doors, that talk to you as you travel through them. “Please step into the doorway,” they say, in the kind of tone generally reserved for children and the criminally insane. I keep expecting them to take on the properties of the doors in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and tell me to have a nice day, or thank me for stepping through them. *shudder*. Also, I live in fear of my hair getting caught in them on windy days, and me dying a dismal death by scalping and subsequent crushing by door. Not that I have a vivid imagination or anything.)

Then, I arrived at my desk to find that the doors were open. The manager on-duty apologized, explaining, “We lost one of D****’s files, and since you’re covering her desk…” I don’t keep anything terribly personal in my desk – I mean – feminine hygiene products, yeah, but those don’t count. And anyway, there’s only one man in our department – everyone else is female, but, because we’ve been so swamped, I haven’t had a chance to strip my turndowns in about six weeks, and they’re jammed into the bottom drawer in a truly frightening fashion.

Anyway, in the process of closing the drawers, there was an ominous THUMP and I turned to find that three files had slipped behind the drawers to plummet to the floor. It took three people, two screwdrivers, and the assistance of a security guard to rescue the files, which, of course, were the one’s I’d left on TOP of the drawers (inside, lest we violate security) to take to underwriting first thing.

Three hours later, I felt like Michel from Gilmore Girls on one of his worst days. It seemed every stupid person in the industry was on the other end of my phone. “Hi I faxed a file an hour ago; do you have stips yet?” Um no. It takes at least 24 hours, and you didn’t send an appraisal. “I have a file with an open chapter 13 and only one active tradeline in good standing. Can we get an exception for not meeting minimum credit, and also go to 100% LTV, on a purchase?” Can you READ your underwriting manual? We don’t even do open bk’s on REFIs, and they haven’t managed to handle ANY credit without lates.

I went to lunch, more to get away for a bit than because I was hungry. The restorative properties of freshly grilled salmon and steamed broccoli with soy and wasabi are amazing, by the way. Feeling almost perky, I returned to the chaos of our department, and, while, admittedly I did bring my lunch back because I’d already taken fifteen minutes to get it, and couldn’t afford even that much of a break, the afternoon went a little better.

Well, until a rep from a city on the east coast decided I was the cause of all problems with his loans. I don’t even handle his region. But, yeah, whatever.

And then the afternoon mail came. More files. We’re already working on half-staff because of training. We have only two underwriters on the floor, because THEY’re in training, and our ops support folks are ALSO in training, well, those who aren’t bailing from the department like rats fleeing a sinking ship.

In addition to all this, we’ve got the spectre of being called to work on Saturday hanging over our heads. Around three, the regional VP came out to the floor and said we had 43 files left to process. One of my teammates asked if we could just stay late and finish. VP said it would be voluntary, but he was game if we were. Six of us stuck around til 8:30, trading files at the end, so that we’d all finish at about the same time. None of us will walk into work tomorrow with nothing to do, but at least there won’t be rollover.

At nine-fifteen, I was finally home, and sipping a cold Becks dark with dinner (Boston Market, because I refuse to cook on days like this, and anyway, we’ve both been putting in so many hours we haven’t bothered to shop) and at ten I was lying on the bed trying to decide if I had the energy to shower. I napped a while, tried to resurrect my Zen Micro (it’s stopped allowing transfers, even after updating Win Media Player and the firmware of the actual device), and now, an hour after I should have been sleeping, I’m venting to my blog, so I CAN sleep with a clear head.

Find wall.
Beat head against same.

Some days, this seems like the best advice ever.