Taking a break + jewelry heists + the smiley face
May I recommend
Taking a break.
This is something I’m a big fan of. For more than a year I’ve been in a tough and stressful job. Wait just one second, Amy. You work in an archives. How stressful can it actually be? What, your old books are are getting older? You got in trouble for talking too loud? The paper cuts?
First of all, questions 1 and 2 refer to library, not archival, stereotypes, which just shows your ignorance (though we have really old books and silence IS encouraged in the reading room) and to your third point, paper cuts can be really flipping painful.
At any rate, I do hear you. For most of my career when I got stressed or panicked about work, I would remind myself that the only real archival emergencies were floods and fires, everything else would get sorted out. (ha ha - “sorted out” and I’m an archivist - inadvertent pun). Since May 2020, however, I have been in charge of about 65 people, leading them through the pandemic and trying to get them all back into the office as early as July 2020 because the work they do is both legislated, time-sensitive and requires actually looking at old paper records at the archive. That in itself was challenging, but combine it with the fact that this job was often under a lot of scrutiny from the public, oversight bodies and lawyers (oh, the lawyers!) and that it was all entirely new to me and I can confirm that it was stressful.
I don’t complain about my job stress lightly either, because one of my many talented sisters happens to be a doctor… who has done Doctors Without Borders stints in Darfur and Syria and the really shady part of Pakistan. Of course, she hasn’t been doing that work during the Pandemic, what with all of the travel restrictions. No, instead, she’s been chilling out as an Emergency Room doctor.
Amy, was this whole post just an excuse to brag about your sister? Yes. Absolutely. Did you read the part about how she’s gone to Darfur? How she was an emergency room doctor during the Goddamn pandemic? You better BELIEVE I am bragging.
Anyway, back to admitting you’re stressed. Early on in my new job, I realised that my team was super super dedicated and that this was going to be a problem. We had a mountain of work to do and people were coming in day after day, dealing with stressful and uncertain circumstances without taking any time off. This during the pandemic, while they were homeschooling their kids, worrying about their parents and freaking out about a global virus. I constantly encouraged them to take breaks, but no dice. Finally, I started modelling it.
I took sick days and clearly told everyone on my team they were “mental health” breaks. (And yes, I totally acknowledge how lucky I am to have sick days). I booked vacation days and told the division it was because I needed to recharge (again, very thankful for my vacation time. And to be clear, it was a pandemic, so I didn’t actually go anywhere. The vacation was just not logging into work). When things were getting quite stressful in the spring, I started to use our Employee Assistance Program, and I mentioned that in a divisional meeting, encouraging all employees to use it, either for work-related stuff, personal things or just general pandemic What-The-Fuck-ery. Most days I didn’t work past 5pm. I didn’t check my emails on weekends. The few occasions when I did work over a Saturday because of something particularly pressing or complex, I made sure I didn’t send emails to people during that time, but saved them all up to go out on Monday.
Staff still didn’t take as many breaks or leave as early as I thought they should, but no one burned out either, and I’m proud of that. Instead, it’s me who is done. I am once again modelling (I hope) stress management behaviour. Although I had the option of staying on in the position until January, I know that I am done and I’m returning to a less stressful) job.
I had the management team over to my house for our first ever in-person meeting this week. They gave me a little hostessing present - a calendar desk set. They said they bought it because the message on the back. I am pretty happy.
In the spirit of this newsletter post, I am taking the next two weeks off! Look for the next issue of Méli-Mélo in your inbox on September 4th.
Remember, if you're missing my content and all those HILARIOUS tiktoks, check out my archived entries - they go all the way back to January!
My novel, THE HONEYBEE EMERALDS, follows the twisted history of a gorgeous diamond and emerald necklace, so I love stories about fabulous jewels and the crazy things people to do get them.
Police wouldn't allow him through to survey the damage, but Syndram didn't need to go inside to understand what had happened. He knew—better than anybody—what the thieves had been after. The window led to the so-called Green Vault, a glittering repository of 3,000 of the most precious royal treasures in Europe: gemstone-studded sculptures, ornate ivory cabinets, miniature dioramas, massive diamonds, and hundreds of other rare objects of enormous cultural significance—much of the trove commissioned or acquired by the early-18th-century monarch Augustus II, nicknamed Augustus the Strong, who socked it all away in his sprawling Residenzschloss, or Royal Palace, on the Elbe River.
A deep dive into the smiley face
I definitely am
Anyway, the yellow smiley face has become a symbol of unbridled consumerism. It was invented in 1963 as a cheap way to improve the morale of State Mutual Life Assurance Company workers, then licensed to a company that, by 2017, was making £300m from it annually. It’s gross.
If you’re feeling shoppy
This is a good thread of little household gadgets that people swear by
I got a plastic tofu press that is just the size of a block of firm tofu (brand is tofuture - maybe there are others like it), and I am very happy not to have the mess and clutter of stacking pans and cans and tea towels and whatever other hack we've tried.
I’d been vaguely hearing about this, hope it works.
This woman has strong troll gam
At the gym
I’m on the neighbour’s side
This is good
This is one of my new favourites
This is how I feel about running