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Stressful times

How do you de-stress? Especially during work?

I’m usually pretty good about not letting work get to me – at least not from 5pm to 8am. But lately I’m finding it more and more challenging, especially during the work day.

I sorta kinda got in trouble this week for putting in too much unauthorized overtime. Which is fair because I should have asked permission and I knew that but also when I am deep in a file it can be hard to stop what I am doing to message my manager and see if it is ok if I keep working. And I DO NOT work for free.

And honestly I had note realized I was working that much.

We have certain SLAs (service level agreements) to meet. A new file should be reviewed within 48 hours – I personally try to keep it at 24 when I can but I don’t work over time to hit 24. But if I am staring down 48 hours and I haven’t touched it, yeah – I might skip lunch or work a little late.

And recently we were told we had to answer all emails within 2 hours which somehow translated to me receiving over 100 emails a day. Seriously. It’s been out of control lately.

Let’s do some basic math. If I conservatively average 100 emails over the course of 8 hours (we will pretend that they are evenly spread out throughout the entire day), that’s 12.5 emails an hour.

Now most emails require some form of research in order to properly answer. That means getting in and out of files, reviewing documents, and typing a response. Again, conservatively let’s say it takes 5 minutes per email – sure some might be faster but most will take longer but this is pretend anyway, right? So 5 minutes per email times 12.5 emails per hour is….62.5 minutes.

There are only 60 minutes in an hour.

If I get 100 emails and take an average of 5 minutes to properly respond to each email, that is 500 minutes or 8.333 hours of work a day. Of an 8 hour work day.

And that is only answering emails.

Think I am inflating the number of emails I get a day? I’m not, but even if you cut that number in half, I still would spend over 4 hours a day just responding to emails.

So in the other 4 hours a day I am supposed to do a new file review (best case scenario if I have a perfect unicorn file that’s an hour. More commonly 2-3 depending on the degree of difficulty). And update my other files. And follow up on the borrowers that aren’t emailing me. And tracking down title or verifications of employment or appraisals. Oh! And don’t forget we have at least one processor meeting a week – that’s always an hour out of the day.

And training. We have constant online training that we have to do every quarter plus the companywide trainings that occur at least once a month.

I’m not complaining. Not really. I like being busy. What I don’t like is being overwhelmed.

And I understand why we have certain SLAs because not everyone can self regulate and having SLAs keeps it more uniform – ideally.

But for someone like me, that already has a difficult time ignoring emails while working on a file, this 2 hour response time has been the proverbial straw for me.

It doesn’t help that I have had some exceptionally challenging files lately. No two files are alike and even when you do get an easy one something can go wrong at the last minute. I recently had an easy file – I think it was clear to close two weeks early. At the last minute – like the day before closing – borrower decided to try to re-negotiate his interest rate. It didn’t close.

That’s the worst. I get paid a bonus per CLOSED file. It is in my best interest to close as many loans as possible every month. I bust my butt working to meet tight timelines and get things done. So when a file doesn’t close, it hurts.

Maybe not physically. But definitely fiscally.

Also work comes in waves. It’s the nature of the business. I might go a day or two with no files assigned to me and then some days get 4 files assigned to me. For several days in a row.

This is why we never complain when there is a lull.

And every loan officer is different.

I currently have 13 files in my pipeline for a specific branch. The loan officers require a lot of attention. And they send a LOT of emails. And IMs. And phone calls. If I only had those loans it wouldn’t be a problem but I have 12 other files that get neglected because that branch understands that the noisier they are the more attention they get.

It's not a pretty system. But it works. At least for those making the most noise.

Its all part of the job. I get that. And it doesn't help that it feels like they keep piling on new procedures or tasks for the processors. Here's more work to do on top of your actual work but you can't have any extra time to do it all.

And I know what's going on in the rest of the world is certainly contributing to my stress tolerance.

Fucking Covid. Fucking anti-vaxxers. I was feeling cocky - we've been vaccinated. But we weren't always wearing a mask in public anymore. Especially if it wasn't required. But then my fully vaccinated friends started getting sick. And even a "mild" case of Covid sucks and puts you out of commission for a couple of weeks.

I have friends with cancer that cannot get vaccinated. One of them has a child attending public school. She said every day she gets another report of Covid in the school or his class. And she told me now she's had a fever for 2 days. This is in Hutto.

BTW this friend works from home and has been on pretty hardcore lockdown since the beginning. Because of her health. And now she may have Covid and without vaccination I am very worried about her.

*Just confirmed. She does have Covid.

Then there's my friend Brandi. Her mom collapsed the other day and was taken to the ER. The hospital couldn't admit her because there was no room at the inn. Mom isn't sick with Covid but she's got liver issues and she can't get the help she needs right now because the hospital is full of unvaccinated Covid patients. Last I heard they were treating her in the lobby. She's sick and scared and is only allowed a brief visitor once every 24 hours. And this is in Carrollton.

Another friend just lost her younger sister to Covid. She was in the hospital for 11 days and leaves behind an 11 year old and 18 year old. She was a single mom. My heart is breaking for her girls. This was in Florida.

Bernie gets it.

I feel so helpless. I can't help my friends. The best I can do is put us back in lockdown as much as possible. Wear a mask when I am out in public. Get my booster as soon as I am able.

And it makes me so mad because the vaccine is FREE. It's so easy to get now - I don't think you even have to wait for it anymore. And even if the willingly unvaccinated don't get it - which only makes them think they are right - they can still pass it along to someone else. Maybe someone that can't get vaccinated.

It felt like we were so close to normal. But I guess we weren't. Please take care of yourself. If you aren't vaccinated, please please PLEASE do it if you can.

I'm selfish. I want all my friends to be here and be healthy. Because I don't want a world without you in it.

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