By Terri White
Paperwork: you either love it or hate it. There’s no middle ground. My mother-in-law enjoyed a lifelong love affair with paperwork – the perfect secretary. Me? Tar and feather me first, thank you very much.
What do you mean paperwork, Terri? In this computer era, we store data electronically. True. Nevertheless, check out the attic at any dentist or doctor’s office. You’ll find dozens of boxes of paperwork stored due to government or insurance mandates.
At any school, business, church, charity, or government office, file cabinets still bulge with papers. Every day, copy machines churn out announcements, schoolwork, invitations, workbooks, fliers, posters, and more. Just stop by an office supply store to spot the paper mountain in their copy department.
Inevitably, hard copies, as we call them these days, worm their way into our homes, which need storing. Do you randomly throw them in a drawer? Or do you fastidiously catalog them like a librarian? And those receipts! Yikes! Will the IRS demand a look-see?
We are surrounded by a sea of paperwork. This, in addition to the volumes of electronic data floating in the air.
By definition, then, paperwork includes all electronic data: typing documents, filling out forms online, paying bills with an app, navigating ‘patient portals’, purchasing online items, paying employees, and filling out those dreaded IRS forms. The list proves endless - one that could stop a train.
Recently, after our T.E.A.C.H. registration, I piled all the registration forms on my kitchen table. In the good news department, there were a lot of them, which makes my teachers happy. In the bad news department, I – who would rather hang by my toenails than sort through forms – must attend to them. Never one to procrastinate, I rolled up my sleeves and plowed in. Get ‘er done.
My registration volunteers had stapled all the docs together per student. Perfect. Now to make sure that the parents filled out the forms correctly. The dot-every-i-and-cross-every-t-process that hurts my brain. Mind-numbing. Tedious. Exhausting. But as the buck-stopper at T.E.A.C.H., I can’t avoid it.
After two days of updating forms, examining forms, printing new forms, filing forms, making phone calls, and checking, checking, checking, I finished, satisfied with my results.
Oh, to hire a secretary! However, then I’d have to pay her. Then I’d have to raise our fees - which I refuse to do. With these gas and food prices? Ahhh, no. I’ll take the hit and grind through purgatory instead. But now I need a massage.