Time & Toledo

Managing my time here in the office is not too difficult; the pace of work in Spain is not the fastest – certainly slower than the United States.

When I arrive at work at 10am there are usually two or maybe only one person in the office. Work does not really begin until 10:30 at the earliest. I work in a small office with five women. They love to talk about what they did the previous night and how everyone is doing. They have all worked here for years and they each really enjoy their time together. When the chit-chat is over they slowly begin to work. I usually sit, listen, and talk a little bit with them before beginning work.

When work finally begins, I continue with my one major project at the moment: creating an inventory management system. This project is mainly based in excel. What I have done so far is relatively straight forward. I have gone to every storage unit in both hostels and hand counted each thing they have in stock. I then put each of those items in an excel sheet, each under the header of their respective room. The accountant then gave me all of the costs and prices for each of the items and I then put each corresponding unit and can/bottle price with each product. After all the prices have been entered I created a check within the file to show when there should be a reorder of an item, how many days it will take to deliver and the quantity of each item. What I am going to do now is learn the bar system of inventory and a human resource project.

Furthermore, my main project is creating the inventory management system – that is my first priority. While I am not specifically told to complete a task I am refining the system and making improvements. When the boss, Mayte, tells me to do something, I stop what I am doing and help her with whatever she needs. For example, the other day they needed help making a poster for the front of the hostel. The poster was in english and they wanted a native speaker to look over it before it was sent out. There were multiple spelling errors and phrases that did not make too much sense. I told them what needed to be changed, made a final check over the poster and approved it to be sent out. After giving the approval I went back to the inventory system.  When they are quick and easy tasks I have no problem stepping away from my project and giving my assistance right away. It becomes harder to understand what they want when they assign two larger projects.

Today they assigned me to create an organizational chart of the hierarchy of everyone working in the hostel. Here in Spain they do not give much of a structure when assigning projects. My boss says “do this, this is the way I want it”. She gives no more direction after telling me what she expects, no timeline, or if I should make this my main priority. I now have to read in between the lines to guess when she wants it by and if she expects the inventory system to be complete before the organizational chart.

How I am going to attack this is simple, go as intense and as fast as I can to complete the chart of the workers. Hopefully I can have that completed by the end of the day. I will not work on the inventory system unless otherwise told. I assume the latest thing she asks for is the most important and considering she does not ask too often about the inventory system, I assume she expects that to take a week or two.

If the workplace was more structured, then managing my time would be a little easier. However, with the mañana style of work they practice here in Spain it is hard at times to understand the timeline of an completed project. The laid back style also has the benefit of low stress and not worrying too much about the pace in which you finish the task at hand. So far I have not gotten any complaints on the completion of the projects and I do not anticipate a problem in the future.