Friday, July 25, 2003

A Day On the New Job

7:45 a.m. Arrive at work. Boss not in yet, or at least his door is closed. Not that it matters anyway – he is willing to leave me to my own devices. I’m not entirely sure yet if this is a good or a bad thing. Coming from an environment recently where I had to ask permission to blow my nose, I feel like a bit of seaweed – afloat yes, but also drifting rather aimlessly. My own devices up to this point have included trying to figure out what my day to day tasks should be. I have eliminated daily web shopping and bidding as an option since spending more online in the past 7 days than I have in several months via that venue. At any rate, it’s probably a bad habit to get into – that of checking boss’ office door for arrival times. It’s a leftover neurotic tendency from the old job where my only goal was to get in before my psychotic manager did, with the reasoning of creating the illusion of getting in before her so that I could leave before her and she would think that I had put in a full day’s work. This was complete foolishness on my behalf, though, because it never mattered what time I got in – she always left before me anyway. She was pretty strictly a 9 to 4, out the door kind of gal. With a two hour lunch thrown in for good measure.

7:46 Log onto email. Yay! Four new emails. Let’s see – one from the “word a day” daily mailer I subscribe to; one from my old job that I don’t need anymore, but open and read anyway to feel some sort of connectedness to people, because I certainly don’t here with the ice-water-in-veins group of people I work with; one from yesterday from a friend with updated web page info; and one from the VP of the entire division I work in with an invitation to a Town Hall meeting that I won’t be here for anyway.

7:47 Email checking complete, trek to kitchen to fill water bottle.

7:48 Return to desk. Check email again.

7:49 Nothing new on the email front, so open my web browser and settle in for a long day of on-line window shopping, TWoP reading and news updates.

7:54 In an effort to prolong each activity so that I can endure to the 4:45 mark (quittin’ time), begin interlacing web reading activities with giving myself a manicure. Inspect cuticles. File nails. Snip leftover bits of skin from cuticles not already removed from yesterday’s web browsing manicure activities.

8:10 Office mates begin arriving. I use the term “mate” very loosely – that would imply that I actually know and speak to these people. I don’t. There are two people who sit on the other side of my cubicle wall in the next aisle who I have not yet met. I know what one of them looks like, only because I’ve met her before, but haven’t been officially introduced to her since arriving at this location. It’s really unnecessary, at this point, to meet either one of them, as I know them already through their conversations with each other and on the phone. I also know what their office responsibilities are and who they interact with.

As sad as it is that I haven’t really had any serious interaction yet with these people who are part of my group, the eavesdropping on their lives reassures me that they’re just as not-busy at work as I am not. The majority of their time is spent on dealing with medical insurance issues, garage door opening issues, paying bills on the phone, and making vacation plans. It really is a good thing that I am not a malicious person by nature (only in my mind), because I now know their addresses, home phone numbers and social security numbers.

They really do need to do something about sound-proofing these cubicle walls. Or putting me back into solitary confinement. The bonus that solitary confinement offers is the ability to play internet games without feeling like my every move is being watched by the girl who sits kitty-corner behind me across the aisle, or anyone who walks down the aisle who can peer in and see my monitor. The way these cubes are configured, there is no good way to position my workstation to avoid prying eyes.

10:30 Begin to notice that I am ravenously hungry. Decide to finally do some real work to try and speed the time up until I can acceptably go to lunch.

10:35 Get sidetracked from doing real work by the ragged cuticle on my middle finger, left hand. Dutifully inspect other fingers for cuticles that need trimming.

10:40 Stomach growls. I notice the beginnings of a dim yet dull headache. Decide to take some ibuprofen, but wonder if that’s wise on what appears to be an empty stomach. Weigh options of headache vs. mild stomach upset, and opt for mild stomach upset. It can be remedied soon enough as I will leave for lunch as soon as possible.

10:58 Berate self for not doing any real work yet.

11:00 Bathroom break. Notice that while the heat-activated lightener I’ve put in my hair for the past three days has, indeed done a swell job of making my hair a lovely golden blonde, it has not done so much for the few gray hairs scattered throughout my pate. If anything, it has emphasized them. Or is it just me?

11:03 Really. I have got to settle down and get some work done. This is just getting ridiculous.

11:08 I have successfully written half of an outline for a proposed document layout change. Ah! This feels good! After a morning of unstimulating activity and zero brain waves being generated, I am now ready to dive in and finish this puppy. I have been unable to ignore the growling of my stomach, so will reward myself with lunch when I am done with this outline.

11:12 It’s amazing how the incentive of food fuels my energy level and typing speed. I am almost done with the outline and it’s even an almost decent time to be able to respectably go to lunch!

11:18 As excited as I am to finally be working, I must get something to eat. I must remember to evenly space out my work, and I’m sure that I’ll be able to do something productive with the next 20 minutes of work I have left to do – after lunch.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

New Job

Yesterday was the start of my new job. It's been a long haul in the other one -- 7 1/2 years, to be exact, so I was feeling a bit trepidatious alongside the excitement of getting out of the somewhat toxic environment I've been in. It's a luxury to be in the same job for that long -- I really learned all the limits of how much I can get away with, how to give myself administrative privileges on my computer, how many hours per day of internet games I can play while still producing above acceptable volumes of work.

It was with some misgivings that I accepted the new position, but the complacency in the old one was the only reason why. Every other sign in the Magic 8 ball of life pointed to, "YES! Take this job, you dolt! Run, get out while you can!"

Yesterday was the typical slow start to a new job, as they, well, we -- start to figure out exactly what my responsiblities will be. There's nothing concrete or set in stone, as it's a new position. They have a general idea, but as far as the specifics, those will evolve over time.

I spent the morning getting settled in -- carting boxes from my car and moving stuff into my new cube. I didn't have a new ID badge for parking and access to the building, which I needed. There's a lobby on my floor, and in order to get into the work area, you need an ID badge that this security system recognizes. That's all fine and good, but the bathrooms are outside of the locked area! Whenever I had to go, I had to call the admin assistant to buzz me back in. I felt like a fourth grader getting a bathroom pass.

My cube, though tastefully beige and taupe, as opposed to the dingy purple / gray that I've been in, is in the middle of a bunch of other cubes. My old one was rather isolated and off by itself, with a really loud air blower (not "conditioner," just "blower." That's all it did. Kind of. Well, not really. But it acted like it wanted to fulfill the measure if its creation!) above it that sounded like airplanes taking off and landing. It did a good job of tricking me into thinking that no one else could hear any of my conversations, it was so volumous. Being in the middle of an aisle, in the middle of a row of cubes, in the middle of the floor, I'm aware of every cough, sniffle and slurp that people make. I'm very self-conscious now of the noises I make, and am hyper-aware that my every word on the phone, etc., can be heard. I have to be very careful in my internet usage these days, as my trying-to-stifle-the-giggles giggle can sometimes come out sounding like a combination snore, amputated sneeze and a bad head cold all at once.

My new chair is very different than what I'm used to -- I have one of those meshy ones with a tall back. My old one was set such that I could lean over the back of it and crack my back, but with this one, I fear I will never be able to crack my back over the back of my chair again! And I can't figure out how to get my chair from leaning ALL the way back. I feel like I'm going to fall over! I see the levers, but they don't really do anything when I move them. As I tried to adjust them yesterday, I kept leaning back to see if the adjustment was doing anything. This chair leans so far back, that I felt as though it was going to pitch me out and into a back flip.

While amusing, the Russian judge did not think I was the epitome of grace and balance in my newfound sport of office gymnastics, and I only got a 7.54 from him. Tightwad. Probably helped the French ice skating judge in last year's winter olympics.

When I got in and found my cube, the first thing I noticed was the new chair. "Oh, goody!" I thought, as I tried it out. It wasn't two minutes later that my new boss walked by to make sure I had found my new digs. I felt a little foolish bouncing around as opposed to earnestly doing important things. "Oh, hi! Just bouncing around in my new chair! Look at me! I'm cool! I have a new job and bouncy chair!"

What a dork. But my life wouldn't be my life without a large degree of dorkiness thrown into the mix.