All The Rookie Moves

Goldfish jumping from one fishbowl to another.
Photo: K&J Communications

How long does it take for a new job to no longer seem new?  For the rookie on the team to no longer feel like a fish out of water? I can’t say precisely, but I know it takes more than one day.

Today was Day One in my new position, and I am exhausted. Awake half the night thanks to a wild windstorm that knocked out power to parts of the Bay Area, I dragged myself into the shower this morning… where my shower rod inexplicably collapsed. Water everywhere, wet shower curtain and liner underfoot.  This was not on my morning agenda.

My bus was late and crowded, and as I’ve previously shared, I had no badge to enter my floor in my new building. I only managed to slip in without being late on my first day, because I decided against ironing any of my clothes this morning.

I have a new job I’m really excited about – or I will be, once I can start doing it. Today was all about typical “getting settled in” stuff.  My laptop was ordered weeks ago, but has not yet arrived, so I was forced to use a loaner – which took more than 30 minutes to boot up and log on to.  This will be a daily occurrence, until the new computer shows up.

My iPhone arrived, and I spent more than three hours trying to activate it. Note the word trying here. Tomorrow, I’ll climb right back on that horse and hopefully have more success.  The experience almost makes me long for my old blackberry.  Or a Palm Pilot.  Even a Franklin Planner.

My predecessor left a pretty messy desk for me to clean, and only three of my moving boxes arrived this morning – the fourth is MIA – which means I am only partially unpacked.

I have a new office phone number for the first time in nine years, that I haven’t yet memorized, and I did not have time to set up a new voicemail message for it. I was almost successful in setting up my wireless headset, though: I can listen to conference calls, but unfortunately no one can hear a word I’m saying.

Logically, of course, I know all this will pass. By next week, my desk will be clean and organized, all my technical devices will be working properly and I won’t need to ask directions to the restroom or kitchen.  But it was incredibly frustrating to spend nine hours at work, without successfully completing even one task I started.  This must be how members of Congress feel. (Boom!)

There is some good news: I met with my new boss this morning, and discussed some high level deliverables for the rest of 2013. I have a good idea what’s expected of me, and I like that.

Even better, after work I got a haircut that turned out OK, and still had time to buy and install a shower rod. That means tomorrow, I can wake up and shower… and start the whole process all over again. I may even have time to iron.

Pray for me?

A Chunk Of Change

Photo of Von Trapp children singing "So Long, Farewell", Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music
“So Long, Farewell”, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music

Today was my last day in the division of my company that I’ve worked in for nearly 10 years. Ten years! I am looking forward to my new role doing something quite different, but it still feels strange.

I am someone who is energized by change, so I have no regrets — but personal goodbyes often throw me. And this wasn’t even a BIG goodbye, or a LONG goodbye. My new building is only a few minutes’ walk from my old one, so I can grab lunch or drinks with friends there any time – until they forget all about me, that is.

Last night, my boss generously organized a small going-away happy hour for me, and I had a subtle case of butterflies beforehand. As a rule, I don’t like being the center of attention, so that was part of it. I was also conflicted: What if tons of people showed up, and I had hours and hours of small talk ahead of me? Even worse, what if NOBODY showed up?

In the end, the group was big enough to keep the conversation flowing, yet I only had to run through my new job description once, after which I had time to stuff my face with pub food and wash it down with Newcastle Brown. I was even able to leave early enough to do laundry before crashing in my PJs, in a carb coma. And when I weighed myself this morning, I’d only gained three pounds! (Ah, the joys of partying in one’s 40s.)

I’ve determined that some of my finest hours in a job come after giving notice, because based on personality tests like Gallup’s StrengthsFinder — I’m highly responsible. I obsess about leaving everything in perfect order, all tied up with a bow. Unfortunately, the stress that accompanies that usually manifests itself as flightiness and forgetfulness, and I end up losing the security badge to my office building.

You can’t make this stuff up – every time I have changed jobs, I have lost my security badge. I can hang on to the same badge for YEARS, but sometime during my 2-3 weeks’ notice, I will misplace it. Two jobs changes ago, I was also moving apartments so my life was insane – and I lost multiple badges in just a few weeks. The security office in my building threatened to start charging me a per-badge fee. It was that bad.

So in keeping with tradition, today I had to confess to the administrative assistant for my new team that he’d need to order me another badge, because I’d lost mine. In other words, I pissed off the office admin before I even started. Excellent!

Find new job: CHECK! Participate in one happy hour, with ambivalence: CHECK! Lose security badge: CHECK! So I guess that means my job here is done, and it’s time to start a new job… over there.

By Monday I’ll be ready, so bring it on? No wait, that’s not right. I mean, BRING IT ON.