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3 days in the trenches (err, in the new job)

September 25th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I started the new job and finished up my first week. The 1st day was probably the worst, mainly becus I wasn't kept busy the whole day and felt rather useless and unproductive.And being new, I was anxious to demonstrate my value. Plus, the circular floor plan confused me and I had trouble remembering which way was the kitchen, and how to get back from the restrooms without having an ID badge yet.

I met my boss the 2nd day. On the third day, I felt better, because I just decided to start working on a project we discussed the day before, even though I wasn't explicitly told to forge ahead, but she did say during my interview she wanted someone who could work well on their own.

I'm just used to being given specific instructions on what is expected of me, and that didn't really happen here. I don't yet know if that's her style, or perhaps she wanted to see if I'd take the initiative. They consider me a "consultant," but really, I'm just someone who has a lot of experience and was hired through an agency.

I emailed some preliminary work I'd done to my boss on the 2nd day (she works in another state and is only up in my office 1 or 2 times a week), and then started second-guessing myself that perhaps I shouldn't have done so becus she hadn't asked me to do it, she might think I was jumping the gun, or working a bit helter-skelter when we weren't all on the same page. Then I started thinking, gee, maybe they'll fire me.

So I was relieved when she emailed me back, made a few simple comments on what I'd written and suggested I run it by another person in the office.

When I showed him what I'd done, I also showed him more copy I'd done by that time, and getting some positive feedback from him was reassuring so that I'd have more confidence when showing it to my boss and her boss.

What I really liked about my new employer is they gave me a choice of what hours to work, as long as someone from the dept. was there while I was. So I moved my starting time back a bit (to 9 am) so as to give myself more time in the a.m., and perhaps more daylight. Nothing I hate more than 1. getting up in the dark and 2. rushing to get ready for work. Becus I have just a half hour for lunch, not the mandated hour i had at my last job, I get home a half hour earlier, too, which is great. Yes, I'll miss having a full hour to walk on my lunch break, but there's not a lot of places at the new place to walk without getting in your car anyway. And if I ask myself if I'd rather have an extra half hour at lunch, or an extra half hour at home, the answer is simple.

On my 2nd day there, I invited the other new writer who started the same day I did to check out the cafe in the building. We brought our lunches outside and talked. i discovered that in his last job in another city, he was working in the building right next door to mine. Then I discovered that he worked a year at another employer's of mine that I left 11 years ago. Small world. He joined about a year after I left, so we never met.

Becus I'm working on contract now, I've been asked to keep my weekly hours to no more than 40 hours, so this means I don't have to worry about staying late for appearances as so many salaried employees do.

The people in my group are very professional, but also very friendly and approachable. I have my own roomy cubicle and even that is better than the "open office, collaborative" environment at my last job, which really just meant NO PRIVACY. Ironically, my employer at that time got an award for its innovative, architect-designed office space, but if anyone had bothered to ask any employee what they thought of it, they would have said they hated it, becus we all did.

My first project is actually fairly interesting and will require me to review each of the 100 or so courses they now offer, in order that I can write a synopsis of it in the catalog I'm writing. It's a great exercise for someone new to the company.

The building I'm in is very contemporary, in a newer corporate park with lots of big companies. It's 10 stories high and the nice thing about it is that you don't see miles and miles of parked cars and parking lots becus we all park in low-profile parking garages. In front of my building is a large circular drive and in the center there are lush flower plantings, tables and chairs for employees to eat lunch in and a large fountain. It's all very nice.

I am feeling the results of having lived a year extremely frugally while I wasn't working. I spent a total of about $600 (!!!) on clothing the week before I started the job: 1. 5 blouses, 2. 1 lightweight jacket, 3. 1 sleeveless vest, 4. 1 sweater, 5. 1 suede jacket, 6. 1 pair of shoes, 7. 4 pairs of slacks, 8. a pair of corduroy pants.

The clothes were really needed becus as it turns out, they don't really dress business casual, altho Fridays you can wear jeans.

But I didn't stop there. Today I went to a craft show and bought a bracelet, a watch, a necklace and some earrings. The prices at several tables was unbelievably affordable. At one booth, they were selling gemstone jewelery sets of a necklace with matching earrings for $25!

Of course, we can't forget the $725 I spent on a new computer a few weeks earlier. (That was before I even got the new job.)

Clearly I am feeling a little out of control and I'd better reel it in. I can afford it now, but it's not my intent to spend all the extra money I make. I'll be adding an extra $1,000 a month to the mortgage payment and $1,000 to my money market account for savings.

I was looking forward to just chilllin' today, but shortly before the new job, I got a huge new freelance assignment from my oldest freelance client. I didn't want to turn it down becus I intend to keep freelancing when I retire and I don't want to destroy connections. So I said I could do it (it's a 40 to 60-page case study he needs to submit in order to get a very valuable license designation) but I could only work on it on weekends. He just wants it done by the end of the year, so he was ok with that. I intended to start work on it today but he wasn't home when I called. well, the ball's in his court now.

5 Responses to “3 days in the trenches (err, in the new job)”

  1. Ima saver Says:

    Sounds like the job is going well!! Good luck!!

  2. Analise Says:

    Your new job seems very interesting. Things are looking good for you!

    You may have spent $600 on clothes, but you really did get a lot for the money.

  3. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    My understanding is that legally all consultants are supposed to be able to set their own hours. It really is more like an extension of your freelancing--you just happen to do it at their facility. I think there would be limitations on their being able to tell you where to work as well.

  4. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I'm glad you're liking your new job!

  5. Jerry Says:

    I think that taking the initiative like you did can only lead to good things - if they decided they didn't like it or wanted something else, all they would have to do is tell you what to change. The main thing is that it offers them some insurance that they have hired a self-starter, so that is good news for them! Congratulations on the new position...
    Jerry

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