Saturday, January 14, 2006

Musings on New Beginnings

My first day at work, I attended a brief orientation session quickly covering policies on attendance, benefits, vacation, personal use of work resources, sexual harassment, drug testing, violence in the workplace, etc.

It's a different corporate culture from what I've been dealing with the last couple of years, that's for sure. But this is a good thing. I like to joke that my former employer's corporate motto is "We put the 'pro' in 'inappropriate!'"

Like to? I love to make that joke. Isn't it clever? And so true!

As ghastly as my old employer was, of course, there's a flip side to everything and the sense of freedom there, of being able to swear or flirt or make off-color jokes or walk around barefoot, was fairly pleasant. The systems analyst who is training me and I seem to have hit it off greatly right away, because she's outspoken and has a really strong, offbeat sense of humor, so she softens the transition from wild-and-crazy private sector to staid and sober government.

That said, I feel the need to make sure I don't get too comfortable. We're on the cube farm, and voices carry. Things I say that may make her double over with laughter might cause someone two cubes over to seethe in silence.

I don't know the office pecking order yet, but most people seem to take lunches and breaks alone - though they do take ample breaks to wander around and chit chat with each other. It strikes me as a sign to tread carefully - or is it just that I'm so shell-shocked from dealing with the fearfully convoluted office politics at the old place that I'm overly paranoid?

My supervisor came over to my desk yesterday afternoon at about ten till five just to see how my week had gone (very well; I'm learning quickly and have managed to put in more than enough work so far to make up for my friend's time in training - not bad for week one!) and just to chat for a bit. He's an older gentleman, very soft-spoken and gentle and pleasant. I told him I'd found an apartment in Travis Heights and how excited and happy I was, and he said he'd actually grown up here - went to Travis Heights Elementary (where Anna will go), Fulmore Middle School (Katie's new stomping grounds) and graduated from Travis High (upon which Eric is shortly to be inflicted). We were chatting along about kids and schools and moving and such like, when suddenly he announced, "Well, it's five o'clock, time to get on out of here! Have a good weekend!"

It was five on the NOSE.

I've had so much I've wanted to write about since I've been here. I wanted to blog about UT winning the Rose Bowl while I was staying on West Campus, and what a glorious happy time that was, with joyful students running through the streets and shouting and hugging each other. And I wanted to go on in detail about spending an afternoon walking in Pease Park, full of cheerful people and happy, well-behaved dogs, walking and jogging and biking and playing Frisbee Golf. My bittersweet walk past the vacant pink brick house with wrought-iron railings on Shoal Creek Drive just off Lamar and 24th, which used to be the Iseley School, where I went to first grade in '73 or so, really should have a full blog entry of its own. There's just been so much. I suppose I'll get caught up later.

For now, Anna is awake, in her blue fleecy pajamas, with frumpy mussed-up hair, so it's time for me to stop lollygagging and get to work on some breakfast.


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