04/07/2004: "It's Just Right"
|AMP|#160;|AMP|#160;Everyone knows the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. A brazen little shrew breaks into the three bears' home, eats their food, sits on their chairs, and falls asleep in the middle of her larceny. Of course, the selling point of the whole story is that little miss ne'er-do-well is quite picky about what she eats, sits on, and falls asleep on. In this particular felony spree, she finds the belongings of Baby Bear to be of her liking: his food isn't too hot or cold, and his seat and bed aren't too hard or soft - they're just right. So how does this story of a girl gone wrong relate to my prolonged silence this week? I tried other jobs, but the one I started on Monday is just right.
It's perhaps a silly thing to say only three days into my new position, as I obviously haven't fully acclimatized, and likely still have a few things to learn about how things operate at my new place of employ, but I'm going to be extremely brazen and say that this is the best job I've ever had, bar none. In fact, to call it a "job" would be a disservice. I can easily see myself being at this company for years to come, thus I would calls what I have now a career. Certainly, it's not going to be a position that loses my interest in a few months. So long as nothing truly uncalled for happens, and that I fit their needs, I'll stay as long as they'll have me.
The first day alone was entirely unlike any other position I've had in my life. One first that happened on Monday was that they were prepared for me: upon arriving I immediately had a desk, a chair, a working phone extension, a computer, network access, e-mail... everything except office supplies. Usually it's the other way around - I can get a pad of paper and a pen, but I'll have no place to put them and no work to do with them for a few days while things are sorted out.
Speaking of having work to do, this is the first time that I've actually done real work on my first day as well. No, I did not make photocopies, read files, or spend half the day filling out forms. I did read through the employee handbook, but after that I was teamed up with one of my co-workers, brought up to speed on the project at hand, and went straight to work figuring out how to make it better. After finding a pen and paper, we brainstormed for a while, worked through some good ideas, and came to a solution that we agreed was quite appropriate. In other words, on my first day, I actually contributed. Instead of sitting around like a lump, waiting for someone to tell me where to sit, how to use such-and-such a program, reading through a tutorial or policy manual or other such gunk, I actually did real work, and enjoyed it.
The second and third days have been even more enjoyable. I've accomplished more this week than I typically accomplish in the first month at any other job. Instead of being coddled and spoon fed until I get on my own feet, I've been thrown in and told to swim, which I've managed to do fairly well I believe. I am certainly keeping busy, which is evident by how quickly the day seems to pass. At my previous job I would mentally tick off the hours as they roll by: 9 o'clock, time for my morning snack, 11 o'clock, I'll eat my carrot sticks now, 1 o'clock, I'll call my wife... Not any more. I checked my watch for the first time this morning at 11am, and didn't check it again until 3:30pm. It's really astounding how enjoyable work can be if your talents are being used on a consistent and constant basis.
As a result of being enjoyably busy, I have used the Internet a grand total of maybe an hour over the past three days. An hour may seem like a long time, but consider that it averages out to 20 minutes over the course of three days, and you'll see how little it really is. This is in stark contrast to my previous job, where I could easily spend up to a few hours a day on the Internet (the company Internet use policy notwithstanding, as it was wholly unenforced). The reason I'd spend so much time online was simply boredom - the tasks that I had were not keeping my interest, and my mind was begging for more, and/or different, stimulation. Now it has that in spades.
What this might actually result in is better health on my part. I know that when I'm bored I typically snack. I try to control myself or satiate myself with fruit instead of the high-sugar junk I really want, but it rarely works once the last bite is gone and I have to get back to my work. Being so busy ensures that I'm not bored, and thereby I don't feel the urge to snack nearly as much anymore, except when I'm genuinely hungry. If I can stay busy and engaged, my snacking will drop off considerably, which can only be a benefit to my slightly oversize frame.
One last thing that has really struck me about my new position is the culture I'm now immersed in. In only a few days, I've gotten to know some of my co-workers much better than I knew anyone I'd ever worked with back at my old job. What's more, they seem more personable, more open, and much more interesting. I don't know if that's due to what we're working on, who we're working for, the corporate culture, or just the fact that the people are more interesting, but I'm really not all that concerned about the reason behind it. All I know is that these are people that I'm going to be working with - hopefully for many years to come - and I'm going to enjoy doing so very much. That alone is worth the price of admission.
To sum it all up, I'm deliriously happy about my decision to jump off the sinking ship and hop on this one. Normally I'd be worried about leaving a job after only 10 months simply due to how that looks on a résumé, excellent reasons for leaving said job notwithstanding. However, I can truly see myself at this new company for years and years. "Growth potential" is written all over it in so many directions that I seriously doubt that I'll feel the need to update my résumé anytime soon. Yes, there's still some adjusting to do, but the adjustments are well worth it.
Please pardon me if I'm quite a bit quieter online than I have been in the past. It's not that I don't want to tell you what's going on, it's just that it's still going on, and I'm having too much fun to stop and write about it.