{On the Job}

October 1, 1999

Despite too little sleep, I got up promptly at 7am this morning and was showered and dressed and out the door with Sabs by 7:35.

I was due at D&P at 8am for my very first day at work.

Upon arrival, I was told to "just go on up" which I did, and I re-acquainted myself with some of the folks I met during my interview. Aaron handed my schedule for the day and then ushered me to the HR person's office to begin the process of taking care of all the formalities -- health insurance, 401K, automatic deposit, etc. etc.

A whirlwind of meet n' greets ensued, everyone from the office manager to various VPs as well as my immediate co-workers. By the time it was through just before lunch time my head was swimming.

The most interesting anecdote of the day stemmed from one of my visits with the executive portion of the company. One of the gentlemen, rather than uttering the usual niceties, launched into a speech which culminated in three pieces of advice.

In fact my entire day could easily be summed up by his words:

He told me that no matter what I do, no matter where I work, the most important thing is always being able to learn something new and when I don't have the answer at the tip of my tongue, to know where to look it up.

I certainly hope that I never stop learning. If I don't learn anything at this job then it'll be a pretty sorry thing indeed and I won't be staying long. But I thrive on teaching myself and looking things up, so Maxim #1 was right up my alley.

This is a military contractor, so a number of the employees are ex-armed forces of some kind. This is where the need to stick with the chain-of-command was impressed upon me. I was warned to report problems to my supervisor and avoid going above anyone's head for anything. The chain-of-command works and is proven to work. There is an order that helps maintain efficiency. Use it, maintain it and all will be well.

Maxim #2 made my eyebrows climb halfway up my forehead and down the other side. Heebie jeebie city in fact. I understand the principle of good organization and having systematic ways of dealing with things. But the barefoot liberal, free-spirit in me was screaming as I adjusted my carefully conservative navy blue cardigan.

Life is too short not to have fun. So whatever you do, have fun.

Well, DUH. But that's more like it. Maxim #3 is a big part of my personl motto all ready, so I see no reason to jettison that now.

As you were.

In the late afternoon three of us had a conversation about the needs and direction that the department should be going in. I was surprised by how much I had to say and how well I said it. I may yet be able to do this. I mean really do this whole web professional thing.

Now I have the weekend to mull over this first day and get some more chores done.

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