Between Endive, Pianos, and TLAs


I remember that we hazed a newbie back at Cessna with getting on them about their TLAs.  We told them countless times to make sure they were making the most out of the TLAs, tracking the TLAs, and staying on top of their TLAs.  It took weeks for them to finally ask what a TLA was.  The answer?  Three Letter Acronyms.

I haven’t blogged for a few days because I have been focusing on my TLAs.  I came to Alaska for work, didn’t I?

My first day was Monday, and like every first day of every job I ever had, it was long and seemed longer than it should have been.  My second day turned into an 11 hour day, complete with a 6am conference call.  I was getting my emails set up, my phones ordered, my computer switched on, and starting each bit of training program I need.  It had its ups, like getting assigned projects that are impacting BP in the hundreds of millions of dollars; but it had its downs like the two hours I spent trying to hold in my pee just so I didn’t have to have someone badge me back in before I went to get my full badge access.

The whole first few days reminded of a story I heard once.  During a training session once, a guy was describing a key difference between children and adults when they learn to play piano.  He said its easier for kids because they take each lesson without looking ahead.  The guy said “the Piano teacher kept telling me to play scales and I kept saying ‘No!  I want to play the piano!!'”  Kids feel that even when they are playing scales they are playing piano.  As adults, we think we know better and we expect to be playing Mozart from the moment we sit at the bench.

But on the same side, I feel like I am trapping myself into thinking I need to know everything right now.  One of my earliest jobs was at The Barn in Prairie du Chien, and my training there was limited in part because I think people thought I knew more about it than I did since Mom worked there for years but just as much I wasn’t asking questions because I felt like an idiot.   One night I was asked to store an awful lot of Endive Lettuce in the fridge; but because I didn’t know any better I put it in the freezer.  A few hours later, when they went looking for it and found it destroyed by the freeze one of the chefs jumped all over me.

There is so much about this job that is the same, from SAP to Ariba to 9/80; but there is so much I don’t know — most of them learning the damn TLAs.  I want to be able to play a piano Right Now, but the Endive I would destroy is far more costly than a little lettuce.

But if there is something I can fall back on, it is the view.

We are in cubicles for a temporary stay until they move us to the main facility in September.  But we hope to keep the 9th floor like we are now.  Because I am just a 50ft walk to window where on a clear day I can see Mt McKinley; and when it isn’t clear I can just turn my chair 180° and see the mountains lining the east side of Anchorage.  And that … makes every TLA worth it.


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