Contrary to some mixed reports from fake news sources and maybe the Russians … I made it through my first week in California. I am writing this exactly seven days after I broke the state boarder and finalized the long drive and plan to get here. I started the new job, worked the full week, and have now the weekend to finally decompress after a very hectic and stressful month of December. In fact, it became pretty clear on Saturday morning, I would be hard pressed to actually be motivated to do anything … and still fight that motivation (even on a Packer-Bears Sunday).
As for how the first week went, I’d have to say it far exceeded my expectations, and went quite well.
Which means it was boring, frustrating, and seemed to last forever.
First weeks in any job sucks; and probably more so in a professional contributor role like mine. First of all. you were in a constant state of awkwardness of not knowing things. Like, where the bathroom is, what do you do for lunch, where did I park my car, was I supposed to park there or not, no seriously where is my car parked. I mean, I joked in the first day blog about getting lost … but that was not the last time I did. Tuesday I got lost from the parking lot, didn’t get lost getting back but wandered around the thing for twenty minutes trying to find my car. I got lost at least three more times the rest of the week, and I wasn’t even on lab one of those days. The harder part of this awkwardness is trying not to do something that is essentially ‘screwing up’. Like breaking some security rule, or leaving at some inappropriate time. It wasn’t that there was much of a chance of doing anything like that, but when you don’t know … you question everything.
Also, there is just loads of things you have to learn that you will eventually forget, but are required to know. We are talking all the mandatory training — ethics, cyber security, safety, etc. These are all the rules that you have to follow or will get some part of the business coming down on you. Tag on departmental policies, group discovery training, and general ‘how to use your computer/phone/microwave in the break area’ stuff; and it seems most of what you do for the first month is training of some sort.
The real frustrating part about first weeks comes down to just simply not having anything to do. If you think about it, most of our jobs is a series of projects, tasks, activities, and functions that get assigned or thrust upon you. I think many of us get used to the fact that we could have five to ten of these projects going on at any given time, and in a good empowered environment, you just work to knock them all out. Well, when you start — you don’t have any. I mean, you might get one or two assignments, but usually they ease you in. Of course, any good job will have it all snow ball, but we are talking the ‘First Week’. This is the week that you are ready to kick some tail, ready to be the solution, ready to do whatever you can to make an impression … and instead, you are waiting for that stuff to do. Granted, if you got assigned enough, you couldn’t do it – you wouldn’t know how to; that’s the point. But that doesn’t change the fact that not having something to do makes the week drag on.
So, first weeks suck.
That being said, this was a pretty good first week.
For one, I did get thrown into something right away. My main duty with this job is auditing, which is something I have had a lot of experience in. Still, I will need to get signed off as an auditor, which requires four audits of shadowing (working with another). Well … X goes to square on the first one. We rolled down to Costa Mesa, CA for an audit on Thursday; giving me a chance to jump straight into the fire.
Friday also was a group holiday party. While I was being a pretty awkward introverted newbie for most of it, I did get to be a part of the team and get to know many of the people I will be working with in this job. Since the Fridays of a first week are the worst … the worst! Having that party was something that made it so much more palatable.
But most of all … I find myself on a pretty dang good team. Friendly, smart, relaxed, playful, and hard working. So good, I worried that my sarcastic, sometimes lazy, grump jackass of a self wouldn’t fall in. But that’s when the boss uses that phrase that seemed to historically mean something negative – but now was uplifting and hopeful: “We hired you for a reason.” Which is true … of everyone they could have hired, the picked me.
So I am being patient, letting this job come to me rather than fighting the urge to blow myself up with frustration over first weeks. This is about the long term, and the long term will happen.
Plus the first week is over now.