Well, here I am back from my first day of work at my new job. In good (and perhaps surprising) news: I did not do anything upsetting, embarrassing, or potentially fireable on my first day of work. No tripping, falling, saying anything out of line or geeking out completely. I KNOW. I was totally on my best behavior.
It’s probably poor form to compare one’s last full-time job to one’s brand-new and amazingly shiny full-time job, especially on the very first day, but today I couldn’t help but compare the two first days.
At my last job, on the first day, they sat me down and just walked away. No one told me what to do. At one point, someone wandered over and asked why I wasn’t photocopying some work that was sitting in a bin near my desk. “I didn’t know I was supposed to,” I answered. “Well, we’re going to need you to take a little more initative than THAT,” they replied, and walked away disgusted. (In my defense, the papers were just sitting there. How I was supposed to know they were there for photocopying and not shredding or scanning or even retyping is beyond me. Still.) My coworker trained me on the binding machine and then left; when it broke, I had no one to ask for help. At one point, a group of coworkers got together and told me it was the worst possible place to work ever; management hated the clerical staff and treated them like garbage, and no one was happy, and please get out before I was OLD and still WORKING there like they were and did.
It was the very definition of a fine how-do-you-do. I remember coming home and telling my roommate at the time, “I hate that place. I hate it so much. I guess I should just be happy it’s a job, but I hate it there.”
Needless to say, it didn’t get much better over the years. The six-and-a-half very long years.
The way you start something sets the tone for the rest of the experience, I think. It’s like that annoying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” saying? Which, yes, annoying, but it’s kind of true. I mean, I have some friends that I got off on a bad foot with (bad footing? how is that best said?) and we turned it around, but a lot of the time. we’re creatures of instinct, as much as we’d like to think otherwise. Our first impression of someone/something means a lot. And if you walk into a job where they immediately show you they don’t want you there, and you’re kind of worthless to them, well, you’re going to take that with you. You’re going to ponder on it in your heart. And if you’re Amy, you’re going to ponder on it possibly the entire time you’re there, because the last time I forgave a slight, either real or imagined, was…um…never. That would be never.
Now. Let’s talk about my first day at this job.
They welcomed me joyously. Everyone said hi and when they introduced themselves, their smiles went all the way to their eyes. People seemed genuinely happy to be there. There was a desk all set up and waiting for me with office supplies and a computer and my own WALLS and my own CLOSET and my own DESK DRAWERS. My own NAME TAG on my wall. With my own NAME on it. A GIFT from my BOSS, WELCOMING me to the COMPANY. I’m pretty sure they all thought I was soft in the head because I was reacting to all of these things like someone raised by wolves, or one of those kids you hear about whose parents raised them unspoken to and unreacted with in a cupboard or something. “This is MINE? This is MY CLOSET? This is MY COATHANGER? This is MY STAPLER? I get to SIT HERE? And do this WORK? And hang out with you guys? OK I WILL DO ALL OF THIS I LOVE YOU! Look how close our printers are to our DESKS! Look how we have a water fountain! Look at ALL THESE SHINY THINGS!” And then sometimes I might have gotten secretly teary and pretended I had allergies.
I had a little basic training today (not like in the ARMY, silly) and tomorrow I really get to it. Today was mostly signing papers. SO MANY PAPERS. Healthcare and if I die, who gets my money (Dad, of course, and when I told him that, he was all, “Oh, well, that means I AM YOUR FAVORITE. Oh, wait, don’t die, though, of course”) and 401(k) and all those good things. I signed my name so many times it started to look like gibberish. (It already looks like gibberish, though. I have a very scrawly signature. I learned that from Dad. “You sign so no one can copy you,” he advised me when I was about sixteen and still signed my name all bubbly and adorable and full of hope and legible. “That way, no one will steal your identity or write checks in your name someday when you have a checkbook.” Then years later he saw my signature and he was all, “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?” because he forgets things and I said, “You, Dad. I LEARNED IT FROM WATCHING YOU” and he was just confused by my excellent use of pop-culture references.) I also got a very official nametag/security badge thingy with my face all on it with a LANYARD. Do YOU have a lanyard? I thought not.
Then I read a million manuals (I get lots of time off. That is a thing I learned. Also a lot of holidays. But cannot go home for Christmas this year, because vacation time doesn’t start until January. I’m surprisingly ok with this; this job is really all the Christmas present I need) and learned all about parts of my new job and had some lunch and BAM it was time to go home. Just like that! My first day done! It was so fast and it was awesome and I had a really good time and I’m honestly really looking forward to tomorrow! I KNOW, have you ever HEARD such a thing? Looking FORWARD to work? I KNOW! This is not the Amy you are used to! A satisfied Amy? A HAPPY AMY? I know you’ve heard talk of this upcoming apocalypse, PERHAPS THIS IS ONE OF THE SIGNS.
Don’t worry. My snark-bone (heh, bone) is fully intact, thank you very much. And honestly, I could use some happy; it’s been a tough haul for a while. Mostly just work-wise. Other things have been awesome. Having a job where I’m happy…plus a life where I’m happy…well, who knows what I could accomplish with all of that? It’s enough to make someone’s head explode. In a shower of glitter and sheer awesomeness.
OK, precious peanuts, time to finish this up and head off to bed because I have to admit, last night not a lot of sleep happened. TOO EXCITED TO SLEEP. Like the kid in the Disney commercial. Love your faces. Thanks for sticking around through the suck. Happier times ahead, I’m thinking. Let’s see how that goes. I have no precedent, so I’m not sure what to expect. UNEXPECTED HAPPINESS!