Wednesday, August 30

Actually Spoken During the Course of My Day

"Frenchies in space... not scary"
[Listening to: Sevendust, "Hero"]


Friday, August 25

Speechless

I just lost the job.
[Listening to: Deftones, "Hexagram"]


Wednesday, August 23

Garageland

Something that promises to make this new job interesting is the way that it continually seems to want to intersect with my outside life.

For example -- normally I'm the type of person who likes to leave a job at my desk when I go home. I mean, sometimes it's unavoidable -- but given the choice I'd much prefer to have a job finance my lifestyle rather than dictate it.
But like I said before, this place is kinda different.
They told me that I was hired because of my previous experience, my enthusiasm during the interviews, and the prospect of the improvements I could bring to the team. But the simple face is that I was recruited for something completely different.
Music.
I first heard about this job from a dear friend of mine. He's a poet/musician who lives a secret double life as a database administrator during the day. While we were talking a while back about projects we wanted to work on together during the next year, he mentioned that the "company band" was in desperate need of a guitar player. He even referenced my prowess in the referral letter he sent to my future bosses before they hired me.

Of course, the job I'm doing has nothing to do with scales or chords, so in my interviews and stuff it was treated sort of like a sidenote, but now that I'm here the question has come back up a couple of times. It seems every Wednesday after work a couple of the guys from around the building get together at the loading dock and jam for a few hours. And while that's not really too weird to think about (it's not like that sort of thing probably doesn't happen in other places) the strange thing about this session is that apparently the roster goes all over the corporate ladder.

I mean most jam sessions I've ever been a part of consisted of people who were looking for a way to escape the drudgery of their day jobs. But with this thing apparently the odds are pretty good that you'll be trading riffs with the CEO.
Which is kinda weird when you think about it.
Or maybe it isn't -- I don't know. It's like this place is so different than everything I've ever been a part of before that I'm continually surprised by how sort of weirded out I get by these things. Who knows, maybe I'll get to a point where everything will become more comfortable (after all, it's still only my second week), but it's kinda strange how with so many radical changes all around me, it's almost like I'm resisting them a bit just because they're unfamiliar.
Either that, or I'm just not used to
getting jam requests through Outlook.
[Listening to: Frank Zappa, "Brown Shoes Don't Make It"]


Friday, August 18

Crazy Gator Jail

Do you ever get the feeling you’re a character in your own sitcom?
I started my new job Monday.
..And I’m already in trouble.
It really sucks too, because this new gig seems really exciting. Basically I’m going to be doing corporate training for a software development company here in town. The place itself sorta feels like a dot com – there’s a foosball table, the walls are all painted different primary colors, and the cubicles are all modular and futuristic. Everyone seems to have an endless supply of clothing with the company logo on it, there are countless emails about team building get-togethers, and everywhere I turn it seems I find someone smiling, shaking my hand, and generally encouraging me to drink the company kool-aid.

Not that I'm complaining about it -- I mean, these are the things that made me want to land this gig in the first place. A job that encourages you to dress down and listen to music? It's like it was tailor-made!
...Which is probably why I'm having such a hard time trusting it.
I don't know, maybe I've seen too many bad movies with astronauts landing on planets populated with nothing but half-naked supermodels who turn out to be cannibals, or a world loaded with endless supplies of free beer but no bottle openers -- but as strange as it sounds, as much as I should have instantly loved this place, I was still sorta wary of it. Unsure of just how casual things actually were despite their appearance.

The first thing they had me do was to take a "boot camp" training class -- learning as much as I can crash-course style about the applications and processes I'll be working with. It's something I really need, but at the same time it's learning an entire application in less than a week. Plus, it's built to service an industry I haven't had much experience with -- so the whole thing's sort of a shell shock.

Still, the week goes by quickly. I sitting through my class, taking notes, whatever -- but that's really all I'm doing. Once class is over I try to hang out with the team I'm assigned to -- but everyone there has really specific roles, and it's not like I know enough to be of any real help yet.

Then at the end of the week there was a certification exam I had to take. Being the nerd that I am, I finished kinda quickly, only to find myself waiting for the others to finish. But once they did the class was essentially over -- leaving me with absolutley nothing more to do.

That's when things start to get dicey, because then you're in that place where people are trying to find things for you to do. Usually this means you end up in some basement storeroom stuffing a billion envelopes or putting stickers on file folders or whatever crap they have that they can't trick anyone else into doing. Unfortunately there wasn't anything like this available, so someone came up with the idea that I should sort of sit-in and listen to a conference call so I could "get an idea of the kinds of issues I might need to know about in the future."

Next thing you know I'm in a conference room with my new bosses, one of those tabletop conference phones, and a voice from across the country. The issues are technical, nuts and bolts stuff. There's a lot of focus on words like implementation, granulation, and documentation which is really specific to things I haven't learned enough about yet to understand, so a lot of it is just over my head. I mean, I'm trying to follow along, but at some point it's clear I just don't have the background to process everything they're discussing, so it just becomes sort of a wash of disconnected voices droning on without me..
And I start
to fall
...asleep.
I honestly didn't even know it was happening. One minute I was doing my best to follow the powerpoint, and the next thing I knew I was doing that sort of sudden nodding thing that happens when you've been driving for 7 hours and you suddenly wake up and find yourself in the next lane.

For the rest of the meeting I basically sat up as straight as I possibly could while a voice in my mind kept repeating "I hope nobody saw that I hope nobody saw that I hope nobody saw that.."
But of course everyone did.
The crappy thing for me though is that I didn't see it coming. Because for whatever reason, this is my catchphrase. It's the thing that I'm famous for, whether I want it to be or not.

So sure enough an hour or so later I'm called into the same conference room with my bosses to have a meeting, and I start worrying that the hammer's gonna fall. I haven't had this friggin job a week yet, and I'm already in danger of losing it. So I'm thinking as fast as I can of the best way to talk my way out of this when my manager catches me off guard and says "we're worried about your level of enthusiasm towards the job: You don't seem as motivated as you did during the interview."
To which I was dying to reply, "Well does anyone?"
I mean, of course I was more enthusiastic in the interview. I was trying to get the job! I would have washed your car right there in the parking lot if I thought it would have helped. Everyone is the employee of the year during an interview.. that's just what you do.

But then the discussion turned to the subject of my little nap and I had to start kissing some serious ass just to get out of there with my dignity intact.

I'm still not really sure what the fallout is going to be -- but so far it seems like I've sorta survived it. That's not to say I'm not completely on pins and needles whenever my bosses are around or that I'm not drinking a ton more coffee during the day whenever I get a chance.

I don't know -- I guess it's all a matter of perspective. I get the feeling most of the people here took this job to get out of another job. Like they were trapped in corporate mires until this place came along and saved them. I'm not really sure any of these people are keenly aware of what it's like to be sitting at home day after day hitting the job boards and calling places on the phone wondering just how much longer your savings can hold out.

But hopefully when all this training is done and I start actually working things will find a better sense of equilibrium. Hopefully sometime soon I'll get a chance to prove my value to the people who hired me and put their trust in my abilities.
Because I don't think I can afford another nap.
[Listening to: Nothingface, "Walking on Bodies"]


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