Week 1 of gainful employment is completed! Successfully, I think, and I hope my employers think so as well. The first couple of days were completely overwhelming. So much information to absorb all at once, and such a different environment from what I'm used to.
I was expecting the change in workplace culture to be disorienting. It's such a larger organization than I'm used to, and while it's informal compared to a lot of corporations, it's by definition much more formal than my former clients. Like the company of 6 people where everyone set their own hours. Or the place where employees were not just allowed but encouraged to use the shop facilities for personal projects, or even to run their own side businesses. (I'm still bummed out that I have no woodworking skills so I couldn't make use of that perk.) This just isn't like that at all.
What I wasn't expecting was to be disoriented by my own lack of knowledge. Until a week ago I was Ms. Fix It. I was the person that people would be waiting for me to get there because something was wrong and they knew I could take care of it. Even if I had no idea how when I got there, by the time I left it would be solved. (Does that sound like I'm bragging? I don't mean to. I just like figuring stuff out. And after years of managing a system, when something happens to it you usually have a pretty good idea what it's about, even if you've never encountered that exact problem before.)
Now I'm the person who doesn't understand anything and is confused all the time. Actually it's not that bad, although it felt like that for the first couple of days. By the end of the week I'm starting to get the hang of the physical layout, starting to remember people's names, and most importantly, getting to do some actual work. It's amazing what a difference that makes. Not only the quiet time, but doing something I know how to do. It feels like a mental anchor. Funny story: on Wednesday my group had a longish meeting to review an ongoing project with me. Near the end of the meeting my boss suggested that in the afternoon maybe I could do task xyz. This was the first actual work they'd given me (so, 2 1/2 days of almost non stop meetings at that point) and I jumped at the prospect. They looked a little surprised so I explained "There's so much to learn, it would be a nice break to just sit and do some work." My boss said "Aw, she wants to code!"
Plus I've been going back to Hillsborough every evening to help out with one of my jobs -- one of my former jobs I guess I should say. That wasn't hard to do, it just added several hours onto the day. On top of the new job being overwhelming on its own, and I've had difficulty sleeping because there's so much to remember and think about. The end result is a very tired me! Last night I finally slept soundly, and woke up late this morning. I plan to do the same tonight.
I also have a shopping list of things I want to get for my cube. Hand lotion, a potted plant, that sort of thing. I was also going to get tissues, until I mentioned my list to my coworker and she showed me a whole cabinet full of tissue boxes that we can take whenever we need! It's right next to the cabinet full of pens! There's something to this office thing.