First Day at the new school
I remember, lo these many years ago, one year when it was time to return to school, my mom packed up all the supplies she’d bought from the teacher’s list of requirements into a brown paper grocery bag. Then she sat me, dressed in my new school clothes, next to the bag on the carved wooden bench near the front door and took a picture.
It was a “first day of school” photo.
I searched high and low in all my photo albums for this photo to scan and post today, but sadly I could not find it (it’s there, but just didn’t dig far enough). I did, however, find my first communion photo, taken seated on that same bench in a fluffy white dress and little veil, but figured the effect was just not the same.
The reason for me recalling both that day and that photograph, is that today, I started my new job at a brand new company. And I felt as nervous and jittery as I did in second grade wondering if I would like the place, if the other kids would like me back, and if I was doomed to eating lunch all by myself for the duration.
Day One of the new place was not so bad. My mind is a bit blown with all the information handed out during the day. I’m working for a company that is smaller, less high profile, but more important to the “greater good”. I work for a company filled with PhD scientist types. Brilliant folks, all sharp as a whip and it takes work for me to keep up.
It’s a lot like my old employer in a lot of ways (most of them good). It’s also very different in a lot of ways.
But none of that matters. What matters is I spent nine and a half years at my last job. I’d built up friends, confidants, and credibility. I knew where the bodies and the land mines were buried. People knew me, knew I would do a good job, and trusted me.
Today, people don’t know me from Adam and I have zero credibility. All that must be built, and it’s a long process.
I have to learn the names of new and strange (and let’s face it, rather geeky) executives. I have to learn a bit of biology and a skosh of chemistry to keep up with the conversations. I have to be able to speak clinically about some big hairy scary human diseases, which is going to be a tough change for my sensitive soul.
But mainly, I have to survive. I need this job. Mr. Jones keeps stealing my money and while I was feeling ok about things a few weeks back, I’ve finally succumbed to the fear and horror this economy has sent our way. I like feeling comfortable about my financial situation and loathe worrying over something as ridiculous as money.
And yes, I’m quite grateful to have a good job in these troubled times.
I did make a friend today. She was very nice and agreed to be my “new hire” pal. I have a new hire pal from the old place. He and I are still friends and celebrated every work anniversary by saying to each other, “god, you still work here?” I expect the same from my new friend.
Tomorrow I’m plunged into the icy waters of my new team. I met a couple ladies today who will by my direct reports and they eyed me suspiciously, but were friendly enough.
Hopefully no one will steal my lunch money and someone will let me sit at the table with them at noontime.
And hopefully someone will tell me how to find my way to the bathroom. That’s essential.
Tuesday is going to be a really long day.