Friday, December 17, 2004

Reflections After Three Weeks on a New Job

I promise that I'm not going to keep doing this every week from now until the end of time. As long as the job continues to feel new, however, and as things keep occurring to me, this is as good of a way to address it as any.

If I'm going to continue my habit of visiting Wendy's for lunch each Friday (or whichever day happens to conclude a given work week), I may have to consider leaving a few minutes before noon on those days. Wendy's was extremely busy when I got there, and it took an inordinately long time for me to get my food. By the time I got there, though, I didn't really have time to change my mind and go elsewhere. Of course, it may just be a function of the Christmas season--this particular Wendy's is located near a major shopping center. It's rare for it to be quite this busy.

Of course, my cause wasn't helped by the traffic on the way there. I got caught by one traffic light because the car ahead of me was moving at a rate of speed that didn't even approach the speed limit for the road we were on. I got caught at a second traffic light after being forced to slam on my brakes to avoid a station wagon that decided it wanted to be in my lane, despite the fact that my car was already occupying part of the space it wanted to move into.

I haven't yet brought my book in to read on my lunch breaks on the days I don't go out for Wendy's. So far it's mostly because I keep forgetting, although I do think I would feel a little weird about burying myself in a book while sitting in a lunchroom with so many co-workers. If I had done it from the start I think I would have been okay, but I'm starting to get to a point where I know more people and there are always a few in there that I could talk to instead of reading. Also, since my job involves not just reading but actually scrutinizing words, it's probably not such a bad idea to give my eyes a break for that half an hour each afternoon.

Of course, it may eventually get to a point where I don't even need to take a break to eat during the day. There is always some type of food floating around our department. In the three weeks I've been there, two cakes have been brought in, as well as one extremely large chocolate-chip cookie. Beyond that, it's a rare day when someone doesn't walk through offering homemade candy or cookies they brought in to share. On one hand it's awesome, but on the other hand it's easy to see why some of the middle-aged women in my department have pretty significant weight problems. I'm all about yummy snacks, but some of these ladies seem to have an unhealthy obsession with sweets.

Another perk of this job is that there are in-house DVDs and videotapes called "screeners" that employees can sign out to take home and watch. These are all movies that have been recently released or in many cases haven't even been released yet, so it's pretty awesome to have free access to them. Yesterday I checked out Elf for Brandi and I to watch, and it was hilarious. I have a feeling this is something I'll be taking advantage of a lot, as I love movies. This week I'm going to try to snag I, Robot, although I'm also interested in Napoleon Dynamyte and Shaun of the Dead.

Sometime soon I need to check with those people who work in close proximity to my desk to ask if they have any objections if I bring in a radio for use during the day. One person in our department has one that she plays just loud enough for everyone to be able to hear, and she keeps it tuned to the local Top-40 station. Hearing the same crappy songs three or four times each day leaves me longing for a bullet in my head. One lady with a desk next to mine used the Internet on Friday to play Christmas songs all day. I would do something similar, but my computer isn't equipped with speakers. If I take in a radio, it'll probably stay tuned to ESPN Radio most of the time, with an occasional break for CDs.

For some reason it occurred to me today that in the fifteen business days I've been at this job, my boss has only been there for seven of them. That's less than half. It's not a big deal at all, but it's kind of interesting. In my last job I was more than used to absenteeism from the higher-ups, so it just kind of amuses me that it's been a similar situation so far. I don't think it's the norm at this new place. It just so happened that she went on vacation shortly after I started, and then two days this week she was out of town for some sort of convention in Chicago with another lady from our department.

I was thinking about that today, and it occurred to me that I wouldn't be totally against it if my job were to require occasional travel, provided it wasn't particularly frequent or always mandatory. Getting a free trip to Chicago would have been pretty cool, considering I can't really afford right now to ever go anywhere cool on my own time. Actually, the one and only time I've ever flown was for a business trip when I was working at Spring Hill. Along with a co-worker, I made the lengthy flight from Dayton, OH to Grand Rapids, MI. I really enjoyed the flight and the trip, despite the fact that it wasn't to anywhere that cool and we were there and back in the space of one day anyway. Oh, and I came down with a splitting headache before the flight back. Other than that, it was great, and it would be neat to have a chance to do it again sometime.

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