Sunday, April 5, 2009

Whirldwind Week

Where do I begin...ok. After a very speedy hiring process I finally began at my new job on this past Wednesday. It was more than I imagined. Just walking on the premises was fulfilling, but it was very difficult, and I will explain why.

Wednesday, a day I both feared and eagerly anticipated arrived in a flash. I awoke that morning with a familiar feeling. Fear, excitement, apprehension molded into a driving force that coalesced in the pit of my stomach. It was the same feeling that I had had when I had first moved back to Miami with my family and I was preparing to begin middle school; the same feeling as my first day of high school AND my first day of college. An innate instinctual reaction had built up inside of me. Again I had the opportunity to create a whole person from nothing. No one knew me. I could take all the things that I liked from other people and use them to transform myself into something wholly admirable.

I very nearly did not take the chance. I was frustrated from not being able to find a true source of transportation. I had to be at the facility for training at 6am. It was the only training class available. I cringed initially at what waking up that early everyday for 12 weeks would mean for my sleeping habits, but I recalled the pay and shook the thought. Wasn't this the chance that I had prayed for? The one that I had seen everyone get and squander? I had told myself that if I ever got my foot in the door that I would never carelessly let something like this elude my grasp. My phone's dull ring tone broke the six a.m. silence. It was the cab driver telling me that he was downstairs. I glanced once more in the mirror to check my appearance. It offered me a glimpse of realization that this was really happening.

The cab driver knew exactly where I needed to go. That did not stop him from passing the turn. He offered up an empty apology. I told him to stop. I paid him and walked back to the building that housed my future. It only took my half a mile on foot to reach the water fountain that the HR lady had told me would be my signal that I had reached the correct building. I strode up to the golden double doors. This feature seemed to be a recurring symbol among the corporate buildings for this company.

I pulled my new badge from my pocket and fixed it to my belt. The badge is designed to be a name tag and entry key for employees. I scanned my badge over the black sensor situated next to the golden rotating door. I waited, yet nothing happened. I scanned it again. Still nothing. I stepped to an alternate set that allowed security to admit visitors. Through the glass I could see the guard sitting behind the desk. He let me in and greeted me. I told him it was my first day and my card was not functioning properly. He scanned it over his own pad at the security counter. His facial expression told me that something wasn't quite right. He made an adjustment and handed it back to me .

After he seemed satisfied with whatever he fixed, I asked for directions to the bathroom. He told me and I skirted the security station and entered the corridor leading from the vestibule. The place was simply beautiful. There was a considerable amount of detail put into the design and it showed. The very first wall had a expertly crafted collage denoting the history of the company, from its' founding by three brothers half a century ago, to its' international expansion in recent years. I was further rewarded with a lounge area next to the restrooms. It was quite large. I was impressed. My awe didn't last long as another security guard approached me. He asked that I come with him.

I was escorted back to the security station that I had visited shortly before. There seemed to be some joke that I was not in on. They again asked for my badge, scanned it and stared at the screen. They made another adjustment and I received my badge back. The officer that had escorted me back gave me a quick tour, showing me the lounge (that I had already discovered), the restrooms, and my training classroom. Though I was paying attention, I was also looking for signs of cameras. The officer had found me so quickly that it had unnerved me.

I was not able to spot a single camera during our tour, which culminated with us getting coffee in the lounge where he had found me. Eventually the time came and I carefully retraced our tour to the classroom where I would be prisoner for 12 weeks. Our trainer introduced himself and my first day officially started. Eight hours later I realized that we had done nothing but joke and talk. It was the easiest day of work in memory.

I had decided the night before to implement a new strategy with this job. I wanted a low profile. I disdain attention. I means that someone is always watching me. It means that expectations rise and my berth of responsibility grows. I would do everything to fight that at this job I told myself. So, when the trainer took roll I had already decided to not answer too many questions, not to correct anyone, not to use any "big" words, not to try and shine in any fashion. I just wanted to be average all around, an ordinary student. Then he asked the question that I had been dreading. He wanted to know who the bilingual employees were. A young lady raised her hand. I resolutely left mine flat on the desk. In my world, this was a set up. If I raised my hand it would tie me to a set of expectations that I was not willing to embrace just yet. The trainer looked around the room confused. He said that he thought there were more bi-lings that just her. So, he went for the profiles. He asked, "Who is E?" My stomach dropped. Our eyes met as I slowly raised my hand. He sat the paper down, satisfied at having ID-ed the other bi-ling. Then he made a reference as to whether anyone could speak anything else. My hand rose on its' on accord and I told him that I was literate in French.

Oh, how I wish I could take this back, because it wasn't long after that that I received my nickname, on the first day no less! I'm am now known as "The Interpreter". Far too much attention I told myself as I resolved to say nothing for the remainder of the training. Then as if to remind me that WHEREVER I go there will be something that points me out, I am visited once more by security. Oh yes, they came to my class. Again, they requested my badge. They left and returned with it later. This time I was told the reason for their puzzled looks. It turns out that my badge belonged to a 47 year old white guy that was terminated recently. No one altered the credentials in the system and when it was scanned, the guy's face popped up instead of mine! After a few laughs we settle down. So much for the my plan of laying low. When I came in on Tuesday I would find that half the building now knew the story.

In spite of my plans being thrown slightly of whack, the rest of the day went well. A friend came and picked me up afterward and we went to Panera Bread. It was soooooooo good. One of the good things about starting the day so early is that it ends early also, and I had lots of time to hang out and have fun afterward. I do find that I am still heavily scheduled at my other job. I found a bus that actually stops close to the building of my awesome job and puts me out close to my retail job, so I am in effect balancing the two rather well. I had to work at both jobs on Thursday and Friday, so it was a test run for me as to whether I could effectively do both jobs. The results were pleasing. I think the most appealing part is that I have now have two incomes!


J said...

i think the day sounded like a success and i like the nickname and if nothing else came out of it, you now have a great story to tell about your first day at your new job.

my first day working was hoeeible, i just kept dropping things.

Seth said...

I was originally going to say, I think security sounds rather intense there. But then, it also sounds rather.... incompetent in ways.

First, any half-way serious corporate security office would immediately terminate an access badge of any employee that was fired. So, at the very least, it should come up "unknown" or blank or whatever. LOL.

I worked in a building once where, if an employee was being terminated (with no notice) they showed up for work, got stopped at the lobby desk by the Manager, along with a security guard or two, (their access pass had actually already been terminated) and were then escorted to empty their locker. plus, a notice with a face picture was posted at the lobby desk.

guards at the lobby desk should not be able to "make an adjustment" at their station - that should be a central security office / supervisor feature.

But anyway, I'm just totally security-geeking-out here. ps: with modern cameras you can't see them LOL.

glad you've got the job and it's working out for you plus the second income - wow. lucky!! :)

ps: you could probably have a worse nickname, no? :)

Aek said...

I like the nickname. :) You could carry a lot of weight with a nickname like that, haha.

I hear ya on the laying low and responsibility thing. I always somehow get myself in over my head. I'm resolved to keep myself under control in med school, so I don't spontaneously combust from the stress.

Congrats on the new job again! Sounds like it's going to be great!! :D