Note: I wrote this longhand, yesterday, in a steno book I found laying around this cube farm.
There is no way I can type a real live, no shit, blog post on the tiny thing that passes for a keyboard on my phone, so I am resorting to our caveman ways by etching this post onto an enormous slab of rock, otherwise known as writing longhand- the effort and hand cramping this is going to cause me to experience is roughly the same.
Speaking of which, DEAR JESUS, has it been a long time since I wrote anything longhand. I think I can finally write faster than I can think, meaning the words show up on the screen as they pop into my head… but here I keep tripping over the words while I write- my hand is scribbling the word in my head, which is actually ten words ahead of the last one physically written.
Anywho. That is not what we are here to discuss- the blistering speed of time as it passes or the miracles of modern technology as they supplant “old-fashioned” ways of communicating.
The first day of work- any work, really- I’ve had enough jobs in my life to know the first day experience is more or less the same, regardless of what company I happen to be working for.
I’m dressed to “succeed”- dress pants, heels, a button-down shirt. After seven months spent mostly in yoga pants covered in cat hair, the whole outfit is foreign, but it’s the bra that chafes (literally and figuratively) the most. I’ve forgotten how to make small talk, and even if I did remember, the names of the 15 people I’ve met in the last hour have evaporated into the ether.
The day starts with a thick binder of procedures and protocols, which I think was supposed to last me through the day, but I’m done poring through them by noon. It’s my speed and reading comprehension that got me hired in the first place, but a tiny part of me wishes I could have stretched it out longer. I fill out paperwork, photocopy my documents, and I head out for lunch, lining up at the greek place down the road with a bunch of other people sporting badges.
After that, a facility tour with the head of the safety department, the same spiel you’ve heard a million times if you work in pharmaceuticals- lab coat location, fire extinguishers, nearest exits. Being in California adds a new level of piquant, as there’s information about what’s expected of us in an earthquake. This makes me smile- the only earthquake I’ve ever experienced was in Seattle. I had no idea what to do then either. Apparently, I am now to huddle under my desk- these are the same instructions I received as a child in North Carolina, on the off-chance a hurricane managed to make it that far inland.
It’s 4:30pm now, and while there is finally a computer on my desk, it doesn’t have internet access yet, and even if it did, what would I do? Here in this open cube, there’s no private blog post, no quick glance at Twitter. Besides, I’ve been an employee here for 6.5 hours and I’m still on my best behavior. The imperative to look busy even when there is NOTHING to do is strong on the first days… I’m both bored out of my skull and strangely exhausted, even though in a typical day of my unemployment I would have already shopped, laundered, yoga-ed.
The first day of any job looks like this, I remind myself. I will eventually be given actual tasks to complete and goals to meet, and a sense of accomplishment will form as I legitimately add “technical writer” to my resume (make no mistake, it’s the “writer” part that thrills me the most). I’ll remember how to have work relationships, and I’ll get over my fear of dumb questions, and I’ll put out a work product I can be proud of.
In the meantime, I’ll hunch over this notebook, pretending to be busy, even though there’s no way I’m fooling anyone.