You guys. I finished my first week of my new job.
First of all, did you know that you can work somewhere where people are all really nice and nobody is snarky? It’s true. I mean obviously it’s only been a week and everyone is probably on their best behavior and also really excited because wow, do I have a lot of responsibilities to take off their hands. I’m not complaining. I like being busy and I am going to know soooo many people. But no fewer than three officemates have told me I have entirely too many clients within the university. Like, triple what I should have, apparently? So that’s exciting. I’m looking forward to failing them all miserably.
I spent the week doing important things like having meetings with major players in university administration and also figuring out how the hell to work the phone. I couldn’t even log into a computer until Wednesday, so I was re-learning what it was like to write things out longhand and not be able to send email. I could place and receive calls, so that wasn’t a problem… I just didn’t have voicemail until Thursday.
I had to make a copy once. That was embarrassing. Here’s me, college-educated, working at a university, 16 years as a professional, and I couldn’t figure out how to make the copier go.
You need a code.
But now? Except for not understanding why the printer that’s directly under my desk doesn’t print, and not knowing where anything I print actually goes, everything is up and running! I even figured out how to find someone else’s scheduling calendar in Outlook. In my previous career, there was nothing like this. I didn’t know computers had made it possible for me to see the scheduling calendar for literally every blessed person on staff at a university.
I find it a little creepy, to be honest.
On Tuesday, I asked the administrative assistant if we had any of those big desk calendars – you know, the ones with the big squares for each day so you can write a bunch of stuff in there? I was teased for not just doing it all in my phone, but my phone is always dinging and buzzing about something and I start ignoring it, so that’s not really the best way to go. Anyway, the AA told me she’d order me one.
Next morning. On my desk. “It’s not very pretty, but there wasn’t much of a selection,” she said apologetically. As if I need a pretty desk calendar. I’m still in shock I got something I asked for immediately and without question. I come from a place where they line-item veto $0.26 worth of staples on a supply request.
I did not make that up.
Oh! And I have an officle. That’s what I call it. Hard C, like “cat.” It’s not quite an office because it doesn’t have a door, so it’s more like a cubicle, but bigger, and there’s a window! Remember how I used to work in a basement? Now I’m on the fourth floor with a window. Right there! Big ol’ view! Blinds I’m allowed to adjust whenever I choose!
And you know what else? I can be away from my desk for hours and nobody questions whether I’m doing my job. In fact, they assume I’m doing it, by being out, having meetings and getting familiar with campus. Which is exactly what I have been doing when I’ve been away from my desk, except for the four hours of my life that HR owes me for the timesuck that was orientation. Three people in this session, including myself, and it took four freaking hours. I’ve never seen so much PowerPoint in my life. And soooo much paperwork. Just to exist. Just to get on the payroll. At a state university, you have to fill out 427 forms and they can’t put you on payroll until they get allll of them back. Including your retirement selection, your health insurance selection and your fingerprints. Yes, you have to be fingerprinted. Which should be reassuring since it is a place that shapes young minds.
Oh, but you can get into buildings and work and stuff before they find out whether you’re an ax murderer. You just can’t get paid until they’re sure you’re not.
On Tuesday, there was a breakfast meeting that featured actual hot food. Eggs, home fries, sausage, bacon… plus pastry, fruit salad, yogurt, coffee, water, juices… and the whole meeting was called solely so that the boss could thank everyone for working so hard. Apparently she does this every couple months.
Previous career: there might be an email from the boss once every three clusterfucks saying how glad he is to work with such smart people, but that email would be lost in a shuffle of 4,281 other emails about how we suck. And on Fridays there might be a rumpled brown bag of bagels and schmears of cream cheese all over a table in the breakroom. Tops.
People kept coming by all week and asking how I was, how things were going, telling me how happy they were to have me there, and offering help all over the place while I get acclimated. One guy, the guy I share a wall with (he has an office-office) left me a donut while I was at a meeting, and then came back and confessed he thought he’d gotten me a croissant because I seem more like a croissant person and donuts are too pedestrian. (He’s right about my preference in pastry.) I learned he had not gotten donuts and/or croissants for everyone. Just some people. He also threw a Ferraro Roche candy on my desk. Clearly he’s trying to butter me up.
Now, those of you who have been playing the home version of my particular game of life might be wondering, “But, thesinglecell… what of that man you dated, Rick?” Well, I had decided, on my first day, that I would go say hello. His office is one floor below mine and he did help a lot and encourage me a lot when I was up for the job. But he wasn’t around that day. I saw him Tuesday instead. We sat in his office and chatted for at least half an hour, mostly about university- and legislation-related stuff. The next day, he came up to my officle with a newspaper in his hand, to show me (rather triumphantly) an article about a national effort to accomplish something we had worked on together on the state level for victims’ rights. We had nothing to do with the national thing, but it did piggyback off of our thing, which was pretty cool, and he was totally excited about it.
And then on Thursday, one of his big projects landed on my desk. It falls under the purview of two of my clients. I needed to get more info, so I emailed him, told him I was now on the project and asked him for whatever pertinent facts he could provide.
“I”ll stop up in 30 minutes,” he replied.
Ten minutes later, he was in my officle. He could have just emailed me, but he came up. And now guess who’s going to the site visit and the groundbreaking for the project? Me. Also him.
We looked at each other.
“Who would have thought,” I said.
“I know,” he said.
See, I really was hoping to minimize the number of times I have to see him all dressed up in a suit looking incredibly hot and stuff. But noooo. Right from jump, we’re pushed together again, after two years of strange pushings-together that seem (to those of us who are hopeless romantics slash terribly cursed in relationships) fated to lead to more, despite inner turmoil that has already pulled us begrudgingly apart.
Oh, universe. You are just hilarious.