March 29, 2006: First Day at Word in New Jersey

Well today is the day. I was up at 5:50 this morning to be sure that I had plenty of time to get ready and fight my way through traffic up to my very first day at my new job here in New Jersey. We had a little scare there two days ago and we were concerned that the job might not really come to fruition but, for the moment, everything is looking good.

I hit the breakfast buffet in the hotel just long enough to get an apple juice and a yogurt before I headed to the car to head out into traffic. Traffic near the hotel was completely nuts. It took fifteen minutes or so just to get out onto the expressway that the hotel sits right on. But after that the drive wasn’t bad at all and I managed to get to work just a little after 8:00. I wasn’t due to report in until 8:30 so I got some time to just sit and relax and to talk on the cell before actually going in and starting the day.

Unlike most jobs of this nature that seem to be completely unprepared for you to actually start working for several weeks after you first arrive (I think that there may be some bizarre inverse relationship between the expected length of your professional engagement with the amount of time it takes to get you to the point where you can actually perform useful functions in an organization… but I digress) I actually got my own office cubicle by mid-day, my email was turned on and ready, my network logon worked, my telephone was turned on and I had not one, but two computers and three LCD monitors ready for me. Yes, I have two 19″ LCDs on one computer (Windows) and one 17″ LCD on my SUN workstation. Yeah baby (or, if you are Bob, “Yeah Dude!”) I even got a pen, a notepad and a “Welcome to New Jersey” booklet. My security badge is even all taken care of and I can walk right into work now without having to call anyone. So far I am really impressed. This never happens. Even when I was at IBM things didn’t go nearly this smoothly. And my computers are even decently modern. Not old junk that they just had lying around. I do actually have a newer computer on its way but it got shipped to the wrong location so this is my temp that I am using right now. I guess that I am getting a newer one.

Mostly my first day was pretty slow. I spent my time learning my way around, getting to know people as best as I could, I had one meeting, lunch, orientation stuff, etc. I took off at 5:00. First days never hold much interest in reality. It was actually pretty hard to stay awake through all of the orientation videos, presentations, audio things, etc. Boring. But at least a lot of it is out of the way now. There is some hope that I will be doing some serious classroom work in the next several weeks while there is time. Soon I will be pretty bogged down with “responsibility” and won’t be nearly as available for educational pursuits. I suppose actual work has to be done at some point. Oh yes, tomorrow I get a BlackBerry as well. I have never had one so it will be of interest to me to see what all of the hype and hoopla is all about.

Everyone at work was really nice. I think that I am really going to enjoy my time there. I think that I have a lot to learn from this environment and I hope that I am able to bring them some serious intellectual value but it will be some time before we can determine that. Everyone is definitely approaching the situation with an eye towards this being a permanent arrangement which is encouraging.

I got back to hotel at 5:30 and promptly ordered in some dinner. I had little food all day and was pretty hungry. I needed some protein. Lunch was at Quiznos but I didn’t get that much food. It was my first time at Quiznos. Everyone back in New York is always joking about how many Quiznos commercials we see while never being able to really find one of the stores. Well I finally managed to eat at one and the verdict is… they aren’t very likely to survive in New York. Sure they are better than Subway but that doesn’t mean very much in my book. They sure aren’t Cooks Gas Station, Aunt Cookies, Wegmans, Dibella’s, etc. New York just does food better than most places and cookie cutter sub shops just don’t cookie cut it in the Upstate. Too bad more Americans weren’t more culinarily demanding!

Danielle will appreciate this: I found out at lunch today that I am working in the building right next to the building where Devin Richards used to work when he lived in New Jersey. The company that I am working for bought the entire campus from the company that he had worked for and I am in building B and he was in building C which is right out of my window. How funny is that! He is the only person that I have ever known that worked or lived in New Jersey.

In additional good Scott news today, my degree program at Empire State College (SUNY Empire) got its first round of approval finally today and the paperwork has been sent on to the regional whomever to get the ball rolling. With any luck I might even have a degree by the end of the year. Not bad for someone who finished all of his classes in 2004. Oh wait, isn’t that how it is supposed to work? Maybe my impression of graduation is skewed after having completed my Associates degree in 1997 but not finding out about it until 1999! Yeah, these things actually happen to me.

Other than that my life is pretty boring here in my lonely New Jersey hotel room. There is nothing on the television – there are only a few channels here. All I have is my laptop and a few books and a two liter of Diet Coke. I uploaded a number of awesome Oreo pictures to Flickr this evening. They were stored on the card that I brought down with me. They were all taken with the Nikon D50. I think that they turned out really well. Be sure to actually go to Flickr and check them out since only the last three show up on my little Flickr badge there and there are a few of them. I uploaded my Flickr limit for the month so don’t expect anything new to be showing up until April (which is just around the corner!) Maybe you will even get treated to some New Jersey pics!

I really miss my puppy. It would be awesome if we could find out that this job was really likely to go long term soon because it would make it a lot easier for Dominica and Oreo to look into moving down here. Commuting back and forth is going to get really awful really quickly. Although my boss thinks that there is a really possibility of me working Saturdays so that I can make Sunday – Monday my weekend which would mean that Dominica and I could see each other for a whole two days instead of just one. That is going to be a real problem if we don’t figure something out. But I am also expected to be able to usually work from home one day a week (20% of the time is a TON) which will make things even easier. It really sounds like the flexibility down here is going to be awesome.

Tomorrow night is my final night in the hotel for the week. I am looking forward to getting home. Unfortunately next week will be a day longer down here without getting to go back home. My plan is to go see about that apartment tomorrow night. I was hoping to not have to do that after just two days of work but it looks like I am going to have to. Originally I was going to have three days of work before I had to talk to them but you can’t win them all. But if I wait at all on the apartment I will lose their free one month promotion and that will lower the cost significantly. And every two weeks in the hotel pays for another month in the apartment so it pays to get it pretty quickly. And once I get an apartment then Dominica and Oreo can come down and visit me sometimes and keep me from having to drive home every weekend. Not to mention being able to actually leave some stuff behind and actually be set up. Setting up and breaking down a hotel room every few days is exhausting. I am looking forward to having a comfortable computer office chair again, a desktop to call my own, a nice monitor with some contrast and a bookshelf to store my books on. Of course, I will be without a bed or an Internet connection so that will be a bit of a pain until I get that all figured out. This stuff can never be easy, can it?

Dominica called at 10:00 so that we could talk before going to bed. She had to drive down to Pavilion to dad’s house so that she can pick up Oreo.

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