I've been at my new job for a few weeks now and with a few reservations (to be discussed) I'd say things are going pretty well. I've never really lived in the big city before so it's a bit of an adjustment. I'm more of a country mouse I guess. My cubicle mate Edgar ("Ed") said I've taken to my new job like a "fuck to water". This, according to Ed, is a play on words. Cussing aside I'm pretty jazzed about it. He was smiling when he said it so it's probably a good thing, right?
I love having my own computer and I'm consistently amazed by the people out there who'll email you without even having ever met you. If you'd told me that people I didn't know were this friendly I would have agreed with you but secretly, like in my head, I wouldn't have believed you. It really is a global village out there. I get emails from all over the place. The exiled sons of Nigerian diplomats, pharmaceutical companies, really friendly girls that are just...well, real open about their sexuality. Pretty brave actually. And their names are so diverse! Lassiter Obanion, Cyrillus Alejandro Pugh, Romeo Himmelfarb, Vilma Trijntje. It's so unfair. Makes me kind of mad at my parents.
Responding to all those emails makes the mornings go by pretty quickly but there's a period in the afternoon, usually when I really have to start getting down to work, where I start to kind of space out. It's during this time that I do a little "walkabout" (which is Australian for walking -- see "Crocodile Dundee"). Coming from a job where my co-workers were more like family to a place like this has been a big adjustment. I suppose that implies that I'm trying to adjust to life here when really what I'm doing is trying to make it just like how it was in the circus. In that sense I guess you could consider me a bit of a rebel or an outsider. Not unlike Paul Hogan (again see "Crocodile Dundee"...seriously, it's pretty good).
Back at my old job if I went up to talk to someone about something they wouldn't ignore me or pick up the phone and say, "Hello" even though the phone hadn't rang. In general people were up for conversation or at least polite nodding but around here everyone talks about:
a) how much they hate their job
b) how much they hate their life
c) how much they hate the weather
d how much they hate their co-workers (but not you)
e) how much they hate reality tv contestant x, y, or z
It's a little scary. Here's a conversation I just had with Lilly. She's a new student that just started here. She does database entry work (the modern day equivalent of shucking corn...assuming that was a job...at some point). I of all people know how hard it is trying to fit in at a new job so I thought I'd introduce myself.
Lilly: Sorry can't talk right now. Working.
Me: But this the staff break room? Hey! Nice!
We have to wear staff ID pictures on these little cards around our necks as a "security measure" (like I'm sure someone is going to try and break in and do all our work for us! HA! ). Lilly had one on and I thought it would be a good icebreaker to talk about it so I pointed at it and said, "Hey! Nice!". In my experience compliments are usually a pretty rad icebreaker. Well...usually.
And then she screamed really loudly and I just sort of ran away and hid in the washroom for a half hour. I wish I was better in social situations. I just don't really know how to handle myself at times. I'm pretty sure she thought I was talking about her blouse. Obviously she thought I was being sarcastic or something since I'm a guy and I don't know about blouses. God, she must think I'm really immature. Always running away from my problems. And on top of that she totally doesn't know who I am! Pervinder is in Shipping. He's South Asian and I'm sure he wouldn't be offended if I said he was slightly overweight (he wears it well though...honestly). I, on other hand, am completely covered in hair and slightly underweight. I mean come on!
Who knows. Maybe she usually wears glasses. I don't think that was really representative of her character. She seemed
really nice. She was all smiles on her ID. Well, more of a Mona Lisa type though. Kind of a wry smile but definitely smiling. Definitely.
Anyhow, I can't help but think I'm doing something wrong here. I talked to Quentin about it and he said it was because I was "Count Talkula". I thought that sounded scary so I asked him how I could better assimilate into the corporate culture (that's middle management speak for "fit in" -- I'm eyeing a promotion). He asked if I had a "hate on" for anything. I didn't really understand him so I said I did. When he asked what it was I just belly laughed and said, "Everything!" y'know just so I covered all the bases (I find laughter makes anything easier to swallow -- the louder the better in my opinion). And that was that. Now there's some new girl where Quentin used to sit and she won't say anything to me. I asked what her name was and she said, "It's none of your business". And I said, "Oh, a woman of the cloth?". NUN! Icebreaker's people! You're supposed to laugh at them! God knows they're not easy to come up with!
Sometimes I feel a little like this hamster