Saturday, December 17, 2011

First week in my new life

Well, I survived a whole week of work! I didn't think I would ever say this, but so far I really like work. I am still in training, but I really like what I see. The company is well organized, and very disciplined. They have well laid out policies and people have well defined jobs. I'm a software tester/specialist, so I've been primarily learning about the systems and layouts, and hanging over one of the other tester's shoulder and watching him work, and I really think I will have no problem handling the work, once I figure out where all the databases are located! But for now I'm just soaking up everything I can and learning, learning, learning.

As far as the company goes, I would say they are nicer to their employees than any company I've ever worked for. They brag to their customers that they have only a 5% turnover in employees over the 20 years they have been in business! I can see why. They have bonuses, a generous time off policy, free coffee and cocoa, free pop, bowls of fresh fruit, and a friendly atmosphere. This week they had everyone trying on shirts to order company logo shirts - everyone gets three, and they wanted us to pick our favorite colors and try them on to be sure they'd fit so we would actually wear them :) You might not expect the friendly atmosphere, because the business is very strict in some ways. Because it is a high security company, everything is in lock down, everyone has security passes and they are used to unlock doors between offices, and everything is tracked. The email is for company correspondences only, and all conversations are saved, same with IM. Phones must be on vibrate in the office, but can be checked and used at breaks and lunchtime. The internet is for business use only, and I'm sure it is tracked as well. There is no private use of the internet, even during breaks, because it would look bad for a customer tour to come through and see Facebook up on a computer!

Even with these restrictions, people are really happy there, and very hard-working. Everyone has their nose to the grindstone. In IT, as in all IT offices I've ever worked in, things are a little more relaxed than down in production where they are trying to meet performance goals. In IT the productivity is measured differently, and sometimes a 15 minute report ends up taking two hours when things don't turn out to be as simple as they appear. But still, not like any office I've been in before. These folks are hard working, well paid, and happy to do it. I haven't heard anyone say anything bad about the company.

And I have to say, it's contagious. I was really dreading going back to work, but I'm actually enjoying it. It's kind of nice to be away from the farm and around new people and new situations. I really enjoy trouble shooting and problem solving, and so software testing is right up my alley!

Years ago, I traded money for time at home, and I quit my job and came home and we tried to make it on the toy business and starting a little farm. The farm didn't work out, and the toy business got pummeled in the economy, so I had to go back to work. But it's hard to go from complete freedom to 8 hours a day away from home. But that's the way it is, and most of the rest of the country does it too, so I just have to get used to it. Only seeing my husband and dogs for a few hours before bed, and an hour in the morning is pretty tough. Luckily they expect this job to transition to telecommuting eventually, so I'll hold onto that hope!

The commute adds a little over an hour to each end of my day. Half an hour to drive to the bus stop/park & ride, and then 30-45 minutes on the bus. I like riding the bus though, I can't imagine getting downtown any other way. I just sit back and nap or read a book, and they do what they have to do. In order to get around the traffic as much as possible, the drivers talk to each other over the radio and figure out different routes to take. I have been on the bus reading and looked up and found our bus in some surprising places, but the bus always gets us where we're going, and pretty much within the right time, so I have no complaints. Since these are commuter routes, there's no shady characters like I used to see riding the buses downtown when I was a kid, just regular working folks, relaxing and reading their kindles or iPads. I bring a book.

So I'd have to say my overall impression is 'so far - so good'. I can't believe I'm working in Downtown Portland! I spent a year looking for a job, and most of the time I restricted my search to Vancouver, because I didn't want a long commute. But I'm glad I extended my reach a bit. I'm getting in some reading on the bus rides, and I'm kind of star-struck being in the BIG CITY! There are skyscrapers there, for Pete's sake! Bicycle messengers, bums, Pioneer Square, every sort of person you could imagine, all the lights and colors and sounds. I'm looking forward to taking my camera along and getting some pictures soon! It's like a whole different world!



Goofy said...

You have such a positive outlook. :) I'm glad for you.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Sounds all so very exciting! Your brain is on over-stimulation mode right now and everything seems so new and interesting. Eventually, you'll settle in and everything will become second nature and more relaxed.
The commute doesn't sound too bad either, especially the part where you let the bus drivers do all the driving while you can read or relax before your work day.
I'm not a city person so I'd be hoping for the telecommuting option to open up as soon as possible, especially with the price of gas and with bad weather.

But in this economy, a good job is a rare thing, so you just have take the best of you are doing, and enjoy!



RobbieKay said...

I still check in on your blog when I get a chance and just wanted to congratulate you on your new job. What a double blessing that it's a job you enjoy, too, and not just a paycheck.

heather said...

Congratulations on the new job and all of the new experiences that are bound to be a part of it !