A professional hobo
As of yesterday, I have been at my new job for a whole month.
I’m still reading a lot, adding to my literature survey with clinical trial protocols, but I’m on the cusp of starting my first manuscript projects. I hope that what I’ve learned from all of this studying will transfer to the page once I’m confronted with the blank page. On my team, the systems are still developing, and I’m still navigating who does what and when. There’s a new person joining our team in 2 weeks, and then the real work project management strategy will begin. I’m trying not to jump ahead too quickly to logistics, but I can already see the gaps in how things go now. It’s a fine line between being proactive and overstepping, and I’d much rather err on the proactive side. Regardless, I’m optimistic about the contribution I can make, even though I know that it will take time.
I have a few cautious expectations for this job. Primarily, I hope to be very competent in communicating about the disease state and product and become a reliable source of information and standards for good publication practice. But I also want this company to be my professional home. I’m a little disappointed with myself that this is my 4th job since graduating from college 7 years ago. When I called my MIL to tell her the new job news, I said, “So, I got yet another job!” Yes, “yet another.” It’s a running joke in the family about who has the record for job changes, and my BIL and I are neck in neck. What’s my problem? Why couldn’t anything stick? I know, it’s typical of the Millennials, and each of my previous job changes has made sense, but I felt like a professional hobo. I want to put down roots and start building a legacy, and I really hope to do that here.
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For each new employee, the HR department suggests a series of meetings with folks around the company to give the new hire an overview of all of the departments and the structure of the organization. It is, unfortunately, called an assimilation plan. Uhh, whatever! Anyway, I have been making appointments with people on my list — you know how much I like to check things off a list — and I’ve had a lot of good conversations with the head honchos around this place. Everyone has been very open to my meeting requests, and they seem happy that I’ve joined the company.
On the flip side, these meetings terrify me. When I contact person I have never met, I write a few lines about when I started and the nature of my job. I list the suggested topics from the assimilation plan and thank the person for considering taking the time to meet with me. Then, 5 minutes before the meeting, I figure out where the person sits from a blurry, outdated facility map on the intranet, knock quietly on the doorjamb, and say, “Hi, I’m RA. Is this a good time?” For the next half hour, I smile, nod, and take rapid notes. I just feel so very conscious that I’m new and one of the youngest people at the company, and then there is the whole business of making appointments with new people who are way above me in the organizational chart, and agh. I mean, I know it’s good for me. I can’t just hide in my cubicle and burrow into my research and outlines. I literally have to get out of my box.
To their credit, my team has been really nice, and I’m doing my best to grease the wheels with baked goods. So far, I’ve brought a cake-sized peanut butter brownie and a giant cheesecake, and I think I’m one treat away from winning them over. One guy keeps saying, “This is amazing!” and “Such talent!” and “This is the best thing I’ve ever had!” and I can’t help but think, Man, the bar is really low here. A batch of giant chocolate chip cookies should do the trick, I think.
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For my self portrait project in my photography class, I submitted a picture of me frosting a cake while wearing my baking apron that reads, “Eat your veggies.” However, I took another picture for the assignment during the last week of my old job. I felt like it embodied how my future was fresh before me. I was starting on a new page, a blank slate, and all of those cliches in that Natasha Bedingfield song. But then I didn’t feel like going through all of that in a classroom full of practical strangers, so I went with the baking picture instead. So, instead, I’m sharing it with you, all of you lovelies who have encouraged me. The blank page is scary, but it’s exciting, too. Thanks so much being excited alongside me.