Day four of a new job is better than day three, which is better than day two, which is far better than day one. Day one is like the first day of middle school. Every time.
Now that I have achieved day four, however, I know some things. I know where the coffee is, the name of two thirds of my colleagues, and which printer to select. I know that it takes between sixteen and twenty minutes to walk to work, depending on the route, and that includes getting up the elevator to my desk. I know that teleconferencing is exponentially more awkward if you’ve never met anyone involved, and that from my gorgeous view on the seventeenth floor, Dorton Arena looks exactly like a Pringle, nestled carefully in the Raleigh landscape.
I do not know, however, where the binders are, exactly how “casual” “casual Friday” will be, or how to pedestrian commute with grace. Pedestrian commuting requires a level of consideration for your footwear above and beyond the normal call of wardrobing. One must make it into the office in professional attire, and one must commute in walkable shoes without looking like, say, Dianne Keaton in an eighties movie about working women in business suits with ruffled collars and Reeboks, power-walking down Fayetteville Street. My new work bag, on day four, looked like this:
Is that too much stuff? If you answered yes, you are clearly male. Or not a pedestrian commuter. Or not in Week One of a new job. Because, of course, you have the walk-to-work shoes, and your I-got-a-new-job-where-I-can-dress-like-a-girl shoes, and your I-didn’t-realize-how-badly-these-wedges-would-hurt shoes, just in case. (I didn’t need the back-ups. Those canary yellow ones are surprisingly comfortable. Also, I am a writer, and therefore can sit on my duff all day in pretty shoes.) You also need a jacket, in case it’s overly air-conditioned on a 90 degree May day, and a water bottle, and fizzy water for when it’s 3 pm and you can’t think straight any more. And you need your third cup of coffee, and 100+ sunblock, because You Just Never Know. (As my mother told me as a teenager, “There are two things in this world you don’t have to be, and that’s sunburned, or pregnant.” So, okay. 100+ sunblock, at all times. Thanks Mom.)
I had a complete meltdown after I got home the first day. That wasn’t really job related, though. I just missed Dawg all day, and when I got home I accidentally bonked him in the face with the metal end of the leash, which triggered a massive wave of guilt and an emotional cascade about change, commitment, becoming a writer rather than an architect, moving on. You know. All good things. Even good change will unravel you, though, if you get up at 6 a.m. after ten weeks off, and entrust a stranger to walk your Dawg in the middle of the day for the first time while trying to make a good first impression on your new grown-up office.
At my fantastic new job, we work long days Monday-Thursday in the offices with beautiful views, and leave at noon and wear jeans on Fridays. Tomorrow’s my first half-day casual day.
I think I’m going to like it here.