Since I became old enough to vote, I’ve signed my name on the offer letter for 5.5 internships and 3.0 full-time jobs. I’ve started jobs in the spring, summer, fall, and even winter. I’ve worked in jobs in 4 states and 2 continents; in big office buildings with fancy Greek-sounding names and in a small dusty room called my bedroom. And since, I can’t even say I got paid for each of them, I only can say that the one similarity across them is that each had a “day one.”
That first day is always full of trepidation and/or excitement and this latest iteration was no different…wait, who I am kidding? I had no conflicted feelings at all. I knew exactly I wanted…I just wanted to go back to overcrowded, commercialized beach in Thailand. Barring that, I just wanted to go sit in an overcrowded, commercialized noodle shop in Hong Kong.
No, but actually, I was pretty geek’d to start on this job, if for no other reason than that I just wanted to figure out what I had got myself into. Contrary to my job description as an “research analyst” – I did very little diligence on the firm or the job titles. Instead, I fell back on the age-old wisdom of, “anything must be be something better” or g.i.g.s. Is it immaturity of not know what I want to do or finally maturity from realizing that a job is just a job is just a job and you can only expect so much out of it and so you shouldn’t waste time over-thinking it? As you can tell from my longer description, I’m hoping it’s the latter.
So, internal monologue aside, I walk into (yet-another-Midtown-skyscraper) preparing to actually have real conversations with people in dress shirts for the first time in over a month. Scary.
The thing about the having no expectations is that I also face no surprises. I sat down at my desk…and promptly got ignored – because everyone around me is, gulp, actually doing their job. I get an Outlook invite for orientation and…no one tells me where to go and when I’m going. In fact, it’s the first semi-real “orientation” session I’ve gone to in my life. Every job before this was either too short or too small – hold the jokes – to warrant an official training manual that. Put it this way – I finally got to participate in a 401k program!
Meanwhile, as I learned about how my new job doesn’t have vacation days (yet again), I came to slightly more profound realization that I might just be the youngest person in the entire firm. I looked in the room, in the hall, in the trading floor, even in the bathroom, and I’m pretty sure everyone was at least 10 years older than me. Either that or white people age
really badly gracefully, seriously.
Combine that with the fact that I’m working at a company larger than 200 people (3,000! – though our relatively silo’d off group is only 4) and it’s safe to say I’ve entered the big league/the show/the majors – except I’ve got no perks anymore (this is how a company makes money). Otherwise than those contemplations, I mostly spent the first week trying to figure out if I like being a big monk in a small monastery or a small young monk in a big monastery – fish/pond for non-Asians.