Tag Archives: new job

(Another) new beginning.

A few weeks back I started a new job that’s shrouded in confidentiality agreements and requires a badge to come and go. While there’s some middle-aged appeal to taking on secret-agent status, most of my recent daily adventures are not exactly mine to share.

All proprietary details aside, I will say that there’s nothing like onboarding at a new gig to stir things up. The beauty of being the new guy means there’s no routine to abide by—you’re free reevaluate and reestablish how you do your thing. What exactly does it take to be a good employee? What, if anything, should I be doing for my community as a result of making a living wage? Is there some magical equation that can solve the work-life balance conundrum?

The only problem is that I’m short on revelations and epiphanies. So far, the only conclusion I’ve come up with is to worry less. Somewhere between my ever-growing resume and the endless quest for the perfect place to live, I guess I’ve come to terms with the fact that adulthood is a wonderful mess of unpredictable occurrences, coincidence and a responsibility to to those around you to simply be cool. I’m going to give that a try today and see how it goes. You know that old saying? Once the badge is scanned, anything can happen? Here goes.

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Top five.

On the first day at my new gig, I received a welcome-to-the-team questionnaire that’s been sitting blank next to my air mattress for nearly a week. The ask? Describe five interesting things about myself.

Here are the top five reasons I still haven’t filled the thing out:

  • I don’t exactly jump at the chance to talk about myself unless someone asks in person. And if it has to be about me, then I’d rather know five things you think make me interesting.
  • What’s considered interesting is terribly subjective—especially in the context of a corporate environment.
  • Besides my fetish for relocation, I fear I may not be that interesting. I’m a Midwest kid that got a college degree and went to work in advertising. I drink too much coffee, indulge too often in great food and will probably die of heart disease like 65% of the country.
  • I like to watch. With the exception of cycling, I’m not into any crazy extracurricular activities and I have very little interest in learning. When it comes to spending time with people, I’d rather find a great restaurant, drink a few beers and talk. Simple pleasures, I suppose.
  • Fives, tens, twenties…lists are annoying. This list is a great example. Numbers always create tension for me.

I’ve overthought this, but I have a tendency to overthink everything. Perhaps that would qualify as an interesting trait that I can add to the list?

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Soft announcement.

Back when I was a dumb kid, I dropped out of architecture school, sold most of my stuff and moved to Oakland, CA. It was my first attempt to leave the Midwest behind and it was short-lived. Now, with slightly more support from my family, the west coast relocation plan has been initiated a second time.

With roughly 30 days to get everything in order, I’m reminded that major life changes are never quite as riveting as you imagine they’ll be. Logistics interrupt the sensation of excitement and planning quickly turns the unknown into blatant reality. The fuzzy fantasy is suddenly under harsh fluorescent bulbs.

What am I going to do with this ___________?

Why do I own this ___________?

Do I really want to carry this ___________ up thirteen flights of stairs?

17 years ago my approach was simple. I made sure I had my music and my clothes. Today, as the owner of three cars, two BBQ grills and a house full of furniture, I think I need to summon my inner 19-year-old and apply to same logic to this move. Take what matters most and leave the rest behind. Sell it. Gift it. Leave it on peoples’ desks at work while they’re out of town on vacation. After all, I still believe today what I learned back then—it’s just stuff. And as un-American as it sounds, stuff does not define a person as much as it seems to weigh them down.

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