The big thing I clearly remember that day was that I wore heels, and by the end my feet were absolutely positively killing me. I'd called HR, and they told me to dress nicely because I'd get my badge photo taken and all that, so I wore uncomfortable shoes to make the whole outfit work. Big mistake. Yes, there was the three seconds of photo, but the rest of the day I was being led around like a puppy, walking everywhere.
I thought HR was just cruel, not to have told me to wear comfortable shoes. Now I know that HR barely knows what engineering is. Yes, my contact there told me to call her for everything, she arranged my relocation, gave me my interview schedule and told me who to ask for in the engineering building. But she had no freaking clue where or who I'd be after 7:45 on September 3rd. And honestly, people who work in HR do wear cute shoes and "outfits"... because they don't walk through airplane hangars or climb into cockpits.
I also remember being super excited about meeting everybody, because I just thought they were all so wonderful... now I size people up in horribly judgmental ways. Are you an engineer? A pilot? Can you e-mail, or are you going to bug the s out of me by calling all the time? Are you one of those smarmy a-holes who's going to go over my head and ask my boss questions because you don't believe I know what I'm talking about? Do you believe in standards? Are you one of those creepy socially inept engineers? A total idiot? Insane? Lazy? Micromanager? Are you going to blow off my meeting because I'm not important enough, then go behind my back to the people who were in there and reverse our decision? Do you understand schedules? Are you afraid of technology? Do you know what you're doing?
Are you in marketing?
Oh, I love my job. Back then I think I just loved having a job... the rest of the details just scared me. I wasn't sure how to prove myself, or if I was even capable of such a task. I thought being smart and knowing a lot about airplanes were sort of the same thing.
now that I work with new college grads, I'm also pretty sure I annoyed the shit out of my coworkers. they've all got that "world's cutest kitten" thing going on.
sometimes you break them... they get so frustrated they decide engineering isn't for them, or they're just going to be pissed off and work outside the system as much as possible. Try to get the friendly managers to sign their reports, pay for the pricey healthcare plan because there's less paperwork.
They stop calling the help desk about our crappy computers.
I always call help desk. I call them about ridiculous things that I know they'll be clueless on, just to spite them. I love the challenge. I even know the real IT guys at our company now, and they know me because I've done website stuff, and we joke about how things fall apart, and I still love calling help desk. I get better stories... like the day my monitor died and I called them, and said "We plugged the monitor into another computer to see if it was my PC, but the monitor still won't come on." and the guy at the other end said, "Well ma'am, it sounds like the problem might be with the monitor... I'm going to put you on hold for level II just to make sure."
I love the system. Individual people are freaking insane, but the whole system... I'm a diva at it now. I'm good at what I do. People want me on their projects. I'm slowly learning to be diplomatic (I think) but still have my tough edgy image. I have friends at work. I feel like I fit in.
A college kid asked me what it was like to be at five years, did I feel all "old"? Nice question, brat. I told him that I still felt like there was infinity to learn about airplanes, the only big difference is that now I know enough that I can do a lot without managers, so they piss me off... I used to just be so happy to talk to my bosses, happy they were taking an interest in me, now I mostly think they're in my way.
I think the real difference is very, very round. I wanted to be an engineer. I thought that meant learning everything technical. I thought if I had technical knowledge, I'd have everything... people would respect and adore me, I'd get responsibility, I'd be valuable.
Five years taught me that knowledge comes from experience, and experience comes from a lot of things that are very non-technical. The ability to present information, the ability to argue, confidence to jump in there, networking, sucking up, having an image, enthusiasm, earning respect, running a meeting, walking fast, listening, learning, knowing who to learn from... there's not one important thing. there's not one important thing about an airplane. it's all part of something bigger.