So there I was, sitting across the table from a young, tomboyish, enthusiastic woman who reminded me of a gung-ho farmer’s wife, like the ones I had seen in New Zealand. The man sitting next to me was tall, really tall. When he walked me into the office, I almost felt like Lilliput next to Gulliver. Well, that’s exaggerating it, but you get the point. It was the first time in my life that I was wearing a blazer. Unless you count the two times in 11th standard and in college when I wore it. Both times were for the “Western Day” or something of that sort. The blazer made me feel nice, more confident and smart than I probably was. So anyway, regardless of my exterior appearance, I actually had knots in my stomach. Understandably so, because it was the first time in over a decade that I was appearing for an interview in person. Later that evening when my husband asked me how it went, I had no clue how it had “really” been. Because I had no basis to compare it to!! Having been inducted into a software firm straight out of college and having had no obvious concerns with the company, I had stayed on for a long time. Even after a break, I had simply joined back!
Anyway, they ended up selecting me (ahem! I am sure they had their reasons!) And it’s now been a week that I am working at this office. And even though it’s too early to form an opinion, so far I like it – both the place and the people. It’s the first time in my life that I am working on contract and not as a permanent employee! It’s also the first time in my life that I am working at a company where my husband doesn’t work! We met each other at work and even before we had met, we had been working at the same company ever since I started! It’s the first time that I am no longer a part of IT, but a part of the business team instead! It’s also the first time in my life that in a whole week, I haven’t seen a single Indian at work. And I must admit, it feels weird. And last but not the least, it’s also the first time that I do not have an offshore/onshore team in some other part of the world, with whom I need to take late night calls with. YET.
I’ll also always remember the first day I had joined my previous organization in 2002. I was supposed to report to work at their branch at 8:30 AM or so to fill out a bunch of forms and sign a bond (newbie you see?) So there I was with a friend of mine, both of us ready for our first day at work. We boarded a train at Bandra hoping to alight at Vile Parle station. (People who have a lot of experience travelling in Mumbai’s local trains are probably going Oooooh Noooo right about now!) I got into the ladies compartment and my friend got into the general compartment. Come Vile Parle, the train didn’t stop!!! Some fast local or something, it went straight ahead to the last stop! We called each other murmuring that there was no need to panic; we still had time. Or so we thought.
Because the same train would begin a return journey again, one stop before its final destination, truckloads of people began to get in hoping to secure seats as a preemptive strike against those boarding at the first stop. In its new trip, when the train finally approached our stop, people pushed, pulled and shoved. And poor dear inexperienced ‘me’ finally got down at the platform with disheveled hair, a torn dupatta and footwear on only one foot! I had to buy a pair of sandals from a local ‘mochi’ and only then we could make our way to the workplace. Considering that we reached there almost an hour late, it’s a miracle that they still signed us up! Sigh.
And then there was my first day at the client location onsite. The very first time that I got a call from my account manager. It was to tell me that he had received a call from the Minneapolis International Airport informing him that his employee (yours truly) had forgotten a folder full of visa and immigration documents at the airport and was to go and collect it. What a start to the day! Like I said, my friend Murphy never really left my side! (link) So, what were your first days at work like?
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I would love to hear your views!