Saturday, August 16, 2008

Is this Iowa?

Today was the day. The alarm went off after the dog was already been walked. It was Christmas morning. Much like the night before that big day, I stayed up WAY too late last night. The Olympics are hypnotizing. But that is a totally different post. I did get to bed at about 2:30 in the morning after every lap, apparatus, medal ceremony, watching a DVRed Sex and the City (it is habitual), and laying out my clothes for probably the first and last time ever. This morning I woke up before my alarm. Also, probably the first and last time. C and Robyn will appreciate this…I was ready fifteen minutes before I had to leave. WITH MAKE-UP ON!! That is how you know I am excited. I even took Cooper for a walk! On the way to work, I called one of my former students. It was her first day as a new teacher and Beavis went into it with NO PLANS! She is so weird.

Now, I am really going to brag. Sorry…

Here ... people smile. People know your name, are genuinely excited to see you, and are more than eager to help you, have the time to offer their aid, ask you a question and actually listen to your answer. They take care of each other both personally and professionally. The benefits are incredible…I am not talking about the matching 401K, but the free lunch and snacks EVERYDAY. It is such a novel concept in my profession to enjoy where you are working. Maybe it isn’t? Maybe it is just that where I was before was so different from every other institute in the world. I do not really care to find out. This, where I am now, is heaven.

So that was all written Thursday before I went out to celebrate my first day. Today was…well…let me just tell you two things that happened.

1.) After a short meeting, a great lunch, and an afternoon Q & A session, I go back to my room. I am staring blankly at my computer. I suddenly, and for the first time, felt completely and totally overwhelmed. The standard of excellence here is something I just cannot wrap my head around. A lot of places in this line of work say there is a “commitment to excellence in a caring environment”, but here it is very, very real. I am used to low standards if any at all. I sat there with a feeling of where do I even begin. You know that feeling when you play that game where you have to spin with your forehead on a baseball bat, pop up straight, and then run as quickly as possible to the finish line? That is my current feeling. I know where I am supposed to be; the end result. I am just totally confused on how to take that first step…especially knowing that even if I try to run forward I am just going to curve a little to the right. There is so much going on and so much to take in that it is a little crazy.

2.) Just when this feeling is about to swallow me like a wave in Phuket, my boss and his wife (she is the head of a different division in the building) come in to talk to me. We all chat for about two minutes before he offers me 4 tickets to the Ranger game tonight with parking. She laughs and says welcome to [the family]. WHAT?! Holy cow! I have been here officially two days. I have never in my life ever received a perk through my job.

I am fairly confident that there will be a good bit of stress, but I think I am going to like my Iowa.


Monica said...

Free lunch and snacks? Tickets to a sporting event? Sign me up!

Columbia Lily said...

good for you! I know you'll have a great year!