First week at the new job. First impressions: I like it. Seems like the work will be varied and interesting, and there's a huge amount to learn. The people in my tiny group seem great to work with. My new boss seems to want me to work very independently, which is perfect for me.
I do miss my office at the firm. I had a great view of the harbor and the airport runways. When the President came to visit, people would come into my office to catch a glimpse of Air Force One. The new office faces the courthouse and has a film on the windows, so it always looks gloomy and all I see outside is gray. I'll get used to it. I'm sure it will be improved with some plants and art on the walls.
I also miss walking down the hall and knowing everybody. I don't really have anybody to eat lunch with and don't know most of the
people on my floor, but hopefully that will change over time.
I've been having the usual new hire frustrations with IT, the phone system, printing, etc. Someone who was helping me with a printing problem said something to the effect of, "You're not special. A thousand people started at the same time as you and everyone has to work through these things. You're not in the private sector anymore and you'll just have to get used to how things are done in government." Which made me even more frustrated because -- really, rather than somebody taking two hours to write down on a piece of paper how to set up printing, a thousand new hires are each spending half a day making phone calls and putting in service requests to get it to work? And that's just how things are done? Maybe this is very private sector of me, but I found that unacceptable. Not that it didn't work, but that figuring it out was so incredibly inefficient. (I still can't print, by the way. Three IT guys all stopped by at the same time, but I was in a meeting, and they never came back or told me who they were.)
On my third day at work, X got sick. I ended up working two half-days in a row while JW and I split the day caring for him. I did have to make up the hours at home because I haven't accrued any leave, and that matters a lot more in government than it did at the firm, but it wasn't a big deal. JW was concerned that I was making a bad impression. I'm not worried. I would be at another job, but here, my boss's philosophy is that we don't get paid nearly enough, so part of our compensation is flexibility and having our work schedules accommodate our personal lives rather than the other way around.
I thought my commute would be about half an hour, but it's closer to an hour. Luckily, on my first day, JW managed to pick up both kids when I came home later than expected. I shifted my schedule an hour earlier so I'll have time to pick up the kids. I think that will work better anyway, since a lot of people arrive early and leave early -- the opposite of my former schedule.
I'm so much more productive now that I don't have to bill my hours. I spend some time each morning organizing and making to-do lists, and at least so far, for the rest of the day, I'm focused on those tasks. (I'll admit it, it helps that I'm not allowed to check my personal email and I'm keeping recreational web use to a minimum.) This may change as I get busier, but I feel so relaxed knowing that deadlines aren't immediate and all I have to do is try to get as much accomplished as I can until it's time to leave for the day. Even though I'm new and don't know anything yet, I feel free of the anxiety that I constantly felt at the firm.
Overall, I'm very happy I made this move. I'm enjoying the job, and I almost feel like I'm still on vacation.