The College Transition
As a recent college grad, the experience of walking into an office setting for the first time was not what how I envisioned it. While doing research I came across a company that I thought would be a great company to make the transition from trade shows and knife sales to the software market and got a job in business development.
Getting to the office was my first challenge. I wasn’t accustomed to waking up at 5:30 to get to the bus to get to the train to get to the office from San Francisco and I missed the first bus. I wasn’t going to be late on the first day so I got an Uber to the train station. I then decided to cross the street to the Walgreens near the King St Station to purchase a clipper card. As I clipped on, doors close. I missed the train my first day, also. I was determined not to be late so I spent 35$ on an uber to San Mateo. Getting to first day on time: ~45$. Realizing I needed to change sleep habits: Priceless.
I walked into the concrete office building in San Mateo on the ninth floor, had some friendly greetings with the receptionist and was directed to my desk. Boom, this was it. Nice view of planes flying out of SFO and loads of traffic. I found out my mentor was one of the people that had interviewed me and met the rest of the team. Everyone seemed friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.
I prepared myself to learn a lot of new things about the market and how a new sales process but what I didn’t realize I would be learning office social dynamics. Having never worked in an office and being a fairly loud person I tried to keep my voice down when asking general questions to people around me and use electronic communication for direct questions. Because my company has accounts in different time zones, people were at work when I would come in the first couple weeks and I would wonder “Can I greet the rest of the team in the morning or will I be disturbing their work?” In short, you won’t get fired for asking how others are doing but it’s polite to recognize whether someone is engaged in work before saying what’s up.
My first few days were a mindnumbing slew of onboarding videos. This is what this is about, that is what that’s about, yada yada yada. I basically had to google every acronym, some more than once, to figure out this foreign language that is the industry I got a job in. My team told me that’s pretty normal and I should just keep asking questions and trying to get a firm grasp on what I am talking about. After a couple weeks, I can now finally explain to my family what I do (aside from “I got a good job selling software for a company in San Mateo.”)
The second week of work I had a conference in Atlanta. When I got to the hotel, I was shocked at how nice my room was. On the way to dinner with a couple members of my team I asked the front desk if they had gotten the right room. They had and I was just balling out with a king size bed and my own personal living room. I thought only executives got treatment like this and I was very grateful to be at a company that takes such great care of employees. Fresh out of college and I’m balling hard.
The conference itself was pretty great. I got to connect with senior salespeople who could explain something really complex in both great detail or with minimal information to get a point across quickly. They could also have one hell of a time as I found out later at dinner and thereafter. It was an inspiring vision of where I could be headed.
Getting to know coworkers over pong and meals at the office has been fun. Everyone has had different work and life experiences and it is great to see how perspectives play out into the attitudes of other people. In school while everyone has a unique experience it’s not crazy to think that similar geographic areas make similar segments of perspectives. Bringing in people with different ways of thinking is a good way to make discussions more effective and interesting. Plus meeting people is more fun when everyone hasn’t done the exact same thing for the last 5 years.
Overall while I still feel like a chicken with my head cut off running around trying to play basketball, I am having a great time getting used to office/corporate life. The best analogy I can think of is being like the sign language person from Nelson Mandela’s funeral trying to fake it till I make it. I know I still need to get familiar with acronyms, sleep at a reasonable hour, and figure out how to fit workouts in but I am picking up things here and there and enjoy what I am doing.
Life is good.