Saturday, October 16, 2010

Finally... a Real Job

I started my new job in Midtown three weeks ago. I am still thanking God every five minutes for this job, which is with a fantastic organization—easily the best I've ever been part of.

I work in a highly secure building, and there are certain rules about public disclosure that I must abide by. Technically, I'm not allowed to name my work place on any public forum. Let's just say it's a large financial institution. But it's not a bank.

My job is information security. I have so much work ahead of me that if I were to stop and consider it all, it would boggle my mind. So I take it one step at a time. The people I work with are fantastic. I've never felt more welcome on a new job. Complete strangers pass me in the hallway, stop and say, "You must be new here. What's your name? Welcome!"

Most are seasoned veterans of the organization. My boss has been there 15 years, my "buddy" (who is showing me the ropes) has been there 25 years. My IT support person, 18 years. Most of the folks I've met have been there, on average, 20 years. This is unlike any place I've worked the past 20 years—there is virtually no turnover.

That's because nobody leaves (by choice, anyway). The real kicker is that everyone I've met is truly happy to be there. I'm not used being surrounded by contented people. What I am used to is the constant ranting of complainers and whiners—especially on my short-lived Wall Street job of 2007-2008. This job makes that place look like a complete joke. What a bunch of whiney, overpaid brats! Looking back, I can't even believe I had to live with so much crap on a daily basis.

I've heard from several folks in the Atlanta area that I'm very lucky to have found a job with this organization. Many people are envious. Others want me to find jobs for their friends.

The building I'm in is new and is gorgeous—all marble with high ceilings and beautiful decor. There is a nice gym, a partially subsidized cafeteria, and a coffee/gift shop. My cubicle is great; it's pretty sizable and comes complete with coat closet. The location is perfect, just steps from the Marta station. And the company pays for public transportation, so I take the train to work. (The waiting list for on-site employee parking is 11 years. Like I said, people don't leave.)

I have a brand new Blackberry, tablet notebook PC, large monitor, and travel bag on rollers. My IT person wears a suit. She is helpful and friendly. Now, that is impressive. I am so weary of self-entitled IT people (read: brats) who choose to wear jeans to work when all around them are dressed professionally. My boss is a dream; he is completely hands-off and lets me do my job. All the micro-managers of my past have served no purpose other than generating migraines.

The benefits package rivals that of a former employer, Microsoft—something I never thought I'd be privileged to say again. While most companies are offering two weeks' annual paid time off to new employees, mine offers twice that.

One of the best things about this job is that I have three days off every week. I have my choice of flex work schedules. I chose a 4x10. I work four ten-hour days and take the fifth day off. This truly is a life changer. Americans work too long and too hard. Having that extra day off every week makes going to work the first of the week a positive thing. I go in refreshed, having had three full days off for chores, errands, family time, and relaxtion. Ever since I left Duke Power in the mid-90's I've longed for the day I can work a flex schedule again. My day has come!

I keep pinching myself. Did I really get this lucky? After years of being miserable in the workplace, what did I do to deserve this wonderful job? Will this last? I truly want to retire with this company. I have never felt that way about any company I've worked for. Besides, this is the only place I've ever worked that offers a pension plan. Man, nobody does that anymore! For years, I've been worried about my retirement. Finally, I'm not worried any longer.

The downside? It is this: the stupid hand soap dispensers in the bathroom operate on an electronic eye that doesn't seem to detect my hand waving furiously in front of it, begging for a squirt of cleansing foam.

But the fact that I, for once, don't have to glue a nametag to my chair so that it doesn't get "borrowed" from my cubicle, never to reappear, makes up for my one single complaint that the soap dispensers are ignoring me. Besides that, the restrooms and facility are the cleanest I've ever worked in.

Honestly, I have no complaints.

Man am I lucky! Thank you, God!