As my friends who don’t read my blog know this past week was the start of my new job at P&E Microcomputer Systems. Gone are the days of meager hourly wages, awkward hours, and in person service work for me. This is my first real big boy job with the responsibilities, the salary, and the benefits that go along with it. That’s not to say that all those years I spent working at a Starbucks was not a humbling, rewarding, and valuable experience for me. However, I’m glad it’s over and I’ll keep the lessons learned from it for as long as I live.
Back to subject at hand though, this was my first week of my new life and I somehow managed to survive to tell the story. Never having worked an office job I wasn’t sure what to expect at all. My knowledge of office culture is based on my careful study of the TV show “The Office”. That said, I put together my best outfit and headed out a good hour and a half early like the good newbie I was. After all Murphy’s Law states my first day is most likely going to be the day the bus breaks down in a construction zone. I ended up arriving in the vicinity of the office over an hour before 9. Had to kill time at the local Starbucks reading the day’s Globe so I can arrive at a more reasonable time. I walk in around 8:45 only to find most everyone had not arrived yet. I later learned that most people get there sometime between 9:30-10 and leave closer to 6 than 5. There were a few people there though to give me my first task: Assemble your computer and desk chair. Which I was happy to do. Just seeing that desk and those boxes though made me start to really think how big of an investment employing a single person is for a company. Not only compensation, but all the overhead costs of accommodating that worker’s productivity. Didn’t know it at the time but that Dell box had an 8-core i7, 16GB of RAM, dedicated graphics, and huge HDD. Way better than any computer I’ve ever owned, but I suppose it’s better for a business to invest in something that will last than something that will constantly be replaced. The rest of the morning was basically setting up my computer, meeting everybody, and doing paperwork.
The second half of my first day was spent getting me up to speed on what I will be working on. My job was to place and route the second revision of an existing product for release in the coming months. First impression: “This is impossible, I don’t know how to do this.” Senior design was my only experience in designing a PCB, we had a much larger board, and I wasn’t even directly responsible for doing the place and route. Thankfully I took the time to learn the skill and software during senior design, the rest is all up to experience which I hope to gain in the coming weeks. After only just this week though, I’ve become fairly confident that I can not only do this but that it’s not going to be that hard. Though this isn’t a software task, I’m glad that it was entrusted to me. It’s good to know my hardware background is going to be put to good use.
So far, I’m really enjoying the working life. Engineering is just one of those careers where you can really do what you love and be well compensated for it. I’m finally given the opportunity to put my skills to real use in real products, and it’s extremely rewarding passing through every little milestone. I like that there’s nobody breathing down my shoulder all the time and that people trust me to do my job starting from day one. I like being surrounded by incredibly smart and challenging people to learn from and aspire to. For once in my life, I feel like I’ve found a place where I really belong. Dare I say that I’m excited to see what I can accomplish in the future?