… And all I got were these bloody heels

So? How did my first day at work go? Well, in many ways better than expected, and in some aspects much more confused and painful than expected.. Let’s just start from the beginning, shall we?

For weeks, I’d dreaded having to get up at 6:30 AM. As such, I’d laid out pretty much everything, clothes, bag, what have you, well in advance the night before so that I would be able to make a pretty quick run for it the next morning even if I were in an as extraordinarily tired and discombobulated state of mind as I expected to be.

As it turned out, come 6:30 AM Tuesday morning, it wasn’t the getting up point that proved difficult. As my alarm clock rang, I basically jumped out of bed (alright, truth be told, it was probably more of a controlled fall than a jump, but I got up without resulting to the ever-so-dangerous snooze function or or anything like that) and charged to the shower. No, it wasn’t the getting up part that proved difficult, it was the actually kickstarting my brain and making it realize I was up and awake that proved slightly difficult.. And the hot water in the shower didn’t help much, making the otherwise rather simple task of showering and shaving unnecessarily complicated. Which may go to explain why I misread the otherwise quite clear instructions on the shampoo bottle and somehow turned “wash, lather, rinse, repeat” into “wash, lather, poke finger in eye, rinse, repeat”. Things didn’t go much better from there onwards. In fact, I managed to follow my unusual shampooing routine by an even more extraordinary routine of “shave, slash skin, wash, stick toilet paper in places that are bleeding (thank you, Homer Simpson), apply aftershave, wince”. – Not a recommendable approach as such, but a better way of waking up than poking fingers in your eyes, should you ever find yourself in the situation of having to choose between various ways of inflicting pain upon yourself for the sake of waking up. Hey, I do the experiments so YOU don’t have to.. But I digress.

What followed was the usual, uneventful, rushed and dreadfully boring morning ritual which involved getting dressed and having a bite of breakfast – literally – not only was I in a hurry, I also wasn’t exactly hungry, on account of being exceedingly excited about the shape of things to come. I then donned my fancy new shoes (a decision I would grow to regret within less than half an hour), rushed out the door and walked down to the bus station where I, with great anticipation, boarded Bus no. 410 towards Middelfart (tee-hee!) If you’re still laughing at the name of the destination town name of the bus, chances are that you’re unfamiliar with Danish geography, so let me just explain that Middelfart is a Danish town situated some 35 kilometers from Kolding. In between Kolding and Middelfart (tee-hee) is a slightly smaller town called Fredericia which happens to not only be a stop along the line of the 410 bus, but also happens to be where I went and landed myself a job.. What a stroke of luck, eh? I get to ride a bus to a place with a funny name every weekday morning, and it drops me off right outside the door of my new place of work at 8:10 AM..

Umm, yeah, so I boarded the bus at 7:35 AM and after a trip through numerous small towns, past a few schools and in and arounda bit of hellish morning rush hour traffic as we reached Fredericia, the nice driver dropped me off at the shoulder of the road right outside the new office complex at which I was to begin (or resume, depending on how you look at it) my professional career. Swallowing hard, I entered the front door and climbed the aluminum stairs all the way to the third floor, home of CBC IT HQ and my new new job as an IT Coordinator. I paused outside the front door, swallowed hard once more, put on my game face and burst into the reception area. I was greeted by our receptionist and a few of my new colleagues. Hand shakes were exchanged and I was led around the main office area and introduced to the rest of my new colleagues. At the end of the tour, I was shown into what is to become my office where I was met by Rikke, the lovely young lady whose job I will be taking over starting next month, and my new boss, Peder, both of whom were bent over what was to become my work station and my laptop, moaning and groaning about Microsoft Outlook, Business Contact Manager, synchronization issues and a whole host of other things I didn’t quite pick up but that were apparently crucial to my future work.. Apparently even IT professionals have computer problems, a strangely comforting fact for someone like me, no matter the nuisance posed to my lovely new colleagues.

After much moaning and groaning on their part and some shifting about feeling slightly uncomfortable and not knowing what to do on my part, the issue was luckily partially resolved, partially abandoned and all of us filed into the main conference room to share a light breakfast and welcome me to the company. As we filed around the table, it became apparent to me how small of a team we really were – despite being the country’s largest distribution chain for IT retailers, we stand just seven people tall at the main office, with one person (Rikke) leaving in a month. Kinda strange in a way, but also comforting, I’ve always enjoyed working in small, dedicated teams and this one seems a diverse yet tightly knit awesome and friendly one at that. As we chowed down on our rolls and drank our coffee (or alternatively tea or hot cocoa for those so inclined), we had a short introductory round where I got to get an impression of my new colleagues and they got to get one of me in return. What I mainly learned from this short round table discussion is that everybody else were slightly older than me (by 10 – 30 years), they were all married with kids, the girls outnumbered us 4 to 3 (make that 3 on 3 in a month), three of them were exercise nuts and at least one person had made the front page of the local newspaper for accidentally summoning the fire brigade whilst burning off weeds and other trash. I also learned that, much like me and my friends, they supplement one another well in the aspect that if one person thinks that a particular story about him and her shouldn’t be shared, the others will make sure it gets shared anyhow.. In other words, I’m sure I’ll fit in well, especially seeing as humor, sarcasm and irony seems a pretty integrated part of every work day.

Having thusly gotten a short introduction to my new colleagues, of whom I will be relating much more in the future, I’m sure, we jumped right into an internal meeting about a conference we will be hosting for suppliers and customers next Tuesday.. A conference I until yesterday had no idea existed, but will apparently be attending anyways in less than a week. Oh well, fun times, and who am I to say no to a challenge! .. And on that little surprise, we filed out of the conference room and went each to our own which basically meant going back to our separate offices. Or, well, in my case I went with Rikke back to her office (which shall be mine, all mine) where we dropped down at the work station and the laptop which were apparently working now and started on the rather grueling task of having her introduce me to all of CBC’s IT systems, their planned systems and the work flow of the projects that are currently under way – as well as several years of accumulated knowledge spanning several heads and/or organizations.. A task which must be finished no later than by the end of the month and may well end up giving me a slight headache.. So, to clarify, the reason why I’ve gotten the job that I have is that Rikke has decided to seek out new challenges outside of CBC and my job is to fill her role in all past, current and future IT projects – mainly relating to web. That is I will be running, maintaining and supporting current solutions, keep them updated and up-to-date technology wise as well as performing project management tasks on future development projects and other fun stuff. So I’ve got a month to figure out how everything works and what Rikke knows about pretty much everything, and then lo and behold, I’ll be in charge from one day to the other.. Good times, eh? Eeh? Well, I think it sounds like a fun challenge at least.. But boy oh boy is it a lot of work. In essence, I’m spending eight hours a day just watching and learning, picking up systems and work flows, experimenting and helping her finish her tasks while I try to learn how to finish said tasks on my own in the future. It’s fun, it’s trying and it makes for a happy yet mentally exhausted Johan by the end of the day.

For those who are into such things, my first day was all about Joomla, a popular Open Source Content Management System, which will become the driving force behind our new website which we (God be willing) should be able to launch by the end of the week. I was shown my way around the system both from the front end and the back end after which we jumped right into editing and optimizing the site as well as bug fixing, proofreading, content shifting and other fun stuff.. Just to give you an idea of what I was working with from day one.. Make no mistake, though, it was fun as I’ve iterated over and over again. By the time 4:30 rolled around, though, I was feeling more than a little spent as I said my goodbyes to the office and trotted down the stairs after a great first day.. I have a feeling I’m gonna love this place, this job and these people, I said to myself (and everybody who cared to listen or read my text messages), as I boarded the trusty old 410 Bus back home. Yes, trusty and old is how I like to refer to things I’ve tried a total of two times. I arrived back home in Kolding at around 5:10 and dragged myself home on bleeding ankles caused by my fancy new shoes which I’d chosen to wear for the occasion without paying any notice to the fact that new shoes tend to mess your feet up. Oh well, at least I looked good.. Tina keeps telling me that she probably should have told me to be aware of this fact, and while I told her previously that I, too, probably should have been aware of it. I now – after some consideration, soul searching and gazing at my own abilities in hind sight – tend to agree that, yes, she probably should have told me coz, let’s be honest, there was no way I’d have thought of it myself and it could’ve saved me a considerable amount of hurt to have eased into my new shoes. I’m an idiot like that. But oh well, at least I can thank Tina (and Tine) for my looking good on my first day.. Which, in conclusion, was an awesome first day – despite my not being able to walk after 1 PM.. But hey, I have a desk job now, who needs legs?

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