Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Back in the Saddle

I got up with Bonnie this morning. Except on rare occasions I haven't been getting up with Bonnie on week mornings for the better part of a year. I've often gotten out of bed just as she was leaving for work, and almost always on weekends, but I've been enjoying the minor sleep-in for a while now.

But I had to be in for orientation at my new job this morning at 7:30 across town (half an hour when traffic is good, 45 minutes during the rush). Luckily leaving at 6:45 (I always allow myself a buffer on "important" days) involved pretty light traffic. And orientation was over by 2:00 so I missed the afternoon rush as well. I'll always miss the morning rush once I'm on the job but I won't miss the afternoon rush. It could be worse though. My afternoon commute zips along compared to traffic heading in the other direction; to the west side from the east. The west side is so much cheaper, and homes are much easier to find but most of the jobs are in the city. For me it's the opposite and that's just fine.

I've been through orientations like this one today probably twenty times. Maybe more. All put on by my new company's client with whom I have had association on and off (mostly on) for over the past fourteen years. They differ from orientation to orientation, but none of the real meat has changed since I've been through them. The company started aggressively pursuing an ambitious safety program about twelve years ago and that's been so integrated into the orientation now that its message has been trivialized. To be fair the intent has not been trivialized within the company. Bureaucratized yes, trivialized no.

The gal who taught the morning portion of the program (by far the longest portion) used to work for me. She was a carpenter’s helper for a while. Later on she worked as a safety rep as we liked to call them. Now she works for a contractor who contracts this service to my company’s client. She’s has a one-year-old boy of whom she showed me a picture. Last time I saw her she looked eleven months pregnant.

Class was predictably boring. I helped our young trainer out when blank faces stared at her requests for group participation. She asked me for technical help when the lap top movie failed to show up on the big screen. Those damn screen projection systems have plagued me with their connectivity difficulties too many times, and I told her so. She had to forget the little film clip. I felt bad, but I don’t think anyone cared. They were busy thinking of lunch.

The logistical management of this orientation gets failing marks though. The program is broken into two and a half parts. The first part (which is the longest) ends at the lunch break. The second and shortest part (now pay attention) is the half part I spoke of. You are told early on in the process that if your work is not going to be in the factory you don’t have to stay for part three in the late afternoon. Lunch is one hour of killing time (I hate killing time) and then you come back for about ten minutes of appendices to the morning session. And then you are told that you don’t need any of the afternoon session if you are an office worker.

I took my wasted hour and ten minutes in stride.

I met a few interesting folks at the orientation. About the same crowd of folks I have shared who knows how many of these orientations with. I also saw several folks I used to work with.

Back in the saddle.

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