Cog Conditioning

Today was Orientation day; the day we are “wowed” by the attributes and bragging rights of our company, learn about all our employee perks, and sign all the papers that make it legally binding to support this company in more ways than our families or country.  No one bothered to read or explain the first agreement we signed.  We were just told to sign it.  I tried to read it, but really couldn’t understand much of it.  I did notice that even up to 60 days after I leave this position, there are still restrictions.  And my employer now owns all my creative ideas pertaining to the company.  Interesting concept.

We also learned how to act, interact, and not to act – how to avoid injuries and on and on…. for 8 hours.

While I enjoyed the overall atmosphere more than most training days I’ve been to like this, I still have the little voice in my head that tells me the ideals and the reality are often not in the same ball park.  Maybe this time it will be different.

By far the most interesting aspect of the day involved the other cogs at my table.  I love to observe human behavior, and even wonder at my own sometimes.  After signing in, I came into a room of about 8 tables and chose an empty one.  Most of the first people to enter the room did this.  Then the tables began to fill up with people similar to the one who had seated first.  My table attracted middle-aged women, like me.  The one next to me – younger men.  I saw another table with older white men (slightly past middle age).  I began to be amused.  Diversity didn’t begin to happen much until the choices narrowed.  That’s when our table acquired two men.

No one spoke until we were instructed to break the ice and introduce ourselves to each other.  The woman directly across from me had several uncanny things in common with me.  She has done things I would greatly love to do (work a food truck and on an organic farm – however I want to own them, not just work them) and she has a dog with the same unusual breed mix as mine.  She also drives the same brand of car and commented she had three generations living in her home.  That’s when I start wondering where the coincidence coordinators are hiding.

Another man took a lot of time explaining to us how to pronounce his German last name which amounted to what sounded like  “Wet Shrek”.  We then discovered that the woman to my right was from Germany.  She had married a U.S. Serviceman and moved to the States.  Four people had military background, three people had been laid off from various mobile phone companies, and two were college students.

At lunchtime they served pepperoni pizza, and a terrible awkward silence fell over the table as we all brought in our food and sat down.  I could hear conversations humming everywhere else in the room which made our silence seem even more uncomfortable.  I finally asked, “So, how did you all find out about this job?”  They all shared the various sources where they’d heard of the openings.  After everyone answered I said, “I was just scrolling through Craig’s list and saw it, and thought I’d try it out.  Never thought they would contact me!”   They gave me some puzzled looks.  I actually didn’t realize how badly I needed a job until a few weeks after I applied, purely on a curious impulse more than anything, not expecting anything to ever come of it.   “Fate…” I said.

From there the true extrovert at the table who had been holding back decided to ask a political question about a certain current world event looming on our horizon.  I found it hugely ironic to be discussing the next world war sitting next to a person from the country that started the last one.  Hey, I guess it’s our turn.  But that’s a topic for my other blog.

Found out my actual first day isn’t for three weeks.  In the mean time I am reading an awesome new book (purchased from my new employer).  The author is discussing some deep spiritual truths I have come to realize in my own times of contemplation the last year or so.  They are definitely at odds with my present course of action.  I will share some of what I read while waiting for more Working Life posts.

Oh I have to mention I drove by the facility where I will be working after the session today.  Still trying to catch my breath.  Amazing how intimidating big things can be.