New Job, One Day In

I stared my new job yesterday.  Overall, my feeling is that it could be much worse.

The nice part about being a contractor is that I don’t have to meet diet and fitness standards, just dress and appearance.  It also means that I can work a maximum of 40 hours per week and can only change schedule with prior approval from both the supervisor and the temp agency.

The downsides to the job are mainly the result of the corporateness of the environment.  I work for a financial services company in a facility called the Center for Advanced Product Engineering.  It’s essentially their R&D think tank.  As a result, security is tighter there it is on the several military bases I’ve been on.  There are security guards patrolling the cubes every minute to ensure that nobody is out of their seats without permission, and also that everyone is doing what their task sheet says they should be working on.  All papers must be in a file plan and you can only work with the papers or information during the hours listed for them on your file plan.  Outside those hours, the papers need to be filed in the cabinets specified for them on your file plan.

Guards patrol the outside of the building with dogs.  Guards patrol the cafeteria.  No one is allowed to leave the building until their shift is over without permission from a supervisor.  That means no going outside for lunch (not that there’s anywhere to go anyway – it’s in the middle of nowhere).  No personal items may be stored or left in cubicles after the shift is over – it must be returned to the condition specified in the facility usage handbook for that workstation.  Network logons are by fingerprint and security door access is by keycard with security guards standing by.

It sounds oppressive (and it is) but it’s at least understandable.  All the new laws and government regulations about financial industry practices make it necessary to take the maximum precautions.

But the other main objection is one I knew about when I started the job:  It’s 0% technical.  It’s entirely paperwork.  I literally get an order form for a custom e-bill-pay site and then must put together the correct package to include the right content files, stylesheets, modules, etc. to make the site according to the order form.  Then I send it for QA.  Then it goes to the client for a final check.  Then it goes into production and out of my hands.  It’s purely assembly-line paperwork.  But again, I knew that going in.

All in all, it could be much worse.  But it’s likely to be a very boring six months.

  1. #1 by Chadwick on July 24, 2010 - 8:00 PM

    Better bored and paid than the alternative though, eh?

    • #2 by Joshua on July 25, 2010 - 7:50 AM

      Exactly. The worst part is that I have very restricted ‘net access. At least at Hunter, M&I, and the 440th, I could read UserFriendly or other SFW comics during my lunch hour. Not here. In fact, they escort us down to the cafeteria at 11:00 and back to our cube farm at 11:30 so that we don’t have an opportunity to slack off.

      • #3 by Chadwick on July 25, 2010 - 2:28 PM

        Or steal financial secrets.

        • #4 by Joshua on July 25, 2010 - 4:47 PM

          Well that too. ‘cept some of us aren’t working anywhere financial secrets. The most I’d be able to find out is if a given company is an e-bill customer. Woohoo! <Insert Bank Name Here> gets its ebill payment services from a financial services firm! That certainly has earth-shattering implications.

  2. #5 by Matt on July 27, 2010 - 7:43 PM

    Do they dress you all the same? I’m picturing a windowless office with the only color coming from the cube walls and the occasional red tie wearing rebel.

    I hope they are paying you well.

    • #6 by Joshua on July 27, 2010 - 7:58 PM


      Dress is restricted business casual – solid color polo or golf shirts (short or long sleeve) with no logos or designs, white, tan, khaki, brown, or black slacks with gray, brown, blue, or black socks. Shoes must be brown or black, laced, and have no festoons or jutting appendages. Shirts must be tucked into pants and belts must be worn to match shoes.

      • #7 by Chadwick on July 28, 2010 - 8:53 PM

        Well, at least that’s all relatively standard.

        • #8 by Joshua on July 29, 2010 - 4:48 PM

          Yeah. And they’re not really all that anal about it. And the oppressive security is seeming less oppressive now. It’s still boring but it’s not nearly as horrible as it first seemed.

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