Saturday, August 18, 2007


I hate being the "new person" at a company. Between having to find your way around the place to making new friends, to trying to find someone who can explain what exactly it is that you're supposed to be doing, it can be a rather stressful time. Below is an account of my latest experience as a newbie:

1. Desk set up with computer, name-tag, and office supplies
A definite plus. I guess having given them 3 weeks' notice to prepare for my arrival did the trick.

2. Dumped at said desk with no computer login
It kind of defeats the purpose of being a developer when you can't even get into your computer. Worse yet is when, given the fact that they had 3 weeks to prepare for my arrival, it took half an hour until my team lead realized that I had no login, and then another hour until he was able to track down the person who had my login.

3. Had to ask for a security badge
Given that the washroom requires card access and I really had to go, this was a most annoying situation. More annoying yet is that nobody even thought of giving me my temp security card until I asked for it. I was pleasantly surprised, however, that the paperwork for my security pass had been processed and I was able to get my permanent photo ID 2 whole days after I started. Unfortunately, all this went to the crapper when I realized soon after getting my ID card that my first name was misspelled. Once I got that fixed, I was annoyed to find out that the card itself didn't work when I got back up to my floor. Fortunately, that got fixed by end-of-day, before I turned in my temp pass.

4. Land line set-up
Although slightly annoyed by the fact that my phone didn't work right off the bat, at least I was told that it would be fully-operational the next day, and indeed it was.

5. Forgotten soul
So I know I'm new and all and that everyone is pretty busy on the most part, but if they want me to be productive as soon as possible, they should really assign someone to spend some time with me to show me the ropes. That includes teaching me the basics of using the ball of mud that is ClearCase, explaining to me their data model, and of course the business functionality of their application. My team lead has started to do these things for me to a certain degree, but is too bogged down with his day-to-day tasks to even help me out. Furthermore, he's told me on more than one occasion that he would follow up on something for me, only to forget about it, thereby resulting in my having to remind him about it 4 hours later. Ugh...

6. Locked-down computer
Given the type of place where I work, I realize that security is important, but it is EXTREMELY annoying that many Windows XP features are locked down. For example, I can't edit my registry directly through regedit. I also can't install a number of utility apps that make part of my dev arsenal, including Win2PDF, Cygwin, and some XP Power Toys. Most frustrating was the fact that I couldn't install Java on my machine. Why is this annoying? Because I'm a bloody Java developer!!! I suppose I should count my blessings, seeing as they do allow internet use at the office. I would expect nothing less of course. After all, I've lost track of the # of times that Google has saved my skin.

7. Not as advertised
I know employers always like to stretch the truth a bit and fluff up the position so that it becomes more alluring to employees, but I really think that I was misled here. I was told that the company uses the likes of WebSphere and Struts. True as that may be, they forgot to mention that I would not be one of those people getting to use WebSphere and Struts. This one's a major sore point with me.

The moral of the story is that being new anywhere sucks. It sucked when I was in school, and it sucks even more out there in the real world.

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