Starting a full-time job has been a funny experience.
The first couple of days left me feeling somewhat stunned.
The commute to work is not exactly relaxing. The train gets so full you have those white-gloved station staff pushing you on. Wedged in by salary men, nose pressed up against the glass.
I’ve sorted out my timing now though. The trains arrive every 2 ~ 3 minutes, and some are a lot less crowded than others.
It’s also felt funny being paid to be in a certain place for 9 hours. Due to having done the job before, my initial training didn’t take all that long, and I didn’t have much else to do (things get busy from the end of the month).
So I decided to tidy the office up. Moving desks to re-route wiring, finding old bits of office furniture to help arrange documents, going through shelves of old telephones and computer parts to put them in some kind of order.
Having seen me do this, on the third day I was asked by my manager if I would like to tidy up their lesson-management system, which currently takes the form of bits of paper, disjointed databases and whiteboards. I was asked to create a new database.
I told them that I have never created a database before, and I have no knowledge of Access or SQL, but they have been very generous and told me to take all the time I need to learn these things. They’ve offered to buy me textbooks should I need them. I’ve also been allowed to use my own Macbook to build the database – I think doing it all in Japanese would add unnecessary confusion.
I’ve now installed Windows and Office, and having created all my tables am now learning about creating queries.
I’m really enjoying this challenge. I’ve long wanted to be able to build databases, but haven’t had the time or motivation. Here, in between teaching English over the phone and marking reports I’m being paid to learn – great stuff!
Anyway, best be off, lunch is nearly over.
p.s. lots of other stuff going on too but no time to talk about it!
This was the part of working at that office which I found most fulfilling and I believe my previous successors failed to take advantage of when they were there. If you are an ambitious person, you can use the job to both expand your knowledge and improve their work flow. There is the opportunity there to do well by them and by yourself simultaneously.
I built a lot of my skills there in Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and Pagemaker. I also learned to use Windows and understand the Mac OS during my time there. This enriched both me and the company (they also “let” me use my Mac, though really they didn’t want to buy me one).
The fact that you are excited and happy to be learning to build databases and that you have the initiative to tidy the opposite and create a better working environment is just one more example of how you’re going to be very good for the company (as I believe I was).
The organizing of the office was something I did as well. Six months after I quit, I returned to see a disaster area when I did some part-time weekend work there. You can really see someone’s commitment in how they do more than is required and try to create a productive environment.
I think you’re going to see that the job is a great opportunity for so much more than slaving away in an office and doing repetitive work. I did for a very long time. You’re going to walk away with more skills and a better resume. I just hope you don’t walk away too soon. 😉
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