Tuesday, June 19

Get Niche or Die Tryin'

Today is Tuesday.  I've officially been at my new job for 6 days.  Trying to find the best way to sum it up... I love it.  I'm working in the purchasing department of a local company.  This new company is privately held and is a FAR CRY from where I was before.  The entire feel of the job has been different, beginning Day 1.  Point of reference: in my last job, I literally cried at least 2x per day (once on my lunch break, once on the way home) every single day for the first couple weeks.  I haven't cried once so far here.  Score.  If you had told me last June that I would feel this content right now, I would have trucked you back to the funny farm.  But it's no joke: I really am happy.

My new company actually seems to care about its employees.  The benefits are great, the people are friendly, and the micromanagement is refreshingly minimal (for example, I walked into an office that not only allowed colored pushpins, but provided them).  I had an itinerary filled with meetings/training sessions with the other new hires periodically throughout the week.  On Monday, my manager took me to lunch.  Tuesday, my whole department went to lunch with me.  Throughout the week, I met with VP's and officers, who all seemed to care more about my name and story than the pains of adding headcount.  On Friday, the new hires even had a meeting with the CEO - he sat us down with our resumes in front of him, and he asked us questions like he actually cared about us. 

I've met many wonderful people here, and it's a very culturally diverse environment (which is right up my alley).  I think I may be a minority as an American, actually.  One of my bosses is from Ecuador; the other is Guatemalan, but she has a French accent.  They sometimes talk to one another in Spanish, and I also get some practice in.  The woman across the hall is from Argentina (ever dear to my heart), so she has her own cool Spanish/Italiano-esque accent.  There are Chinese, Brazilians, Brits, French milling around... you name it, I work with them. 

I get my own office (which I'm encouraged to "make my own"), with 4 walls and a door.  This means that I get to "pump" in the privacy of my office, without being walked in on by the Quality Manager from the plant (yes, that actually happened, despite the many measures I took to prevent it).  There's a restroom right around the corner, and a refrigerator right outside my door - which means no more "walk of shame" as I carry the tell-tale pump parts and Ziploc bag of milk down a stark hallway.  Yep, this setup rocks.

The grounds here are spectacular.  This little gem is nestled in 150 acres of fields, streams, ponds, trails, and an arboretum (and if you know me, you know I'm a sucker for arboretums).  I went for a small hike the other day on my lunch break - are you jealous??





Deer, turkeys, ducks, geese, and plenty of other critters roam the grounds.  The ponds are stocked with fish for an annual children's fishing tournament (which, as a vegetarian, I choose not to partake in, but whatever).  Employees are given a plot of land in the corner of the company's property, and encouraged to start a garden - I'll get pictures of that soon.  A recent posting mentioned that we will be starting our own Farmer's Market onsite, with proceeds going to our charitable activities committee.  The other day we had a picnic/bbq outside, where employees could mingle with one another on rustic picnic tables under the Kzoo sun.  Ah, perfection.

There are several old buildings onsite (including one built in 1886), and many of my meetings have been in different buildings.  Which means I get to stroll around the worn dirt paths of the wooded haven during the day, breathe in the smell of lofty cedars, and feel the warmth of the sun on my skin as I make my way to meetings.  The dress code is casual.  Jeans and moccasins are encouraged; so are fedoras.  I'm sitting here now with a small cup of espresso (everyone brews their own espresso here, since American coffee is so boring), a small loaf of pan de manteca (Guatemalan sweet bread, baked by my boss), and I'm absolutely loving life.  In a few hours, it will be 5pm.  And at 5:01, my boss, in her ubercool French/Spanish accent, will say, "Melanie!  It is after 5 o'clock!  Go, go pick up Sol."

Ever felt like you've finally found your niche?  :)

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