Tuesday, September 30, 2008

First day on the job

Today was my first day on the job Down Under. It was a typical first-day:

Obtaining your desk and chair, and setting the chair to the correct height and angle. (This takes half a day, at least),

Finding out that IT did not create a username and password, even though we sent through all the information and forms through to HR last week,

Getting to know Tom, Dick and Harry (Almost every second guy is called "John" for some reason),

Finding out where the toilet is,

Getting your picture taken and plastered onto a corporate ID Card that you need to access the toilets. (Just kidding - but there are many doors that you can't get through if you don't have this ID Card.)

Etc, etc...

I logged on with someone else's name and started going through their Intranet Induction course. My direct boss is moving to another department at the end of the week, and he basically ignored me, as he is busy organising his new future within the company. His boss had to help me get around, which was actually nice - what a great guy. Most of the blokes are really friendly, and the general atmosphere is very relaxed. Thank goodness, no ties or jackets - just your typical engineering setup.

I was provided with a temporary car - they ordered a new one for me.

The guy next to me is called Henry. The friendliest fella you've ever seen. He took me under his wing, and showed me the cafeteria during lunch. We spoke about hunting, car racing (which is his personal hobby), and a lot of other stuff. Great guy. I also spoke to Jon (one of the many John's around here), and he invited me to play squash sometime. I am already stressing about this - I am extremely unfit and I know he will bounce me all around the squash court.

I have a whole list of safety gear that I have to get hold off. I have to go the supplier, choose my gear according to a loooong list, including helmet, goggles, boots, ear plugs, and whatever. I didn't see condoms on this list - weird hey. In Africa they supply condoms to all the workers, and that's the ultimate safety requirement to adhere to! Once I have picked my stuff at the supplier, they just phone the company for an order and everything is done.

We're in line for a general pay increase soon - 8.75%, and another 5% in April next year. The engineers apparently felt that they had to strike three times this year due to the salaries that are not in line with the mining sector's excessive salaries. Looks like a good time to join the company.

In general, a good experience, and nothing like my first day at NamWater (many, many moons ago). On that day I was sworn at hundreds of times, witnessed two big fights between employees, and heard an awful lot of shouting. My first boss told me he was glad to have another engineer on board - someone to trample on the balls of the technicians. He said it just like that - I still remember it to this day.

Around here all is calm and no worries mate. People open doors for each other, and give a friendly "after you, mate". Unbelievable.

See ya later.

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