In my latest round of “I’m really slow at announcing life updates on the blog”: I got a job! A “real” job, a corporate job, an “industry” job. I started two weeks ago and thus far, it feels pretty great. I’m doing stuff that I enjoy, I’m working with good people (except for that one obnoxious intern), and I’m making a real salary doing it.
Much has been written of the difference between academic and industry jobs. For me, adapting to the big ones has been fairly easy. Having to get to work at 8 a.m. with no chance of napping is tiring, yes, and finding work clothes involved a lot of frustrating shopping, but those are normal parts of being an adult and they did not come as a surprise.
The surprises have been more in the little things. At the end of my first day, I tweeted about the shock of being handed a fully functional computer on a my first day. That seemed to strike a bit of a chord among folks familiar with academia’s approach to IT.
After so many years in academia, one of the weirdest parts of my first day in a corporate environment was being han… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
crazy mama, PhD (@crazygradmama) July 17, 2018
I’m also still getting used to a different approach to physical security. At a public university, with class-taking students coming in and out all day, the building doors were always unlocked during business hours and there were no restrictions on who could enter. Closing and locking one’s office door on departure—even if you were just popping down the hall to the bathroom—was therefore of paramount importance.
To get to my new office, you have to badge in once to enter the building, walk past our office manager, and then badge in through a second set of doors to the main hallway. But once you’re in there… we don’t close the interior doors, much less lock them, even at night. It feels distinctly weird to be turning off my lights at the end of the day and then just walking out and leaving the door open! With our laptops right there!
About those laptops: we can take them home and work remotely if necessary. I’ve got a little electronic doohickey with a code that allows me to VPN onto the office network. People don’t actually do that on a regular basis, though. The two guys on my team, with whom I share an office, have left their laptops at work every night and every weekend since I’ve arrived. I’m sure there will be deadlines when we have to get some late work in, but it’s clearly not the standard.
Not working on the weekend isn’t horribly foreign to me, even coming from academia. What is foreign is being completely disconnected from work on the weekend. If I leave my work laptop in the office on Friday evening, I am entirely cut off from all work updates until I arrive on Monday morning. I am not used to this yet. It still feels viscerally wrong to walk out of the office on Friday and become unreachable by email for the next 63 hours.
Oh, and my boss has been giving me actual training and guidance on a new-to-me programming language. What a concept!