Well, I did it.

First day under my belt. Man this felt like a long day. It was such a busy and tiring weekend, what with dear son’s very well-attended and very busy 5th birthday, some exercise, staying up too late, and getting a lot of sun, all of which equal a very tired rockandrollmama. And first day on the new job today, which was…mixed, but overall pretty darn positive.

They wear jeans. Like every day. The senior VP/AE had on (nice) jeans and a Red Hot Chili Peppers t-shirt. The other senior AE had on gray capri jeans and a striped t-shirt from Old Navy or the Gap, and boat shoes. So yeah, this will be the only day I dress up. The Pres and creative director wears jeans and a front-button shirt every single day because that’s what he likes to wear, but everyone else (6 of the 9 employees are women) was dressed very, very casually, which is so awesome I cannot tell you.

The Mac is proving more of a challenge than I thought. I know, I know, it’s supposed to be super intuitive, but when you’ve been working in PCs for more than 20 years, and know all the tips, tricks and shortcuts, it’s like learning a new language. I was about as adept at the keyboard today as I was in reading the brochure lying around from a coffee-producing client, which was all in Italian. Actually I was a bit better at that, since I took a little Italian in college, and four years of Latin before that, so I can figure out the meaning of a simple sentence in a marketing brochure. I watched several tutorial videos today, as that’s a good way for me to learn, and read the entire Macbook manual online as well. I also received a whole host of jobs, none of which had a half hour deadline or came with a warning that so-and-so is really particular or nasty or mean and don’t change anything unless it’s really, really wrong, which was refreshing. And an article I wrote for them as a freelancer last month came out today in a trade magazine called Lift, which is all about massive, multimillion dollar industrial cranes. It was pretty cool seeing it in print, actually, and considering I knew absolutely nothing about cranes before I wrote it, I’m kind of proud of it. I’m also researching a white paper on something to do with restaurant trends and chefs (hello chef friends, yes, I will be contacting you) and another one about foodservice grade fine china.

The absolute best part of the day was a brainstorming creative meeting I went to, where people debated and discussed concepts for a half-page ad in a trade magazine about catering. Food, as you all know, is right in my wheelhouse, so I ate this up (see what I did there?). In the meeting, the AE writes down on a whiteboard whether or not people in the meeting were helpful or contributed an idea or did this or that or the other, and whomever has the most checkmarks next to their name at the end of the meeting is crowned the winner. I won. Working in restaurants for years actually has some relevance, turns out. We now have a total of five concepts, two of which are mine, and I get to write headlines for them and the other creatives I work with will mock up designs and we’ll meet again in a week to pick which ones to send to the client. I could get very, very used to this, oh yes.

The worst part of the day outside of my ape hands fumbling on the computer was all the stairs. My knee problem has really flared up since I’ve gotten back to running, despite copious stretching and foam rolling and not running more than once a week, and brand new Brooks shoes and everything. When I was taken on the tour of the building, up and down all kinds of stairs, I was seriously wincing in pain. Doing a 5K this Saturday is looking like a very bad idea, but I will foam roll and stretch and rest until then and not run, or even go out power walking, and hope for the best. That, and Folger’s coffee were honestly the worst things; I will bring my own coffee for now, and ease them in to something better. These two bad things were better than almost any single hour at my previous job over the past 10 years; I did not have to listen to overly-chipper speakerphone conversations all day long from across the hall, nobody warned me that “there were complaints” about my department and that we’d just have to “do better,” and several people smiled at me and seemed genuinely excited to meet me and glad I was there to help them. I had a meeting outside with the VP and gave him several ideas about how to add value to the business and he wants me to flesh out the ideas and write them up to give to the CEO, he thinks they are great ideas. I told him I hoped I wasn’t overstepping and he said something like, “I expect you to bring the full bore of all your experience at any all jobs to this position; we welcome ideas from everyone and you have some great and fresh ones.”

At about 20 minutes before 12, they stopped a discussion we were all having to make sure everyone had time to order lunch if they were getting takeout or delivery. (!) I brought my lunch, not knowing what the deal would be, and took it outside to this cool, fenced in courtyard behind the building where there are big, comfy oversize chairs and a gas grill for anyone to use, anytime. I had so much time at lunch that I drove to the drugstore to buy a couple of super-duper knee compression sleeves, which helped with the climb back up to my floor after lunch. When I got up to my floor, everyone was – get this – sitting around at the conference table watching an SNL video and chatting and eating lunch. It was like something from a TV sitcom; I couldn’t believe people actually did this. I felt like shit for going and sitting outside but not total shit, because it was very hot out, and that really twirls my ticket. Plus I’m sure there will be many other lunches.

Several people swore during the meeting, and talked about how they should have had mimosas for my first day. It bodes well.

I got into my car to leave and Elton’s “The Bitch Is Back” was on. Yes, yes she is.

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