Marjee and I had a great time at the HSS conference in Vancouver, (Pictures comming soon) We had great food, and I think our papers were well recived. I also interviewed with the Atomic Heritage Foundation. It went well, I was there for over two hours. Keep your fingers crossed. I think this one might just work out.
The next morning, Tuesday, I reported to the downtown office where I would be working. After making my way through security I called Jesse to come down and bring me up. I got her answering machine. So I waited. Twenty minuets go by and I figure I should call her again. This time she answers and comes down to get me. She brings me up to her cube, where she tells me that Sandy will be in about an hour later, at which point we can meet and discuss my duties. So I spend the next hour waiting in her cube, as she goes about her daily activities. Luckily I have a time magazine in my bag. So I just settle down to read. After an hour and a half goes by Jesse informs me that Sandy is now in. She goes of to check with her.
When Jesse returns she is looking for a form, the pdd form, it turns out there is a new form that needs to be submitted with my fingerprints and that until that is submitted I cannot be on the premises. So Jesse arranges for me to go to the **** system building a few blocks away. I will work there until things get settled for my work. Fair enough. So for whatever reason I wait in Jesse’s cube for a few more hours, I have exhausted my time magazine and find myself staring at her screen saver. You know the one with the two sets of colored lines that bounce around. It turns out that it is really easy to space out and focus on the speed of the points that make up the objects. I must say I hand never taken the time to appreciate that screen saver before and without this job that knows if I ever would have.
At about 11:30 we start to walk over to the other office. It is raining, and I have no umbrella. We arrive a little bit before noon. The office manager gives me a tour of the facilities, finds me a small office with a computer that I can use temporarily. It is a nice place, with a full kitchen. So Jesse informs me that I will be working here until my paperwork clears. I ask her what I will be doing? To which she responds she is going out on vacation for the next week, but my manager should be back from vacation the next day.
So I sit down to my computer, I figure I can go through the mandatory training, schedule my drug test set up my company email. Start to settle in. Strangely, this is not an option. I attempt to log in to no avail. I called the company’s help line to find that I need to tell my manager to activate it. Soo I ask the office manager, she goes through some forms and such, submits the information and tells me that in the next day or so I should have internet access. Great. One problem, I can’t even get on to this computer to type in word. I tell her that I will head home for the day, and see her tomorrow, when hopefully I will meet my manager and start to do something.
I head home with the intention of working on my online training, low and behold the password and login don’t work. So even If I had had computer access I would not have been able to do much of anything.
So this is my second day of work.
It is getting close to noon, on day two. I came in at 8:30 and thus far have managed to compose the entire history of what has brought me here. I have yet to meet my manager, whom I am told comes in very early and then goes somewhere, and comes back at some time during the day. I still do not have access to the computer and am very glad that I brought my personal laptop.
Scratch that. It is 11:37 and I have received a log in and password. Lets see if they work.
And I am in…
Around one thirty today I got to meet my manager, lets call him Jeff. I think I like Jeff. He was very nice to me. Told me that he had been in touch with Sandy and that she would have some work for me on Friday. He seems like a bit of an early riser, wants me here at 7:30 Friday. Until then, today and tomorrow, I am supposed to study up on the government bureaus I will be working for online.
I do like to surf the net.
Sorry it took me so long to get these up…
After the rather Herculean task of getting to my orientation the event itself was rather pleasant. The acting president of the company welcomed the 11 or so new hires, we heard about our benefits, and company procedures. Watched some low budget films about ethics, they gave me a name badge. All fun stuff.
At lunch I met some of the folks in my division. Seem like neat people. All in all a good time. The trip back home was not that eventful, Things really seemed to be coming together.
I talked to my mother today and she told me that our family dog, Scout, went up north for her last time.
Scout is nearly 12 years old, a respectable age for a dog. Lately, she has been having a nearly impossible time walking and getting up the stairs. This happened earlier this month and my mom and dad took her to the vet, where she got some medication. The medicine helped her walk a bit for a few weeks, but she soon became very weak again and could not get around and lost her appetite.
So, this weekend, my father took her up to our cabin. My aunt, who lives up there, will take Scout to be put to sleep and Scout will be buried there.
I could not find a digital photo of Scout, so instead I am posting a picture we took last October up near our cabin, where Scout will be buried. It is a picture of the sky at dusk.
Here are some things you should know about Scout: She loves Polish sausage, she likes to shake hands with you multiple times. She loved road trips. When she was younger, she enjoyed biting people in the ankles in an attempt to herd them. She enjoyed chomping her teeth into my brothers socks and almost ripping them off.
This is, of course, very sad. I can’t believe I won’t see Scout again and I am so glad I saw her earlier this month when we went to Chicago. But Scout led the dream dog life. She ate like a queen, she had lots of people around that loved her. She took frequent vacations in the Northern woods. She was bilingual, she was smart. I’ll never shake a paw like hers again.
Thank you Scout for all of your puppy sweetness. I don’t think there is a better dog out there. Rest in peace, may your spirit chase chipmunks through the pine trees until Babcia calls you back in the house.
For those of you who don’t know the DC area that well, the International airport is in no way convienently located near the city. It is an hour by car, and as I found out, two and a half hours away by public transportation.
I rolled out of bed at 4:45 in the morning. Which was quite a feat in it’s own right, and made my way to the metro station. I took the metro to a buss depot, where I rode a freeway flyer to a second buss depot. Once there I snagged the local buss for a twilight tour of urban sprawl. I looked through the rack of bus route maps on the bus, sadly the only one that was empathy was the route I was on. So I asked my bus driver if she could tell me when we reached the stop that the transit authority’s website had directed me too.
She looked perplexed….
Which is not the look you want from the person in charge of getting you where you need to be.
She said she had never heard of the stop before.
On the way pass another buss she asked an elderly gentlemen, whom I assume was her boss, about the stop. He conjectured that it was in fact some other stop. But the sound of the engine noise kept me from hearing the specifics
At this point I felt relived. It seemed that the critical piece of information had been transferred. But as we rode around the route I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable. As we passed stop after stop and rapidly approached the time that my iteniray told me I should be getting off the bus I asked her.
Tragically she seemed to again be perplexed. I don’t think I fully communicated the situation and she said it might be around this stop. But we continued to another stop…. Convinced that I had just missed the stop I asked to get off as soon as possible so I could head back. She let me off, and I began to wander around in the twilight looking for an address that effectively made no sense in relation to all the addresses I saw around.
It was one of those great places where there are no sidewalks, as I walked back along the route the bus had come in I again wondered “How on earth am I going to find this place. It all looked so close on the map, but now it just didn’t make any sense. Passing a hotel I decide I would try to get some directions.
I entered the comfort inn with a cadre of what seemed to be Middle Eastern businessmen. When I asked the man at the front desk if he could give me directions or a map, he said he didn’t really know the area, but that a man in blue by the buffet knew it quite well. I expected that he was referencing another employee. Walking into the next room, which housed the buffet, I found a man in a blue jacket, clearly not an employee but still the only person in blue. I walked back to the desk to confirm that I was in fact to talk to the man in the blue jacket. He had a kind of trucker look to him. I was told ‘yes’ that was he.
As I asked the man in the blue jacket if he could tell me how to get to the office he gave me a “who the hell are you” Kind of look. Much better than a perplexed look I pressed forward. He told me to ask the man in the blue shirt who was upstairs. Why not, I still have half an hour to get to the office.
I walked up stairs to meet an older Middle Eastern man. I asked him if he knew how to get to the address I had for the office. Looking at my paper, perplexed…. He announced, “ I think I do, but it is too far to walk. Wait down stairs and I will drive you.”
Considering, What choice do I have but to hop in this mans car in hopes of getting to my orientation?
I head back downstairs to find the trucker looking gentleman, the one in the blue coat. He tells me that I could use the computer in the business center to find my way.
Overjoyed at the prospect of looking at a map, and finding the hard facts I plugged in the address I needed to get to and the address of the hotel, I printed the directions and decided to head out on my own to find the building. I printed them out and started out the front door.
As I headed out I started to remember my high school gym classes, particularly how long it took to go a mile. In tiptop shape I could run a mile in six minuets and some change. My directions called for me to travel some two and a half miles, in thirty minuets. I realized in the parking lot of that comfort inn that there was no way I was going to be even close to on time if I walked it. So I figured, why not take my chances with the Middle Eastern man’s car.
I found him, this time near the buffet; I showed him the map I had printed off, which he quickly dismissed as wrong. He said he knew where it was and that that was not it. Remember he had been somewhat perplexed by the address before, but for whatever reason looking at the map gave him all sorts of confidence that he knew and that the Internet was wrong. What the hell, what else do I have.
I snacked on a muffin while he gathered his things and we hoped in one of those big hotel van things and went on our way. Strangely we headed back the exact way I had walked from the bus, we passed the stop that my driver had several hours earlier left me off at, the one after the one we thought it was, or at least I thought it was.
Apparently my bus driver had not been as perplexed as I had thought she was. As I drove past the bus stop I had been left off at, and headed about 600 feet to my final destination my mind wandered through events that brought me here, It felt like a full day, and I hadn’t even begun my 8 hr orientation.
Later in the week, I believe I had interviewed on Wednesday, Jesse emailed me a series of forms to complete for employment. Here it is worth interjecting that this is the second bath of forms I had to complete. I had filled out about 10 pages of paper work for ***** System’s. But that was nothing compared to the onslaught of the new paper work Jesse sent me. Nine Documents, totaling over sixty pages. Have you ever done drugs? When? Where? How much? Do you drink? When? Where? And how much? Do you have contact with any foreigners? Who, Why, Where, How much? List every place you have lived in the last seven years, and list someone who can vouch for you then, preferably not a family member and we need their phone number and address. Etc…
I had a day to fill out the paper work and believe me it took the better part of that day. Once the paper work was finished I needed to head back down to the down town office to be finger printed. Keep in mind that I have not been offered a job at this point. Instead I am doing this on my own time, really for my own enjoyment. So I head down to the office at the appointed time, go thought the rigmarole with the metal detector, and minor interrogation from the guards. This time I know whom I am seeing, so I assume smoother sailing. But then I should have remembered, this is the government, why on earthy would anything ever smothe out.
Jesse did not answer her phone. In fact she did not answer her phone for the next hour as I sat down on the bench and listened in on the security guards complaints about their union. After about two hours I gave up. Headed home, and counted it all for a loss. I emailed Jesse, she told me She was sorry, but she was running late. So we confirmed that we would try it again tomorrow.
The next day, after all the security whatnot, Jesse came down and we headed over to a different building, where I was finger printed. I turned in all of my paper work and went back home for the day.
A few days latter I received a frantic request from Jesse for me to sign and fax a predated ‘PDD’ form. It descried my duties and informed me of my title of “acquisition associate”. Still I have not been confirmed for the job. I haven’t heard from Ryan for a few days. Later that day he called me, and told me that an offer letter would reach me by the end of the day. It came at 6 at night, and offered me another stack of papers to fill out. I was also informed that I would need to be at orientation on Monday, at a different office out near the international airport.
Early the next week I found myself again on the phone with Ryan. Briefly he told me that I would be interviewing downtown at one of the government buildings, He said I would meet with a woman named Jesse, a ***** System employee who would prep me for the interview with someone else. While I was still trying to piece together what exactly was going on I decide to get my interview gear together. First I gathered my newly bought interview suit, I took my laptop messenger bag to carry some paperwork in.
The next day I rode the metro downtown, and went to the building, where I was to a minor degree interrogated by the security folks, after they saw my drivers License, and I gave them my social security number I walked through the metal detector, they asked me who I was here to see. I reached in my pocket for the information I had printed out. I had directions to the location, Directions to the second location, where I would discuss benefits with Ryan, but for whatever reason I did not have Jesses last name or phone number. I was even fumbling to remember her name. Was it Jesse, or Jerry, or Sherry? I had no Idea.
In my attempt to grasp at last straws I called Marjee. “Could you look up my email and find the name of the woman I am supposed to meet down here?” I franticly asked. Marjee, who is by now as accustom as one can become to my frantic ‘I lost everything- please make it better’ calls said she would look it up in five minuets when she got to work.
As some of the slowest ten minuets of my life pass before my eyes I think ‘what am I doing here’ several times. As my phone rings, the ring tone associated with marjee’s phone, the thought passes and after poorly directing marjee around my cluttered email box I have her name, which will be able to get me her number from security. The guards now give me her number, and as I triumphantly call, no more than two minuets late…. I get her answering machine.
I leave her a message; tell her I am in the lobby. And return to the bench in the lobby, waiting. After about half an hour, I ask one of the guards for her number again, to leave a second message. As I tell him her name he says. “Oh, She is right there” A woman had just come around the corner and announced “Oh, Hi you must be Trevor. Come with me, these guys know me this is all ok.” I followed her outside. After introducing herself to me she told me I would be meeting with Sandy, who would interview me. Sandy apparently is in charge of the division I will work for. She is not a ***** System’s employee, she works for the government. Jesse apologizes for being late; she has apparently just gotten there. She informs me that Sandy is also running late, and will not be there for half an hour. So we wait for her to come in.
Eventually Sandy shows up, and we get to the interview. I regale them with my finely crafted “I got a bad grade on a paper and then I got a good one” story, and a few other yarns and they seem to like me. The interview wraps up and Sandy has to get back to work. Jesse tells me that I will most likely have an offer very soon, and thanks me for coming down.
As I left the office and walked over to the **** systems office I found myself wondering at how bizarre and convoluted it all seemed. I thought ‘well that other job is probably about to come through, so this is just a back up, I can handle that.” But alas I never heard from the other job and after a compelling discussion of their benefits package I started to think this could be a good deal after all.
I had worked my job search life into a regular pattern. I would wake up around 9 and often work out. Watch some cartoons while I surfed the net for job openings, check my world of warcraft auctions and then dive back into scouring the Internet for jobs. Part of every day was spent reading some of the books I had picked up on job searching and resume writing.
After working out one day, toward the end of my shower I heard my cell phone ringing. While my job books all told me not to answer calls, to let my voicemail get it and return the call later, I was waiting to hear about a job interview at PBS and thus wanted to know. I jumped out of the shower, grabbed a towel and proceeded to be interviewed for a position for a company I had never heard of. The call went something like this.
“Hi Trevor, this is Ryan, ***** Systems, are you at all familiar with our company”
Searching for a way to say no with out saying no I responded.
“A little bit, but I would like to hear how you describe it”
“We are a government defense contractor, working in a variety of capacities for different governmental projects. We have a position opening and I wanted to see what you are interested in, Could you tell me briefly what kind of work you are looking for”?
In an attempt to keep the conversation going I throw out that “I am looking for a entry level position, one with opportunities for growth”
He seemed to like this, He told me “ This position is really a gofer position, nothing to complicated, but it would get your foot in the door in a great company. I will call you later next week to set up a formal interview. Talk to you then.”
With that, the conversation was over. There I was, still wet wearing a towel in our bedroom, wondering at how absurd it would be if I started to work for a major military contractor. I really did not think anything would come of it. I figured it was the last I would hear of Ryan. But it turned out I was quite wrong.
At the moment I am flying over Indiana, on my way with marjee to Chicago. We have had a surreal few weeks, no; I guess it is more like months. The job hunt has been a rollercoaster ride, but a weird one, where one moment I find my self sitting around playing video games and then next fielding random calls about jobs. I am speaking about the job hunt in the past tense because it appears that I have found one, one that sure beats boarders. After all of my tireless applications, something in the neighborhood of 10-30 a week, I have been hired by a company I have never heard to work for a government agency I was barely aware existed.
Last week I received a phone call from Ryan, a representative from a major military contractor. After jumping out of the shower, to grab the phone, wet, wearing nothing but a towel I found myself in an interview for a job I had never applied for. The conversation went something like this.
“Hi this is Ryan from (Insert Military Contractor). I came across your resume and wondered if what kind of work you are interested in.”