I was on my way to my first day of work at my first real job. As I pulled into the parking lot, a wave of nausea overcame me. Reality set it in, I was an adult. This was how the rest of my life was going to be, I had never felt so small in my life.The rest of the day past in similar fashion. When I walked into the small Human resource office I noticed that it did not have any windows in it, I was trapped. The sweet human resource manager sat down with me and began to talk policy at me. That was how it felt anyway, none of what she was saying stuck, at least after page 15 it didn't. The policy book that she was reading from was about 5 inches thick, I had never had to fight so hard to stay awake, (staying awake through a calculous class was even easier).
Apparently, she finished the policy bedtime story and needed me to sign off stating that I understood the company's policies and would abide by them. I paused for a milli-second and could not figure out what was I signing off for? I had stopped paying attention after the first 45 seconds? Oh what the hell, this was the way that eternity was going to be right? So, I signed on the dotted line, and what felt all 1000 dotted lines that followed. (I was convinced that I had just signed all of my assets, any children that I would have, and I was absolutely sure that I had signed away my freedom). The feeling of nausea was back.I think the HR manager began to notice my glazed eyes and greenish coloring and offered a brief break for some lunch.
I thought it would be a heaven send. We walked into the small, crammed lunch room and I found no relief. My stomach was in knots, and I knew no one. I felt the the nerdy kid who had to sit by the teacher in the cafeteria. I scooped out some chicken a la mystery, grabbed a styrofoam cup of what was labeled diet coke and began to shovel food on top of the knots in my stomach.I tried to distract myself from my distress by people watching. For such a small area, alot was going on.
There were clearly divided factions in the room. Several groups were huddled together chatting quietly in, what I felt a language was meant only for them. A group of clucking middle aged women came by and sat down at our lonely table. We started chatting and I began to feel more comfortable and relaxed. I started to loosen my grip on my gaurd. I began to initate conversations, I started talking more loudly, I used my hands and arms to accentuate points on interest, (these were not new things to me, but doing them in such a foreign environment with such foreign people was new).
I somehow found myself in a rather heated debate about Tom Cruise's sexuality, I was spear heading the opinion that he was gay. The woman across from me disagreed so heartily, she could have told me she was Tom Cruise's mother and I may have believed her. (Great way to make new friends at the office.) Well, in the midst of trying to change the subject I took a nervous sip of my soda, and noticed my hands were shaking a bit. As I got the cup to my mouth, I started to take a drink and instead of the soda going in my mouth it went all down the front of my shirt, my crisp, newly dry cleaned, first day of work shirt.Brown soda, if anyone has tried, is not at all easy to "dab," (I was told to "dab" not rub), out of a white shirt.
The HR lady clearly felt badly for the new hire, and tried to console me with the fact that I had already met everyone and really it was not that noticeable. (Right, maybe to a blind person standing 50 feet away.) Not less than ten minutes after she said that, the General Manager, walked up to me and introduceed himself. He then proceded to mention the stain on my shirt and so kindly asked if I had noticed it. Its like asking someone standing at the edge of the grand canyon if they noticed that? I wanted to crawl in a hole and die.
Fortunately, the day was winding down. My first day was almost over. All I had left was to take an ID photo. The ID photo was pretty much icing on the first day of work cake. I had to stand in front of a blank white wall, which did a lot for my coloring, smile pretty and push all those foreboding thoughts out of my head.The picture summed up my day. I had forgotten to take off my glasses, so there was a wierd glare across my eyes. My hair was dreadfully flat due to the lateness in the day at the time we took it and the stain take dominated the photo.Once a client asked me in reference to the photo if it was really me. I wore that ID on my chest proudly for quite some time.