Now that it’s Tuesday evening, I have officially had two first days with my new company. I really need to come up with a nickname so I can talk about ’em without giving too much away, like I did with Ye Olde Publishing Company. Let’s see…they have been providing telephone, cable, and internet services to rural communities across South Dakota for over 100 years.
CenturyCo it is.
Two first days because Monday I drove to corporate HQ in Wall for orientation, and today was my first day in the Rapid City office.
The drive to Wall was beautiful but damn cold. I’d been a little worried about the roads after our weekend snowstorm, but the interstate was clear the entire 55 miles. I gave myself an extra half hour just in case, which meant I got to watch the sun rise over the snow-covered plains. It was simply breathtaking.
And also, cold AF. It was below zero pretty much the entire way. I have never been so thankful for heated seats! They’re a game-changer.
Because I left so early and the roads were fine, I ended up with half an hour to kill before it was time to report to CenturyCo. Naturally, I stopped at Wall Drug to grab a donut. The benefit of getting there one minute after they opened on a bitterly cold morning in the offseason? The place was deserted.
Orientation was swell. When I walked into the conference room, there was a pile of gifts waiting for me, including a backpack, lunch bag, and company laptop. These guys really know how to make you feel welcome! The HR generalist spent five hours with me, going over all the new hire paperwork. This included a 79-page employee manual and a series of videos covering accidents in the workplace, blood-borne pathogens, and—my favorite—sexual harassment. Only because it was so badly acted. The look of disgust on the nerdy dude’s face when the hot chick came onto him next to the water cooler (plot twist!) was priceless. And unrealistic, because really? She repulses you?! They also bought me lunch (Subway…because it’s Wall, population 876, and what else is there?). We finished up at 1:30 and I was home an hour later, free for the afternoon.
It was weird walking into the Rapid City office this morning, because I had never actually seen it thanks to these strange COVID times and a virtual interview. First time I’ve ever started a job without setting foot on the premises. Fortunately, it’s pretty nice. I was introduced around and shown to my office, which pretty much blew me away. Not only is it private and nicely appointed, but it’s even got a view! I’ve spent most of my career working in cavernous open office spaces, which just suck. Note to business owners: nobody likes working in an open office. They’re noisy and distracting. I’m feeling very spoiled now.
Two monitors + a laptop/docking station + a workstation that you can raise or lower with the push of a button to turn into a standing desk? Pinch me.
Only don’t, because that’s sexual harassment and against corporate policy.
About the only negative thing I can find—and this is a stretch—is that I’m forced to work with a PC. I’m a Mac guy through and through; it’s all I’ve worked with since 2012, save for a brief stint with PSI in Rapid City. No big deal really, except it took me 10 minutes and a couple of Google searches just to figure out how to insert a freakin’ em dash into a document. I know the Apple shortcut by heart, but of course that doesn’t work on a PC.
Other than that, it was a good first day. Lots of action happening at CenturyCo. The state of South Dakota announced a program called K-12 Connect that uses CARES funds to supply free internet to qualifying families with school-age children to help ensure they can complete their schooling this year. Great idea, and we have about 2,400 families in our service area who will benefit, so things are going to be hoppin’ in the next few weeks as our service techs hit the road.
They welcomed me with a socially distanced lunch from Olive Garden, too. We all sat in the main office and got to know each other. The marketing department is small—there are five total, including me—but I really like my team. We all clicked during the interview, and I feel very comfortable with them.
I told Tara walking into the office almost felt like coming home. I think that’s a very good sign!