Saturday, September 17, 2005

Adventures in Orientation

On Thursday morning, I went to the office where I was to be oriented to the world of postdocs. Basically it consisted of me skimming a lot of boring documents and signing forms saying I had read them. But by the end of it, my hand was worn out. I should have brought out the signature stamp. I got to the actual lab at a few minutes before noon. I got my badge and proceeded from there.

I have my own office, and it even has my name by the door, in golden letters. It’s on the ground floor of an older building, and it’s across the hall and down a door or two from my mentor. It’s right across the hall from his boss. When I got into my office, the first thing we did was get out my new laptop, which I’m typing on right now. It’s a 15” PowerBook G4, and I’m totally pumped about it. My desktop is going to be a dual boot Linux/Windows box. I wanted an Apple dual G5 desktop, but my mentor overruled that and bought this other machine instead. He’s not all that in to Macs for some reason.

I went to lunch in the cafeteria with a whole bunch of people, including a friendly Canadian guy who started last month. He was really nice and very cheerful. The only problem was that he pronounced Illinois with the final “s.” Sometime when I feel more comfortable with him I will correct him on that one.

Then I spent the rest of the day doing lab orientation stuff: reading boring web pages and completing quizzes. The first web page was about the organization and the management philosophy. It was boring. I didn’t do so well on the quiz, but luckily you could correct your answers after you made your guess that was wrong. There were other lessons, but what I got out of it was this: Don’t give people your password, don’t flush dangerous chemicals down the toilet, and don’t use your badge to scrape the ice off your windshield. Also, downloading porn at work is a really, really bad idea, and always obey the speed limit.

After work on Thursday, I went to the house that we’re buying for the home inspection. The inspector was there and he inspected the house quite thoroughly. Since the seller offered to pay up to $1500 for repairs, we’re going to put every problem that he said on the list. The biggest problem is with the deck, which is a little wobbly. But they can just put in some diagonal supports and it should be okay. So that’s where the first part of the $1500 is going.

I didn’t get back to my apartment until about 9:00. I made my dinner, ate it, cleaned up, and went to bed. It was a long day, but overall a success.

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