Jul 17, 2009
Twenty Years Ago?!
Twenty years ago today I started my first post-college job. Holy crud. "Twenty years" seems like both too big and too small a number for what I remember of then and for what I remember of what happened in between.
Random things about first job:
- I was hired as an environmental engineer with the Alliance Technologies Corporation, which would later fold into its parent company, TRC Environmental (now TRC Solutions). We mostly supported the US EPA in their efforts to write air quality regulations.
- My starting salary was $28,000 (which was enough to let me buy a $65k townhome five minutes from the office).
- My senior bosses -- Rich and Art -- were really cool. They're still cool people. Just no longer my bosses.
- I wore a tie on my first day, and Rich said "we'll see how long that lasts."
- My interview process got off to an odd start. I met the company through one of my dad's colleagues - Buddy - who used to work for Alliance. Buddy connected me with Tom -- one of the senior staff -- for an information interview during winter break of my senior year. Tom and I had a nice chat (after I failed to fix the postage scale that fell off of Marjorie's reception desk while I was waiting), and he wanted me to have another visit with his colleague Alan who wasn't in that day. But when Gail the admin called to schedule me for a chat with Alan, she told me to plan for at least three hours. Huhn? Turns out that by then, it was a job interview.
- After the interview (in which young intern Andrew interrupted my meeting with big boss Art so that Art could throw some car keys at him), I was pretty interested. But I didn't get an offer for the longest time until I typed up a note (on a typewriter, yes) to ask if one might be coming. (Intern Andrew said that the staff had all liked me but had assumed I'd take a higher paying job in industry, so they didn't bother with an offer.)
- Picking a start date was odd, too. I figured "the working world doesn't give a lot of vacation, so I think I'll not start until like November." But they wanted me to start as soon as I graduated. We picked July 17 as a compromise, which gave me enough time for a month-long trip to Indonesia.
- By the time I started work, Buddy had rejoined Alliance and was my new boss.
- At least a half-dozen of my colleagues smoked at the office, which I didn't think was unusual. By end of summer, I turned into the "it's 4 o'clock -- go fetch some beer" boy. But that's a story for later.
Meanwhile, I'll take a moment to be thankful for all the people who got me to that first job, and all of those who helped me enjoy it for the next five years.
Photo of the Europa Center yoinked from a site that seems so cheesy, I won't even credit it. Our offices occupied most of the ground floor.