First days are the worst days

There’s nothing I like anticipating less than a first day at a new job. I suspect that I was more than a little institutionalized at my old place of work because the closer I got to my last day there, the day I’d dreamed of for so long, the tighter the knot in my stomach became at the thought of leaving there and starting my dream work placement.

This condition isn’t helped by the fact that everyone is really nice to you on your last day. People you’ve hardly ever spoken to hug you and give you book tokens. People you’ve known for years cry, actually cry, because you’re leaving. You start to think it’s actually quite good there. But you know it’s not really. I handed my pass in and left the building for the last time along side my good friends who as we exited the building I handed my umbrella, bag of presents and ruck sac to before jumping up and down for joy on the pavement. “OK, OK, some of us still work here you know” they said.

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(My good friend Noah on my leaving do, who lives with my other friends Luke and Rachel)

After a good night out with the gang all that was left to do was start worrying about my first day. I know from experience that I relax as soon as I arrive at my new place of work or study and as a rule enjoy myself, but that does little to stem the flow of anxiety I insist on marinating every new experience in. And of course as I arrived at the front door of Penny Anderson Associates I felt the familiar evaporation of stress and began what was by all accounts an enjoyable first day.
I bumped into Jacky, who interviewed me, at the door and was shown around the building and allocated a desk then introduced to a guy in the lab who looked after me and the two work experience kids from a local school for the day. Their names are Scott and Ella which I am remembering as the two Fitzgeralds.

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We spent the day identifying aquatic invertebrates from a Somerset river sample. After an hour or so a man called Gerard introduced himself and asked if I liked bats? I said I did. “Great you can assist on the dusk and dawn surveys in Liverpool next week” he said. I imagined myself sat in a festival chair in Liverpool all night but have since found out you stay in a hotel between the dusk survey and the dawn survey.

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A short while later Gerard came in again and asked if I liked Water Voles and as I answered to the affirmative another item was added to my calendar. Wow it’s actually happening, I thought. This was the placement I had applied for but it’s a strange feeling when you’re suddenly living it as opposed to guessing and imagining it. If Gerard ever asks me if I like dead arms I’ll worry.

Caddis Fly

On my lunch break I took a walk into Buxton center and bought myself a coffee in Cafe Nero. I called Stacey and told her about my morning, reassured as I heard the excitement in my own voice.

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(Spotted this on my way to lunch)

Before I left I was given a company mobile phone. It felt like being in The Wire. I’m referring to it as my burner. I have my outlook account and calendar set up. I’m going to a meadow tomorrow, Wales on Wednesday and bat and vole surveying next week. Work placement has begun.
I went and said goodbye to Jacky and as I headed out of the building I bumped into Penny Anderson herself. Slightly star struck I introduced myself and left into what has become a sunny day to make my way back to Manchester…

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Are all Ecological Consultancies like this? Everyone is cheerful and friendly. Day one done, so far so good.
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One thought on “First days are the worst days

  1. Generally, everyone I have met in ecological consultancy has been very friendly and happy chappies, plus most are more than happy to give you advice and answer your questions.

    I think it helps that most of us are slightly eccentric (some more than others), and the knowledge that there is a type of comradery between us – we all have our moments of suffering! (Like this week, I am doing 6 back to back dusk/dawns. Goodbye sleep. But then, a lot of other consultants will be going through the same ordeal).

    I hope you carry on enjoying your work placement =]

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