Gwool

Gwool
Birthday
February 25
Bio
Weather beaten, divorced father of 4 through a lot of changes and far happier than I have been in my entire life... in spite of the day to day crap coming my way. The ability to find the humor in it all and maintain a sense of openness and respect with those with whom I choose to share my free time, makes it all worthwhile. Expect intermittent rants of whimsy as time permits. And maybe the occasional political rant to get my left leaning friends all in a dither.

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Salon.com
JANUARY 3, 2011 12:45PM

New Job? Let’s Do The Time Warp Again …

Rate: 19 Flag

ripVanWinkle 

 Rip Van Winkle Coming in Off the Bench
(Source: http://englishfor1a.blogspot.com/2008/04/rip-van-winkle.html)

Ronald Reagan ran the country the last time I started a job at a company I did not own.  April 1986.  The day before I managed to step off a beam in my attic, put my foot through a ceiling, and badly turn my ankle such that I showed up in my pinstripe suit with one black wingtip and an untied sneaker adorning my feet.

And therein lies but the first of the adjustments that has me feeling a little like Rip Van Winkle. 

To Wit:

Wardrobe

What the hell do I wear?

Wardrobe decisions revolved around tie selection before.  On went the black suit, black wing tips, and starched, white shirt.  After that all that had to be decided was the tie.  Red power ties held court, with a few yellow ones thrown in for good measure.  I liked red, but also had an affinity for gray colored ones as well.  Children, at the time, used to spit up on them, causing me great angst when having to jettison a silk necktie with baby formula stains. 

Now?  Dress pants and blazer?  Tie or no tie?  Jeans and open collared shirt?  Dress pants and open collared shirt?  Dress loafers?  Casual loafers?  You don’t want to be one level below office par, but you don’t want to be two levels above office par, either.

Time/Electronics

In 1986 there were no such things as cell phones, facebook, or twitter.  Now you get to work 24/7 and have to watch what your write in your private life lest a client catch wind of it or a boss see something inopportune uttered about them ... however indirectly.

 In the old days, you wandered the hall with red penned content to find the analysts.  Now you IM the guy in the next office rather than get up to communicate.

Likewise, if you were speaking with someone, you had their undivided attention.  Now their wireless PC has them checking email and monitoring other things while you try to talk to them.

Environment

Anita Hill had yet to enter the gender interactions lexicon back in 1986.  I remember well those discussions in 1991 as I had many female staffers and male peers who had admonished me for having a staff so heavily laden with women given these men felt it made for bad office politics.  The hearings did enable a lot of frank discussions and was eye opening.  Practically a generation removed, it will be interesting to observe carefully in hopes of refraining from chewing on my insole inadvertently.

Age

In 1986 I was the up and comer who had a hard time being taken seriously by clients given a lack of “gray hair.”  Now I will have a hard time getting peers and reports to take me seriously because I do have gray hair… and have to wear glasses.

And in technology, the utilization waves slosh back and forth across operating units.  Wait long enough, they turn back, akin to wide lapels or narrow lapels on suits or hem lines on dresses and skirts.  New names for old concepts. 

Lunch

Back then I can and did eat anything.  Now I have the metabolism of a cadaver and have to watch what I put into my mouth to forestall the inevitable transformation into a cadaver.  Yogurt and fruit will be the order of the day rather than pizzas, subs, and bags of potato chips.

Maturity

I still lack it, believing in the credo that it is never too late to have a second childhood.  Much more comfortable in my own skin now as opposed to 26 years ago, I imagine it will be far easier to handle what comes my way. 

And with that, time to tee up one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite musicals…and dive into the PowerPoint decks I must red pen before officially starting on the job.

 

 

 You gotta love Susan Sarandon ... 

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Comments

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good luck, geoff. if it's any consolation: if you don't figure out the right answers to all the questions on the first day, you surely will by the second. as simon cowell would say: now off you go.
Nah, Femme. The older I get the more convinced I become of how little I know. Makes it a lot easier with that mindset.
New Job? Oooo, I have been sleeping a lot lately!!! Good luck my friend. We're all counting on you. I'm still in search mode, so I still have some hope left for myself.

Rated!
I wouldn't have thought a job as a transvestite would incur so many decisions!

I'd read up on the past few years of Dilbert to catch up.
I'm one of the few holdouts who still wears a tie on a regular basis where I work. When I see one of the 20-30 year old crowd come in with a tie on, my question to him is "Did your goldfish die, or do you have a meeting out of the office today?"
Tink: Hang in there, baby. Things seem to be turning, ever so slightly.

Harry: And shoes. Don't forget the shoes. I don't know how Imelda Marcos managed to make it out before the little people with all those decisions to make.

Con: Questions into one's personal pet life would likely get you a front row seat at some sensitivity training to determine your Meyers-Briggs personality profile as well as your color for your badge to bell you like a cat to protect the GenX birds on your radar.
You'll figure it all out. When if comes to computers, I lost it while still working as a public school teacher and conscientiously integrating technology into my lesson plans. Things moved too fast for me to keep up. Good luck!
nice post. about to do same.
Mary: What technology is doing to teaching instruction fascinates me. The old model dates back to the middle ages when you think about it. (And as a friend highlighted to me a year and a half ago.) Changing that delivery method through technology enablement is going to be a great thing.

Don: All joking aside, they say there's great benefit to a blend of genxer/boomer types if each is open to the other. My being the product of essentially half generations given my siblings are much older means I have a lot of nieces and nephews in that late 20s to mid 30s band width. That's my story, at least, and I am sticking to it.
Good luck with your new job!
Can you "visit" a day or two before your starting date to see what the office is like?
R
Along with everybody else, I wish you good luck in your new endeavor. As for the social environment, I suspect you will be forced to undergo harassment and gender sensitivity training. While pointless for 98% of civilized humans, it does keep the consultant industry robust.
Better you than me, my dear. Keep the whippersnappers in line.
Good luck, young man, and never trust anybody under sixty!
As long as you wear your Frank N. Furter garb beneath the suit, you'll do just fine. Good luck and kick some butt!
Kettleworx my friend. If you ever want to up your metabolism and stop living on yogurt: try it. I have abs again.
the metabolism of a cadaver sounds like a really great band name.
This post is like the old joke, "the day my ship comes in is the day I'll be at the airport."

Read the book the First 90 days. It will make you feel worse. Congrats on the new gig. Remember they hired you for your brain and experience, not your hair, eyes, political views, or age.
Congrats on the new job! I hope it works out well for you. Time Warp - fine choice of tunes. ;)

Here's to new jobs in 2011 for many of us who have been looking!
great fun!
i am thrilled for you!
wow, what a difference a couple of decades makes, good for you for being so resilient and adaptable. The not seeing coworkers can be a good thing, I think, but something's lost too, seriously. I made lifelong friends at my last office job, but my job has changed in that I work at home and have no co-workers that I ever actually see or hear, only email. I started this job with a typewriter and dictaphone and now use neither, though I do essentially the same job, medical transcriptionist/editor. Anyway, glad you have enough gray hair to be taken seriously.
Good luck in your new job.

I started my first agency Job in 1980. It was either grey or navy suits, white or blue oxford button downs and for those casual days navy sport coat and tan wool dress pants. Ties were selected based on who you would see that day. You had client ties, power ties, meeting ties and general office ties. At one time I must have had 50 ties.

Now I have maybe 5 ties and two dress shirts because most of our clients are dress or business casual. Because of email and smart phones I could go months without actually seeing a client face to face so my day to day dress is cargo pants (I need a lot of pockets) and a pull over shirt or sweater. Yep things have changed in 30 years.
Good luck! I was a little afraid to come here...but the lights are still on.:)
The only constant is change.