It is the one month monthniversary of my arrival. So far so good. Since I started work, work has been a big part of my day – in at about 9, out by about 7, play with the bunnies for a while, chat to Ilda online, watch some tv, go to sleep, rinse and repeat.
Work is a double edge sword (or triple edge; not sure – but it is very pointy in places). On the one hand, the place hums with futureness. Smart, young people working on the latest and greatest technology. Everyone is slightly odd or eccentric. Walking along the corridors in building 34 (my building), I often get lost because they are very much the same. But what an education – peering into people’s offices you can see movie posters, teddy bears, photos of wives and kids, model airplanes, bumper stickers, news clippings, many, many empty cooldrink cans, and one person has an illuminated fish tank and about 20 pot plants. My office is still pretty boring, mostly because I have not had time to spruce it up yet, but also because I share with a nice Candian called Rob, and with two of us there is not too much space.
In terms of creature comforts and modern living the company is quite something else. Every building is climate controlled, and you can if you want call for an ergonomics team to come in and advise you on how to lay out your office and adjust you chair etc (I wonder what they would say to the guy who has not a desk and chair but a treadmill). There are sound-proofed conference rooms so that when you have a meeting, you can safely discuss trade secrets. And they are crazy about recycling; they don’t just recycle – they compost. So all paper, cups, plates and so on are compostable (if you leave a paper cup on your desk with some tea in it, the next day, the cup with have melted at the bottom and you will get a puddle – I use a porcelain mug to be safe). The cutlery is made of a special palstic made from potato starch which is also compostable (and if you lick them they taste a little like chips). And so on and so on.
Then on the other hand, the actual coding has been driving me crazy. Everything in Exchange runs on services rather than regular processes, and I have not used those before. On top of that, people here never do anything as you would expect, because everything is hardened against security threats, and optimized for performance. So diving into many millions of lines of code written that way and trying to figure out what is what has been more than a little frustrating. Finally today I made a big breakthrough, so it looks like I am making some headway. And that felt good. One foot in front of the other!
When I need a little break, I usually pick up a Talking Rain (the local brand of soda water), and go for a little walk outside. If it is raining I will just sit in the foyer and look out (the front of the building is all glass, so you get a very good view of the trees and mountains from it).