February 21st, 2006

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First day

The first order of business this morning was to go through new employee orientation. This involved sitting through a variety of people with varied speaking skills describe the various benefits available to county employees. Is it just me, or does it seem like a job requirement for HR people that they have a desperate need for other people to like them? None of them were awful and they mostly didn't read their PowerPoint slides, which was a blessing. And some folks there appeared to have never worked for a real company before and so didn't know about wonderful things like pre-tax healthcare accounts and long-term disability. So a lot of it was review for me, but one of things you must suffer through as a county employee.

After orientation, I hopped on the train and zipped the one stop back to the Metrodome and walked over to my office. My titular boss was in a meeting so the woman who appears to be office mom for the group took me around, showed me where the conference rooms were, introduced me to a few people, gave me some important hand-outs and like that.

Next I met with the guy that I will be taking day-to-day instruction from. He seems pretty laid-back and professes to be more interested in results than process, so that sounds like a good fit for me. Turns out, what I'll be doing is a lot more describing what we're doing and/or want to do with our web sites than managing the process of making things happen. So I am, I guess, more of a business analyst than a project manager, but it all sounds fun and like something I'd be quite good at.

Busing home went easily and only took about a half hour. I need to figure out how many trips I'll be taking before I can get a subsidized pass from work and then how I'll be passing along the fares between now and then. So far, this seems like it'll work fine.
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Sad news

Got a call from my mom a little earlier this evening letting me know that my paternal grandmother, the last of my grandparents, had died. I'd learned when visiting my folks in January that she was not doing well. She was deep in dementia, thinking my father was his brother Jim for example (a mistake one might forgive since she did have 14 children), and with a form of cancer that was destroying her red blood cells. The only thing keeping her alive was frequent transfusions. My dad's siblings got together and decided that her quality of life didn't really justify the continuous transfusions, particularly in light of others that could use the blood and live far more productive lives, and so ordered them stopped.

The funeral is Saturday. I'll talk to what the HR person at orientation called "my new best friend," the payroll contact for my department tomorrow and see if the county's very nice funeral leave benefit is available to me or not. (The county offers up to three days of paid leave based on the closeness of the relative and the distance to travel to the funeral.) Either way, I'll head up to the funeral on Friday and return Saturday night.

Spancil Hill--The Tim Malloys--If You Were Walking
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