When I was initially hired to work at FinancialCompany, I wasn’t worried at all about the requirements of the position.
Let’s see if I can get the job first, I said to myself. There’s a fair amount of overlap between the skills I have and they skills they’re looking for. It should be OK.
It was only after I’d been there for perhaps a month when it started to really sink in how much stuff I didn’t know.
I had to learn four massive software packages, a bunch of stuff on the networking side of things, nuts and bolts on processes and operational management systems, two new scripting languages, plus blah blah blah and I’m sure you’re hoping this sentence will end soon so let’s do that now.
You might be thinking at this point that I was putting too much pressure on myself. That companies know that it takes time for new employees to come online.
Reasonable or not, my company wanted to plug me into the day-to-day as soon as humanly possible. Statler and Waldorf needed breaks; they were burnt and needed downtime to recharge. And I really needed to understand everything so I could competently manage these high-profile problems with the production systems.
During outages, we had these massive calls with ten or more people on them and if you were unsteady or unsure of what to do, you’d be exposed. My manager said he wanted me leading the charge on these types of issues in about three months.
I created lists of things I had to learn, and attacked it. I installed products and ran examples and logged into systems to poke around and understand how everything was configured and linked together. I read specifications and standards and manuals and web documentation. It was stressful. It was exhausting. But it was also fairly interesting and I’d matured as a person to the point that I was able to accept the fact that I’d signed up for this, and my company was paying me in accordance with the effort I was putting in.
Still, it’s one thing to say it and another to live it. I was spending a couple of hours every night after work reading and working. Then I’d devote at least a half day every weekend to the same activity. I wanted to be as ready as possible for when I started directly troubleshooting and managing issue resolution for FinancialCompany.
On this subject, the good news was that I was already an expert in the backbone technology that they used for their trading systems. This is because it was the same software that my first company SoftwareCompany produced. This was the main reason that I was hired, after all — I knew that product inside and out.
Bottom line: Everyone’s curve is always the greatest during your first year of employment with a new company.
Mine was going through the roof.