It’s been awhile since my last entry.
With good reason.
I moved out of Alaska.
To take a new job, which I’m thrilled about, except for one thing.
It’s in Miami.
Today, back home in Juneau, it’s 33 degrees and snowing. Today in Miami, it’s 82 degrees and 67% humidity. I didn’t used to have an afro. Now I do. I don’t even think Oprah’s hairstylist could tame my curls at this point. Oh wait, did I mention? I’m a white girl. With an afro. (And it’s not even August.)
I’ve been here for 1 week.
It’s been an adventure.
I should have guessed it was going to be ridiculous when I pulled the cat carrier out from under my seat on the plane and the lady, who sat next to me on the five-hour flight from Seattle to Ft. Lauderdale says to me, “Oh, is that a cat?” Liggy had decided she had enough of the carrier and was starting to tell me all about her issues. I looked at the lady and said, “No, it’s a pygmy goat.”
REALLY? Perplexed face.
No. Of course it’s a cat!
Fast forward to my first official drive on the six lane highway. In my mind, I was trying to drive like a NASCAR racer, just trying to keep up with the pack. Mind you, in Juneau we have one main road – two lanes in each direction – 60 mph is standard and we only experience rush minutes.
Here I am …. hands at ten and two. At one point, as I slowly pried my fingers from around the wheel, I thought….I better invest in a Virgin Mary statue for the dashboard.
Needless to say after 1 week – I’ve got this driving thing down pat. Now I’m the one that’s yelling, “MOVE IT….” There’s two options for driving in Miami, drive the car or park it.
My first day at my new job was interesting. I haven’t had a new job in really 13 years. Luckily, I’ve had the same boss all these years and just kept jumping from one new experience to the other within the companies we worked. Easy. Tourism, while a big industry is really fairly small. Once you’re in – you can learn to do anything – provided you enjoy the industry.
Oh, did I mention, I took a job in the corporate offices of Royal Caribbean Cruises? Yep. A complete 180 from what I’m used to in Alaska:
- No longer an actual office but a padded cell. I mean a cubicle. It does have a fabulous view from the floor to ceiling windows of the Miami skyline across the water.
- Jeans, rain gear and Xtra Tuff boots are not the uniform. Ankle breaking heels and cute skirts are the norm.
- More computer programs to learn than a NASA astronaut.
- An employee identification card that swipes you into the building and parking lot.
- Personal identification number, which I refer to as my prison number, identifies you.
- Can’t drive down the road for Pel Meni but you can go to the company cafeteria.
- Not so much a brown bear spotted at lunch outside, but a big Iguana.
On my first day, in my furry little mind….this is how my morning would unfold. I mean it seemed logical to me so why shouldn’t it. Right?
I’d arrive right on time, get my visitor pass from the security desk and immediately walk myself into HR to wrap up my paperwork. Next, I’d go upstairs to see my new boss and on the way stick my head in the VP’s office and say hello. (Don’t panic, it’s okay, I’ve met him before so it’s not like I’m being pompous.) Thus would begin my career at RCCL.
In reality….not so much.
I arrive early and sit in the car for 10 minutes outside. (A/C running of course.) Then it hits me, what I’m about to do. Start a new job, in a new company, in a new city….I don’t even know where to find the toilettes let alone a paperclip here.
Stomach starts to roll.
Mouth goes dry.
Sweat begins to ooze.
Skin flushes a lovely red.
Here goes nothing. I throw open the car door and march up the steps to the building. I stop at security and get my badge. She asks who I’m there to see. I explain I am a new employee but need to see HR first. Nope. No such luck. She calls upstairs and then instructs me to head up to the 5th floor to my department.
That’s not how it’s supposed to go! I’m supposed to go, in my mind, to HR first! Not immediately to the department! Well now this is a pickle.
Now my entire skeletal system feels like it’s on one of those old style exercise machines, where you stand with the big band around your waist and it jiggles away the fat. Yep. That’s me.
I politely inquire about the nearest water closet and head that direction.
Big breaths. Breathing. Walking. Upper lip has stopped sweating – now I’m just shaking like a big bowl of Bill Cosby’s Jello. Dear Lord don’t let me break an ankle in these shoes…one foot in front of the other. Keep breathing.
Doors open on the 5th floor and I’m greeted by the department’s true angel, the woman who makes us all look good and I swear she must be part of a set of triplets to accomplish all she does in a day. She gives me a big hug and escorts me to Director’s Row – that’s my name for where all the Directors sit with obviously the VP’s office at the top of the line.
As we approach my boss’ office I see movement in the VP’s office out of the corner of my eye. Well, I can’t very well pop my head in there now since we’re heading straight for my boss’s office. My plan has been turned into a right kerfuffle.
We stop short of my boss’s office.
I now realize the VP has come out of his office and is standing directly behind me.
Well shit. My entire plan has really gone to pot. This isn’t how I envisioned the start of my day. Now what do I do? And I know he’s a hugger. So there’s that awkward moment of…to hug or not to hug. If you’re going to hug is it a full hug or a side hug. I’m short so it’s always awkward anyway. But today I have on heels so I have gained 3 inches for sure.
Dear Lord, is that sweat dripping down from my armpit?
There’s only two solutions: Stand really still and hope he doesn’t see me. Or turn around and acknowledge him.
Let’s just say I may have startled him a bit. Why? Well I think I actually yelled my greeting at him. It happens. When I get nervous. It’s like a nervous tic but different and it’s not quite like Turrets Syndrome either.
I turned around, threw my arms open and said:
HEY! HOW ARE YOU!!! I MADE IT!
Or something along those lines was shouted and then promptly echoed over the 5th floor. I’m fairly certain the people on the other side of the building heard me. The upside is at least I’m starting off my employment with a bang!