Training for a new job at a major telco

I’m getting a job again, since the meager state stipend and student loan just won’t cut it. Instead of returning to the old job, where I am always very welcome, I decided it was time for something new. Allthewhile reading up on modern German History and Literature as well as Syntax, of course.

I was thinking about herding sheep or categorizing ancient norse poetry index cards, but it so happened that my resumé ended in the hands of an IT consultant firm, who immediately gave me a call. I am now in training for one of the greatest telcos in the country. They’ve got a massive glass building just outside the city, where I am surrounded by the 4000 other zombies on the way to work. It reminded me of the factory scene in Joe versus The Volcano. Or perhaps more fitting, something with a little more office over it:

Something new and exciting is very refreshing, even though I am sort of over-qualified and under-paid. But it helps reviving some old people skills, that I didn’t need when I locked the door behind me at my last office. This is a modern open office setting, with a lot of like-minded, be’glassed nerds with wallpapers from sci-fi series and cheeky hentai-wannabe anime. Nerds in all ages, sizes and genders! Gotta love it!

Last training session we had to setup a mobile broadband (3G) connection on a random OS (Win XP/Vista/7 and Mac OSX). PIECE OF CAKE!11! I must have exclaimed non-verbally, because my socially superior peers sent some annoyed glances at "the old wolf in the puppy pen". (And yes, I am one of the two Elders!)

I took out the little plastic cover from the USB device and popped in the SIM.

WHOOPS!!

I admit I blushed. The plastic cover had a little slot in it, into which one was to slide the SIM card. While I, on the other hand, being so cocksure about it, had put the SIM card directly into the electronics. Where it remained fastened and out of reach. The instructor was just going through how it was important to study the details in front of us, and how (haha) often regular users resort to all sorts of physical violence to make the pieces fit.

At the back of the room I was banging the USB device at the table to get the SIM out.

"Oh, sorry. Is it too loud?"

Then the instructor casually remarked that each device cost 1800 NOK to replace (circa $300 USD).

"Oh, sorry. Bang a little lighter?"

FINALLY! getting ready to resort to the old let’s poke a knife in there and see what happens routine, it somehow came loosr and within reach of my finger nail. I put it in the right way as fast I could, kept my head down and ran through the tests.

Apart from the sweat I worked up right then, we’ve been treated with silk gloves. They even pay our lunch throughout our training, whatever we like, veggie chicken burger or true to life Italian Pizza. That’s multi-billion dollar evil corporations for ya, kid! So most of it has been a walk in the park.

Except for the job interviews. Plural.

I must tell you, I have had the same steady job for about 7 years — which is actually very long in IT where you’ll usually go somewhere better paid every 3-4 years. But I had a great time at my last job, it was very nice socially and I had a comfortable existence. Except it was just too much of it, and not exciting enough to keep me there, yet too much responsibility to stay at a smaller position. After all, I am supposed to be studying Philosophy at the University, so this 20% position will do great for me!

But I digress.

The long term employment has given me a lot of great recommendations from some brilliant people, but extended the period since I last had a job interview. Now, if you’re in the sysadmin line of work, your social skills are not top priority (even though they help a lot). However, in support and the kind of uneducated work that I do, you must learn to talk with people because their problems are usually what you’re paid to solve. So to land this kind of job, you would have to not only point and tell about how social you are, you must show it. It’s just like acting, or role playing. That’s the road to staying patient and helpful. You’ll be screaming on the inside.

Anyway, aside from the repeat questions (What’s your 5 best qualities? What is an IP address? How much is Pi squared? Can I have a slice of Pi? Where did she touch you? Can you show us on the dummy? How to display your current IP address?) they asked me what, if anything, I would like to improve about myself.

*Crickets chirping*

– Errrr…. Change?
– Yes, Sigg3. Name 5 of your worst qualities?
– Five?
– Uh huh.

*Crickets playing cricket*

After the awkward silence died out, I had firmly established my complete and utterly unquestioned belief in myself. Which may or may not go well together with the concept of social antennas. But what the heck. Have you seen my resumé?

I got the assignment, and so did 3 other really cool people, and these days we’re training as a team every available hour. In my last job I had flexible hours, but didn’t know coming in to the office whether it would be a 10-12 hour shift or just three and a half hour day. This job is 100% punctuality because we’re on the clock, and they don’t tolerate late-comers at all. So, I’ve taken good care to be there on time so far. Time will tell if I can keep it up. But then, that’s what we all did in the days before the cellphone. I’m starting to sound like an old-timer, already.

Speaking of appointments, I gotta get up early in the morning. I’ll be attending work from 10 am and if all goes well, celebrate reaching another Saturday alive, with my pal Freddy when Lady C is partying with her friends. If you can think of five things to change about me, you or the world, feel free to leave them in the comments! You only have 30 seconds to think though. Have a nice weekend!

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