Today makes ten years I’ve been working here at the University.
Somehow this seems more significant than marking ten years in New Orleans. Not sure why. Maybe because we’ve moved around to different houses and neighborhoods in the city, but I’ve been working in the same place the whole time — coming into the same building, sitting in the same room, looking out the same window.
Or maybe it’s just that I’m amazed to be working at the same place for such a long time. Certainly this is the longest I’ve ever held down a job. Then again, I consider this the first and only real job I’ve ever had.
I never have any trouble remembering the precise day I started because it was a small point of contention. I was finishing up grad school and wanted to push it back a month or a few weeks. But my (future) boss’s boss said that June 1st was “pretty much written in stone,” a phrase which has stuck with me to this day. So June 1st it was, which I now know as the beginning of hurricane season. Didn’t think much about that at the time.
I don’t have any pictures from my first day, but here’s one from a few months later, looking scruffy and conducting one of my first web seminars. It was a Saturday morning workshop on Netscape Composer. I believe this is the earliest extant photo of me “on the job,” so to speak.
I recall only one detail from my first day on the job. I came in bright and early, eager to make a good impression and start off on a good foot. I asked my boss what time, as a rule, I would be expected to arrive at the office? He thought for a moment, and said, “Whenever — just be responsible.”
I knew right then I was going to enjoy working here, and I’ve been doing my best to be responsible ever since.
I remember my job interview even more clearly. That was in February of ’99. I had purchased a new pair of shoes for the occasion, only they weren’t new — they were from the Salvation Army. Much to my chagrin, they began to disintegrate during the day of interviews and meetings. Little chunks of sole were crumbling off and littering the carpet of the office suite. I was probably hired because they felt sorry for me.
Granted, faculty development is not exactly a career I ever envisaged for myself. But even after ten years the work is still interesting, more so in fact. I’m constantly learning, constantly being challenged. I guess I could do another ten if they still want me.