Daily Archives: April 2, 2007

Day One, On-Site Professional Editor Girl

So! Here I am, at home after my first day of the bright shiny on-site contract. I am working on the floor with the team as opposed to working somewhere else, which is both good and bad. The sound and movement around me is mildly distracting, even when I have my headphones on, but time moves quickly and people are right there when I have a question.

Things I have learned:

French keyboards and I do not get along. (This is, alas, also true of my new-to-me laptop.)

Public transport is a temporal black hole.

The heads of the team do not actually know the specifics of what they want me to do, other than to integrate two databases, and to make things better. Fortunately I too want to make things better. Most of today was spent feeling my way through the material to get a really good handle on what needs to be done.

Everyone — and I mean everyone — takes lunch. I am unused to this, as the last time I had an on-site job it was in retail where we usually worked through lunch, or only took as long as necessary to bolt food before going back to handle the pile of tasks that needed to be done.

I need a snack at around three-thirty or four, or I get wonky around the time I leave.

Things I accomplished today:

Around mid-afternoon I discovered that 25% of what I was going to classify and correct was already in the main file. I am very, very glad I figured this out before I worked for a few days and discovered that everyone’s time had been wasted. Also, it reassured me that the way I was editing things was good, because my corrections ended up matching what was in the main file most of the time. The designer whipped up a formula thingy to compare/sort (I’m the word girl, not the tech girl) and I now have an annotated list that clearly identifies what in the new file is (a) already in the main dictionary, and (b) what isn’t. Yay me for locating and identifying that particular potential disaster for everyone. Tomorrow is a new day with that pitfall out of the way, and first thing I shall be sitting down with one of the heads and making a very detailed list of what they want me to do, in the order it ought to be done. This seems a very free-flow sort of project and work environment, and very flexible, but I have a limited time in which to do this for them and I need to pin down a less-vague system that will work for both parties, to be used as a reliable checklist but that will still be organic for everyone.

I have a desk, and a computer, and internal e-mail, and passwords, and all sorts of official things. And all this was operational about an hour after I arrived. Impressive. I only got my keycard mid-afternoon, though, so it’s a good thing I had friends who could use theirs to swipe me back into my top-secret room after lunch.

I ate lunch. (This is a big thing for me. Everyone leaving the floor at noon is an excellent reminder.) Meallanmouse will keep me on the lunch-track, hurrah!

Memorable things:

Baronscartop: “Those guys are totally checking you out.” Heard not once but twice while on the casual ‘this is where you work’ tour first thing in the morning, one on each floor. I am so oblivious to these sort of things. Nice to have friends who can point it out to me.

Not having butterflies in my stomach at any time. Yes, I know what I’m doing, and yes, I have confidence in my abilities and my adaptability. It’s just odd to be put in an alien environment and realise this, as opposed to working in one’s home office and letting the awareness sift to far below the conscious surface for long periods of time.

Also: The smaller contract that I worked on at the end of last week and this Sunday appears to be satisfactory to the client. Yay me, again. Much with the yayness, in fact.