This is a mostly happy diary.

I'm going to refrain from posting specifics.  For one thing, I don't want to come across as bragging.  For another thing, I'm skittish about posting anything remotely related to work online, after An Incident involving an ex-manager, human resources, and Facebook about three years ago that nearly cost me graduate school.

I graduated from business school a little over two months ago.  Well, almost three months ago now.  I started my new job a little over two weeks ago, and got my first paycheck today.  I have never been paid so much at once in my life.

It's kind of terrifying.  I still keep telling myself that I'm going to screw this up somehow.  The first week I was so scared of doing something bad, that I halfway expected my new manager to go "Oh we made a mistake, we've got this other guy over here we're going to hire instead.  Go home now."

This is what the minimum wage, slave labor job market does to people.  I worked in call centers for ten years and people were frequently let go in the first week, if they didn't do something right.

Since I have a master's degree in business IT, however, my new job is a good notch above entry level. It has a salary to match.  And the company I was hired in to seems to have a long term attitude for its office types.  A lot of them are retired field workers who had to get indoors for health reasons.  I'm not quite the youngest person in the office, but I'm close to it.  There is no one under the age of thirty, not even in the IT department where I'm now working.

I'm getting paid to do work I find interesting, even fun.  (Not exciting.  There's not that much exciting in IT unless you get to work in a lab with a Cray super computer.)  I kick in that "flow concentration" and the hours pass by.

All the horrible things I kept imagining would happen in the first week did not come to pass.  The company and my new office mates have been extremely kind and welcoming.

Still, the paranoia from abuse at the hands of call centers, where employees are just numbers and can be chewed up and spit out like trash, causes me to keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I'm going to do something wrong.  I'm going to displease an important person.  I'm going to say the wrong thing or forget some important meeting or get caught almost dozing off at my desk (I have circadian clock problems - the doc doesn't know if it's narcolepsy or something else, but I think of myself as a laptop on batteries.  Lack of human interaction results in me going to sleep. And some of the training videos have been really boring.)

Today I experienced an almost overwhelming sense of relief when I saw that the pay had been deposited in my account.  It's real.  I'm going to have a chance to pay off my student loans.  I can actually go to the nail salon without feeling a little guilty.  I can get rid of my holey clothes and buy stuff that fits better.  I can take my cat to the vet if he's sick.  I can actually help my husband pay for groceries and health insurance.  Sure, there's a big hit to taxes and social security and medicare, but it's still more money than I've ever seen at once in my entire life.  And I'll get that again in two weeks.

This is what smug, rich Randians think a "hard worker" is like.  Hard workers get paid well, in their world.  Making minimum wage? Can't feed your family or keep a roof over your head? You're not working hard enough!  

In reality, it was a combination of luck, getting a degree in the right field, and good timing.  And I'm doing less "work" than ever before.  (You mean I get to play in computer programs all day? JOY!)

Now I go to bed, for I have to be at work at eight thirty in the morning.

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