They hired 31 of us. We all passed our background checks and got our paperwork in on time. For the first day of orientation, we all sat in a large conference room, in four rows of six and one row of seven. The walls were all white and doubled as wipe boards. Taped to them were various witty posters espousing the benefits of a can do approach combined with a great attitude. We were each given a notebook tablets and a pen. On the inside cover, under Subject, I wrote “Hunting Nazis”. The head of the group stood at the podium in the front of the room and began to introduce himself as a guy who joined the Company a decade ago in Tennessee, and proceeded to earn his way into a previous opportunity in Seattle before ending up here at this account for the past 7 years; and then he said, before he can go any further, that we all have to sign the NDA, the gist of which was, nothing could be said about the job or the Client to anyone outside of this room. We, in essence, work for the Company, and the Company is thrilled to have the trust and respect of the Client. Capiche?
For the next three hours, we sat under the halogen lights of the bland conference room located on an odd numbered floor of a nondescript downtown office building, and we began to learn the learning process of what was going to happen during our training sessions; but first we finished taking care of the paperwork, both personal and company, and then we had to introduce ourselves. I had chosen to sit next to the oldest guy in the room. He had use to run a rock club in Lawrence, KS, back in the ‘70s, and since has managed various IT teams of 10-15 people for national firms. Like me, he had gone through a long unemployment; unlike me, he had done his research of all firms that would hire a gent at his age, and eventually sought out this Company via his experience. I, on the other hand, experienced the Company reaching out to me not once but twice over a 3 month stretch with this particular task in mind. The rest of the class proved to be at least 15 years younger than me, including a Brazilian, a few Mexicans, an Aussie, and a Gaucho of Greek heritage. There’s a guy who played basketball for a team in Tel Aviv before playing for a team in Germany. There are about 3 folks who moved to town within the past 3 months, another 3 folks who moved to town within the past 6 months, and about 20 who moved to town within the past 7 years. (For those that need to know, there is only one Californian in this group other than me.) Many of these folks are dog people, there is a handful of cat people, and a surprising number of parents.
As an employee of a high tech consulting firm, I was issued a very recent fancy laptop that will right click function when I use two fingers on the trackpad, and doesn’t do so when I press down with one. Every conference room is equipped with a camera, a screen, and a panel to conduct meetings. (I discovered the microphone by leaning back and looking straight up.) The kitchen is fully stocked with snacks, both sweet and nutritious, as well as various caffeinated drinks. This is in addition to being fed by the Company courtesy of the Client twice a day with catered meals including fresh fruit in the morning and a full salad bar in the afternoon. By the way, all our plates and utensils are compostable, so no guilt on this end for that end.
Halfway through the first week, 7 of us got pulled out of the 31, and we were further pared down into a group of 3 and a group of 4. I’m in the latter contingent, along with the old guy, the basketball player, and a young lady who just moved from Florida. We were all given our desks, and since last Wednesday, only enter the main training area for pop quizzes of the content. We have our own conferences as well, and spent our mornings this week hooked up to a global training session being led by a Thai lady in Dublin along with the help of a very enthusiastic Pakistani (we think) videoing in from an undisclosed Middle Eastern location.
We were given tests on the subject matter today; all of us failed. We missed it by that much.