Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Day on the Job

Today was the first day of my new job. I woke up early to make sure everything was prepared for my first day. Channah woke up even earlier as she had another nightmare. We got up and ready.

We left the apartment with 30 minutes for me to get to the bus stop. I walked Channah to school and continued to the bus stop. 11 minutes after leaving the house I was waiting in the rain at the bus stop. Approximately 4 minutes before the bus was supposed to arrive, I had not seen anyone else waiting. I called the person I knew to make sure I was in the right place. The bus runs like clockwork, so most people arrived exactly when the bus did. It was a 15 seater bus. The song playing on the radio was "Whisky in the Jar" sung in Hebrew. We then zig zagged our way down to the mercaz with a bunch of stops in between. We then headed out to the highway and off to work. We arrived shortly after 8:30.

I went to my office where the QA team works. It is a very nice group of people. There are some Israeli's with very little English and some Olim like me. At one point they were trying to explain to the Israeli's what a car pool was. My boss said, Car as in מכונית and pool as in ......
Myself and the person who sits in front of me both jumped in with בכירה. We got a good laugh and our boss went on to try to explain the concept properly.

Playing music for the team is part of the day. I also noticed there are basically no phones in the office. My table was ready but not my computer. I was handed a cell phone and asked if I had facebook and twitter. I was told to log into my facebook account and also start playing with the software.

A little while later my boss came in. He gave me the grand tour. The last big office I worked in was a giant circle, so if you got lost you just kept walking until you got to where you are going. You really have to know where you are going or you will end up in another department or somebody's office.

I was then briefed on the background of the company and my job. One of our older customers is an European cellular company that is the parent company of Orange. Another big customer is Skype. Skype had a contractual obligation to produce a Skype phone. Cell phone technology is not quite advanced enough to produce a quality product. We were able to offer a solution to make it happen. Using our software you can call anywhere in the world, for the same price of a local call. Phones sold in Europe with a Skype button are running off of our software.

Another product we have is designed to bring RSS Feeds, IM, Webmail, Facebook, Twitter into a single user interface. It has the advantage of conserving the amount of data being used and minimizing the use of battery power. Part of the product is being made specifically for AT&T which has already soft launched the product. My job will be mostly software testing on the AT&T product.

When I got back to my desk, IT was just finishing setting up my computer. I was instructed to immediately set up a Skype account. I played around with some software before meeting with HR. They had a number of forms to fill out. Some were in Hebrew and some were in English. A few times I was not sure if I should fill out the English forms in Hebrew. I should have a contract by the end of the week. If I want to use the gym, I have to get a doctors note.

I went back to my desk. I had a little bit of training and some more familiarizing myself with the program. I tried to get a 3 way chat with myself on the test servers. I could only get the chat to work two ways, but someone else did join the conversation. That kept me busy until I was told it was lunch time.

Lunch time is 30 minutes and our department normally eats on the roof. With the rain this was not going to happen today. I went to Avri's office instead. He has his own large private office. From what I can tell it was the only private office not reserved for executives. He claims he used to have a room mate. Then again he also claims he was at a murder mystery yesterday.

After lunch, I had more getting used to the software and looking thorough the main QA website.
Mincha is at 2:45 everyday. Towards the end of the day, I was introduced to the program where bugs are reported and tracked. It crashed partway through my lesson, but that was not my fault. I was then introduced to the bus Skype group. Each day everyone needs to confirm if they plan on taking the bus home.

The office is a fairly laid back environment. As long as you put in your hours everyday, there is room for flexibility. We have a swipe card for clocking in and out. There are snacks in the kitchen. It is understood that every once and a while you may need to get up and clear your head. The QA website even has a list of blogs to read during the break. People seem happy.

Every Rosh Chodesh there is a company lunch. There is a report on the business side of the company. Next week, Tanis Esther is a half day for those who are fasting. We get one day off for Purim and we can choose which day that is.

The bus took a different route home. It let's me off one block closer to home than the pick-up point. Somebody pointed out that at the end of the day I still had a smile on my face. I think this is going to be much better than my last job.

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