West Meets East

A Western man travels East in search of love, opportunity and happiness.

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Name:Michael Strickland

This blog chronicles my adventures as I leave my native California and travel east to northern Virginia to start a new life. I can only imagine the funny stories I'll recount here as I experience a wildly different climate, culture and way of life.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Kids Only

Today marked my first day of "real life" here in Virginia. The alarm clock woke me up at 7:00, I showered & shaved, grabbed a bite to eat, then headed off to work. That's where the similarities to my last job ended. Until two weeks ago, I spent my days fighting boredom as a technical writer at a stodgy software company. Today, the first impression of my new job as a programming manager for KOL (AOL's kids-only service) suggests boredom is a foreign concept.

I met the group's senior VP during the first half-hour I was there, as I made the rounds for introductions. Was he sitting behind a desk, phone glued to his ear, nose buried in his keyboard? No. I met him as he came barreling down the hallway at me on a motorized Razor scooter, wearing an outrageous pinstripe suit and painfully loud red sneakers.

Later that morning, there was much ado over the arrival of a new toy, Tumble Time Tigger. As everyone watched the plush toy perform somersaults across the floor to the music of M.C. Hammer, I couldn't help comparing the gleeful laughter to the silent purgatory of my former job.

And just before lunchtime, my new boss took me into a storage room and filled my arms with new toys, all but commanding me to go decorate my barren workspace.

To the inevitable sarcastic question, Yes—people actually get work done. My point is that they have a lot of fun while they work. They take their work very seriously, in fact. But when your job is to get into the mindset of a child and create online entertainment for kids, you're going to have as many toys as office supplies on your desk.

After three years away from this kind of environment, it feels great to be back in my element. Granted, my previous job at Disney was much more businesslike. This is by far the most creative environment I've ever worked in. So scratch the word "back." It feels great to be in my element at last. As I told my father, I think the only thing I'll dislike about this job is leaving it, when the guy whose shoes I'm filling returns from National Guard training. But I'll enjoy the ride while it lasts, and do my best to make myself indispensible.

3 Comments:

John Melson said...

Hey Michael.
What a difference a couple of weeks makes, eh? You go man. I love that environment, myself...

Hey can you get me any of those AOL discs? :-)

11:47 PM  
Sirpita said...

Hola, mi amigo. Sounds like you are gonna like it there. Go and make yourself indispensable.
Regards from good old San Diego.
Sirpa :)

11:10 AM  
Deborah said...

Hi Mike! Sounds like you are having fun at your new job! Did you get to try your VP's motorized Razor scooter? And you have to get a pair of those red sneakers! Will write again soon!

Love, Deborah

12:22 PM  

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