Sunday, October 25, 2009

Work update

So, as promised, there is some news about my job that is altogether encouraging. I've been working now for about six weeks in the marketing communications department of my company (codename: Nearing) as a senior writer under a contract basis, which means technically I'm a contractor for a company down in Sugar Land, Texas working onsite for Nearing in Princeton, New Jersey.

A lot of things happened just this past week. First of all, one of the junior communications associates left the company to work elsewhere. So that's good for me because it will probably mean more work to do. Also, Nearing is an open office environment, which means there are no offices or cubicles, just rows and rows of open desks divided by rows of file cabinets. Even the CEO sits at an open desk. Each section sits together in groups called pods (which means we're all pod people, a la The Invasion of the Body Snatchers).

Up until recently, there was no room in the communications pod for me or Erik, the guy who does internal communications, so we had to sit on the other side of the building with the human resources people. While that did have the advantage of being quieter, it was rather distracting overhearing all the HR chatter, like people being disciplined for sexual harrassment, talking about how much money people make, etc. But once the spot opened up with the associate leaving, my boss asked me to move over to join the pod. I think this is a good sign that she asked me and not Erik to move, even though he's been there longer and is an actual Nearing employee, not a contractor.

Also this week, I've been slammed on a project to write a proposal for a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy (DOE) for a solar power plant in New Mexico. The proposal was due on Thursday, and I was working until 9:30 or 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday nights. While that means I was putting in 14-15 hour workdays, I also got lots of kudos from the government affairs people I was working with, which included some senior executives in the company. Another major upside is getting overtime pay since I'm a contractor, which means for every hour beyond eight hours worked in a single day, I get paid my normal rate plus 50% extra per hour. We finished the 120-page proposal and submitted it about two-and-a-half hours before the midnight deadline on Thursday. There will be a second round application in January, so I'll probably be doing the same thing in a few months.

In the meantime, on Friday I was put in charge as the project manager to redesign and build structure for Nearing's green energy, philanthropy and corporate responsibility Web sites. As you might guess, this is a pretty big job, so I'm excited about sinking my teeth into the project instead of just working on small projects that come in drips and drabs. It's also stuff that I not only have experience in (I was the New York office lead for Agent K's corporate responsibility team) but am also passionate about.

All in all, I'm getting more optimistic about my job, and if things continue to go well, I am confident that I will be able to move into Manhattan when my current apartment lease runs out in March.