Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho

I'm just starting my third week of work at the as-yet-unnamed-but-still-totally-obvious internet company, and the honeymoon period has definitely not ended. I'm in the "user operations" department, which is basically a fancy way to say "customer service," except with the twist of us also being responsible for user feedback, internationalization, harassment reports, site security, and enforcing the site's terms of use. This means that if you're bullying someone, maintaining multiple accounts, or posting child pornography, my colleagues and I will swoop down like avenging angels and bam! disable your account. More specifically, I've been put on the "site integrity" team, which means that I'm in charge of resolving problems with hacking Nigerians or ex-boyfriends, and occasionally even hacking Nigerian ex-boyfriends. You never know.

I enjoy the work, which it's just about as different from graduate school as I could get--lots of quick tasks, with an emphasis on efficiency rather than accuracy--and think each individual hacked account is like a tiny mystery to solve, figuring out who hacked who and when and how. That's right, I'm rapidly becoming the Angela Lansbury of social networking.

That's probably enough about my daily episodes of "Hacked, She Wrote"; I'm not sure what, exactly, the confidentiality agreements cover, so let me venture onto safer territory: the office. I think I mentioned the perks in my last post, but let me just reiterate: a cafeteria with delicious, free breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Today's theme was "Mediterranean," and so I ate a spicy chickpea stew, spicy garlic-fried kale, Greek pasta salad, bulgur, and eggplant ratatouille. Yum.) Free snack stations everywhere, stocked with everything from drinks to organic dried apples to KitKats. A casual work environment, with everyone in jeans and sneakers. Smart, interesting, Stanford-educated 25-year-old colleagues. A chiropractor, paid for by my health insurance, who comes to the office. 21 paid holidays a year, plus unlimited sick days and 11 paid holidays. Free laundry service, twice a week. A free shuttle to and from San Francisco for commuters. A new laptop and wireless modem, the better to work on that commute.

Which is the major downside: commuting? I'm not used to that. As a student I always lived within a few miles of campus, and either walked or rode my bike, and suddenly I have to commute every day--every day!--from Berkeley to Palo Alto. For those that don't know the Bay Area, that's about 45 miles--45 traffic-congested miles, including a bridge across the bay. Ugh.

I would never dream of driving this--the thought of that much down time in a day just kills me, plus I can't drive our car, something I'll talk about in another post--so I do it on public transportation, which takes about an hour and a half each way: half an hour on BART, the metro, and an hour on the work-sponsored shuttle. This isn't so bad, really, as it gives me a chance to read, read, read my little heart out. I've read an entire book every work day since I started two weeks ago, and that shows no sign of stopping; in fact, since we're housesitting for Mike's sister in Marin County right now, which expands my commute to 2-3 hours each way, my reading rate has increased. Yesterday I read two books start to finish, and checked my email, and read parts of a New Yorker magazine.

So all in all, it's not so bad. I get to move closer to my goal of reading every decent book every published, plus a good portion of the terrible ones, and I get to join the real world in a big way; there's no better introduction to American adult life, after all, than shoving through crowds trying to catch a morning train into the city. (Well, maybe sitting in a car on a highway into the city, but even I can't read a book a day at stoplights alone.) And, in the end, if the commute is the price I have to pay for interesting work, a steady paycheck, and the daily frisson of pleasure I get from walking around the office with a badge on--I just feel so grown up!--then, hey, no worries: I've got a library card and I know how to use it.


Braden said...

Um, if I am allowed to give you feedback, I think it would be great if notification emails included an "Unsubscribe from notifications about this item" link. (Contrarily, being able to reply directly to the notifications address is super cool.)

Pinto said...

I am so. unbelievably. green.

With jealousy and stuff.

Can I move to San Francisco and work for the unnamed internet company too? I will trade you contact info with Publisher's Weekly for an interview. (Full disclosure: This isn't really an equal deal...)

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If I knew before I graduated that good jobs provided you with good food, I'd of spent more time over in the tanner building. By more time, I mean any time.

Instead, I just keep losing weight each year of grad school. I hope I make it through residency. They actually say that is the time that you get kidney stones (from dehydration) or it is the time that you discover you have Gilbert disease, which is a benign jaundice that manifests when someone is fasting > 24hrs.

Well done, H.

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