November 9, 2001
Dirty Surprises

My business cards AND my first Dirt Company paycheck arrived in the same California Overnight delivery this morning.

Both were a surprise, for different reasons.

I knew I was going to be getting the paycheck. I've had the date circled in bright red Magic Marker on the calendar since the very first moment I said 'yes' to the job offer. But it turned out to be a surprise anyway, mainly because this is the first *First Paycheck* I've ever received, anywhere I've ever worked, that wasn't screwed up in some phenomenally inconvenient way. Usually the first paycheck is smaller than I was expecting ... or else it's SIGNIFICANTLY smaller than I was expecting ... or the wrong number of deductions have been configured ... or my name is misspelled, so they refuse to cash it at the Check 'n Chug ... that sort of stuff. But not only was today's first paycheck right on time, correctly configured and made out to "Terri Rafter," but it was actually BIGGER than I'd been expecting. I thought I was going get paid for three days: instead, I got paid for eight. Bonanza, baby! 

(Now I can afford to bring actual food to the Northern California Internet Journaler's shindig tomorrow!)

Of the two 'surprises,' though,  I have to tell you that getting the business cards was the biggest and best surprise. I've never had my own business card before. (At least, I've never had one that didn't spit out of an inkjet printer in my laundry room.) I wasn't really expecting them. JoAnne mentioned something about ordering me cards, right after she hired me, but the cynic in me didn't think it would actually happen. The Totem Pole Company promised the same thing, over and over again, but never delivered. Why should the new place be any different? Admin staff doesn't usually rate the expense. So it was a pretty thrilling moment to open the Cal Overnight package and see *my* name imprinted just above the Dirt Company logo. ("We implement polyethylene soil sampling so *you* won't have to!")

Receiving a timely and accurate first paycheck is great. It says something about the efficiency and the reliability of the payroll department. But being given a business card says something about the way the company views their employees: ALL of their employees, even the ones who answer phones and muck out refrigerators.

It makes me glad I decided to hire on with The Dirt Company in the first place.

Don't worry. I don't plan to wax orgasmic about the new job in every single *FootNotes* entry I write between now and the end of my Dirt Company career. (Which I'm hoping will last longer than "Pasadena.") I'm already finding plenty of stuff to be not-completely-crazy about  --  the commute, the spooky neighborhood, paper cuts, GBC binding machines, unctuous Main Marketing Guys with prettier fingernails than *I* have  --  all of which you're sure to hear about  --  in the usual endless/mindless detail  --  over the course of my Dirt Career. (Plus I've already enjoyed my first big Fudk- Up Moment. It happened this morning, when the company president called on his cell phone from corporate headquarters in L.A. and complained that his personal phone line was down. "Well, I hope you can get it up again," I replied ... followed by four or five seconds' worth of mortified silence on both ends.)  Sooner or later the honeymoon will be over and I'll return to what I do best: griping griping griping.

But for the moment ... I think maybe I'll just sit here and look at MY BUSINESS CARD some more.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

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