When starting a new job, is it more or less disconcerting to have your first day be completely atypical?
On the one hand, being able to work from home, doing little but making e-mail introductions, researching purchases, and filling out paperwork, was a pretty sweet way to start out. No traffic, no awkwardness, no bizarre first-day tasks. But it was really strange to not have an office or interact with another person face-to-face for the entire day. I've done plenty of working from home in my time, but it was always in the context of being home from somewhere and interacting electronically with people whose faces and voices I knew. This was...not that.
Everybody at my new company seems to be really nice. Although I'll have only one actual co-worker at first, I have counterparts in offices across the country, plus corporate staff, and they've been all been friendly and welcoming. By next week we'll have an office with paint on the walls and Internet and everything, and then I can settle in to being the person who works in that office.
Today I felt a little like a ghost (appropriate enough for the time of year): caught between two states of being, having left one place but not yet moved on to the next. Given my personal history, it should have completely freaked me out. I like stability. I like knowing where I'm going and what I'm going to do when I get there. This morning I sat down at my computer with nothing but a list of people to contact and a lot of questions. I'm not saying that necessarily was a panicky situation; but based on my historical comfort zone, I at least should have been dithering.
That I wasn't - that I reached out to a lot of people and laid a good bit of groundwork for the next week's activities and felt calm and confident doing it - tells me that I made the right decision to inject myself into this highly unusual new job situation. The time was right, the opportunity was right, and by taking it on, I was right. Weird feeling. Good feeling. That part, I hope, doesn't prove to be atypical.