meitachi: (kibum - study hard)
My first event was tonight! It was an evening reception and moderated discussion featuring Vali Nasr, Dean of Johns' Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and former ambassador. Most of the planning for the event had been done beforehand, but I was helping carrying out day-of logistics, including coordinating the volunteer corps (of which I used to be a part!). Everything went smoothly and we had great attendance and my supervisor was happy at the end of the night, though I have learned the following:

1. Don't wear heels to these things. My feet are killing me. I got to sit down way more as a volunteer than in organizing this, especially as I was trying to take photos.
2. I am terrible at taking photos and my coworker's quick rundown on how to use that DSLR was...rudimentary at best. There are probably a few good/usable shots in there, but a lot of them just had terrible exposure because the lighting was off in the room and I didn't know how to properly adjust the camera in response.
3. Gotta take notes on the content of his discussion next time to better write follow-up newsletter blurbs and such! Now that I'm home, I've written down a few things I remember after my supervisor mentioned it to me halfway through the event...but next week I'll take better notes, and will be more focused since I won't be in charge of photography.

Home at 8:30pm and gotta be back in the office tomorrow by 9am to debrief/finish other work/join in a 9:30 meeting. It definitely is an experience, getting thrown into the deep end of ongoing stuff and just having to join in and help run things, but still feeling sort of new and clueless and like someone should be telling me what to do. No, that's my job now! Kind of.
meitachi: (Default)
Back from Japan, which was lovely and deserves maybe a separate post to parse all my feelings -- though mostly it boils down to I LOVE IT and I WOULD MOVE THERE if it were at all realistic and then also guilt because of some persistent pan-Asian anti-Japan sentiment... Also, traveling with people is both fun and exhausting, especially when it's six consecutive days where you can't be alone. I think two people is the ideal traveling number. Anyway, I loved the shrines and landscapes in Kyoto, but I am a big city girl at heart and all the convenience and anonymity of Tokyo delighted me. Also, the food was great, I'll never be the same, etc. Michelin star sushi restaurants? Pricey but fucking worth it.

My first official day at Asia Society today as a salaried employee (with all associated paperwork) rather than just a contractor. We chose this method so my weeklong trip to Japan wouldn't register as PTO taken. I only get 15 days a year until I've worked two years. (But I finally get holidays off! Looking forward to MLK Day next Monday.) Given my anticipated though not yet planned trip to China with family this May, I should put that on my supervisor's radar and see how that may play out.

Slow morning but already working on a list of things this week for various upcoming programs! It's kind of nice to feel immediately engaged and involved. I have official business cards and name tag, which I'll get to wear for my first program on Thursday -- a moderated discussion on the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal and general relations with former Ambassador Vali Nasr. Stayed a little later to finish up a revision for a coworker to send off to sponsors to approve (!!) so maybe tomorrow I'll get to take off a little earlier to do happy hour with friends and catch up. Diving in right away definitely keeps me busy, but I don't mind it. I've been lucky enough not to struggle with jetlag either!

first days

Jan. 2nd, 2019 08:23 pm
meitachi: (stock - tulips)
First day at the new job with Asia Society! Well, unofficially -- I'm on contract for 2-4 January while I get settled and set up, with an official start date on 14 January. This allows me to take my vacation next week in Japan without using PTO days, which I am all for.

So it was nice, because the office was only half-full after the holidays and everyone I met was familiar as I'd encountered them previously as a volunteer. Everyone was gracious and kind, but as with all first days, there is still an element of discomfort and displacement where you just don't know anything and don't yet have the rapport or the routines. It'll come, naturally, but the first few days and weeks are definitely in that awkward adjustment period. It is exciting to have a cubicle though; I'll be able to bring in some things to decorate and leave water bottles without fear they're encroaching on someone else's space. I can bring tea and eventually some office plants. The trade off is of course that it's an interior cubicle near the back; I will miss AIG's giant glass windows and natural light. But I won't have to do shift work! Ah, but that shift differential pay was nice... As with all things, there are pros and there are cons. I will adjust and embrace the things I like.

Tomorrow, more backreading and settling in, and I'll get to join in on a meeting at the Indian Consulate. We have a lot of exciting programming coming up, all of which I find really interesting. And that is, of course, a good sign that I will be invested in this new job.

I find myself exhausted after coming home though, but it is a lot of emotional and mental stress, plus the tail end of a cold as well as the first day of my period. My body wants a lot of water and rest, so I guess I'll try to get some things ready for tomorrow and then head to bed. I will probably try to read and fail, but I have at least 2 ebooks and 2 physical library books lined up for my trip to Japan. Do I have enough space? We'll see.

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