Sunday, July 08, 2007

I start my first real job tomorrow and I have very little idea of what to expect. Here's why:

I got a great job. I have autonomy, responsibility, and variety to look forward to. I'll be working as a researcher on a project led by the woman who interviewed me. There is another researcher much like myself only more experienced and at a higher level.

The project is based on a theory of how alzheimer's patients maintain their self-concept despite a lack in cognitive ability. My boss has developed a 12-week training program for health care workers to undergo that is supposed to improve the overall environment of long-term healthcare facilities.

This project is a year and a half long exploratory study meant to determine whether this theory and training program is actually effective. We are using two Toronto long-term care facilities for the study.

My job is to do all the research at one of the two facilities. I have to solicit and secure participants in the study including both health care workers and patients. I have to look at archival data, run focus groups, conduct interviews, orchestrate surveys and survey collection, manage data, analyze incident reports, and other things like that. I do that for a period of time, we run the training program, and then I do it again.

My boss doesn't care where I work, whether it is at home or at the office or at the health care facility, as long as I get the job done. If I have an appointment I have to make I don't need to ask permission. This is what I want in life. I also get to interact with people. I also get to do a lot of different things. Who knew I'd be excited about work? I cross my fingers that that excitement doesn't diminish.

In preparation for this first week I needed to go shopping. There's certainly no way my jeans and t-shirt student uniform would suffice. So I spent a hell of a lot of money and now I have woman-clothes. Wow. They're nice. I need hangers. I need an iron and an ironing board. I need a closet to hang things. I need an air conditioner. I need to pay off my credit card bill in a few installments.

So, I don't know what I can expect tomorrow at my 9:30am meeting. We're signing contracts and then what? How does one start this kind of work?

I feel so very lucky.


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