As I go through all the tasks for starting my new job next week, it is interesting to compare it to 15 years ago when I started my first professional job.
My first day at a "real" job was in 1989 at what was then - and is today - one of the largest semiconductor companies in the U.S. There were about a dozen of us young, fresh college grads that went through half a day of "orientation", which gave an overview of the company, it's history, a video tape message from the CEO, and an overview of benefits. Being 21 and immortal, I didn't pay much attention to the health plan details, the pension (yes, they had one at that time), or any of the other benefits they droned on about (I remember thinking they seemed targeted towards people with families and how unfair that was).
I then went over to my building, where I was shown my cubical. Already waiting for me were a package of business cards (my first business cards!), a *286* (wow!) desktop (there was no such thing as a "laptop" in 1989, although Compaq had introduced 20 lb. "portables"), and a standard office phone. The company then assigned a guy to sit next to me who had been there for two years be my "mentor" and show me the ropes of the internal msg system (external email didn't really exist then, but the company had a mainframe email system which drove the company) and other things I needed to learn for my job. As a new college grad unfamiliar with the semiconductor industry, I would honestly say that I was not really an asset to the company until at least half a year or more into the job.
Fifteen years later I am starting a new company and things have changed. There won't be any "orientation" for me. I already understand the benefits well since they were a major point of the negotiations before I started by job (I have 401K match in my old job, but won't in the new job for a year, so I used the loss of matching as an argument to raise my salary even more). Pension? Does anyone have that anymore? The health plan details were handed out to me during the interview and poured over with the spouse before I even accepted the job. Any other benefits that help people with families will be greedily exploited.
I am getting a top of the line notebook, BUT it won't be ready until a week AFTER I start. Since this company uses the dreaded Lotus Notes system, this means I won't have access to my new work email until I get my notebook, so I am dead in the water computer and email wise for my first week (time to hit the phones!).
Business cards were ordered by the HQ secretary today, but they won't come in time for a trade show I am going to next week, so I have had to print up some temporary cards for my first week.
My cellphone - which didn't exist 15 years ago - is already in-hand, but only because I was responsible for getting the phone and contract, which the company will reimburse me for and then pick up the monthly contract.
Orientation? Someone showing me the ropes? Not this time. I was hired for a specific knowledge, skill, and sales set and I am expected to hit the ground running with little to no oversight from HQ. In essence, I am supposed to show THEM how to work this particular market segment.
Overall, I would give the new company a "C" for bringing me on board, mainly due to the computer taking so long. I accepted over two weeks ago and the ball should have started rolling the day they got my signed acceptance letter. However, based on a few other companies I have worked for and other people's experience I have heard about, this is probably about average for the typical company.