Week One: Slack Lunch Train to… Someone’s MOM!?

It’s been an exciting first week. I hardly know where to begin!

My first day, I was asked to do something I simply wasn’t entirely comfortable with. While I had been anticipating the general onboarding requirements (void cheque, TD1s, confidentiality agreement), I was asked to do something far outside of my comfort zone.

I was asked to sell my soul.

I had no choice, so I received the Mac computer with as grateful of a smile that I could muster. I turned away so as to not show the single tear that rolled down my cheek. I whispered a fond, “Farewell,” to the Windows Surface in my bag. It’s spirits fell as it realized it would no longer have a place in my office.

This is what happens when you put “Mac OS” under the Skills on your resume. You must suffer the trials and tribulations of the wicked. Windows will control you, but Macs assert themselves over you.

—–

As with my previous workplace, I continued on a team of two people – or so I thought. The first day, I was whisked around the office, the names bashing and bombarding me as I struggled to stay abreast of the bare necessities – When is payday? Where do I sit? Where are the washrooms? Who can I call if I the stall has no toilet paper? No, seriously, who? – I quickly realized this was no ordinary workplace, when at least 5 people offered to bring me toilet paper should I find myself in such dire straits.

This undercurrent of warmth and generosity was a continual thread that ran underneath all my interactions with these new faces. No matter the issue, there was constantly someone available to support me – whether it was my wonderful, perfect manager (I can’t help but think of Leslie Knope: “Ann, you poetic, noble land-mermaid.”), the co-founders, the EVPs, and any other staff from team lead to juniors who had started the week before I had. The lunch room, a massive room with a 16-person island in the centre, became abuzz with conversation at noon. The foosball channel on slack continually called out, “4?” “3!” “[2]” “1” 💥, and I would watch in fascination – always creepin’, never playin’.

This was no company. This was a community of people. Somewhat isolated from the rest of downtown in an environment that, strangely, felt like a home and gave off an aura of belonging.

—–

Belonging or no belonging – I needed to make a first impression. Slack was the vessel by which I would do so.

Slack was our program for instant messaging around the office – a program that I had never used or interacted with before. I was new to Mac, new to Slack, and just generally giving off the impression that I was going to be, well, relatively useless when it came to computers. A far cry from working in engineering, where people had come to me for IT support. Sweetheart, you’re not in Kansas anymore, I thought to myself as I looked over the employee roster of hardcore developers and software wizards.

One night over dinner, while telling my hubby of my pure, unadulterated incompetence when it came to Slack, he piped up excitedly:

“Have you started a lunch train yet?!”

“What’s that?”

He explained, in many words, more words than is usual (which will come as no surprise, for those of you who understand my love of words and using them and using them overtop of other people’s words…) about this fantastic train that you could deploy in Slack, setting the time and place for lunch, and allowing people to get on and off the train. Little did he know that this train would be my rite of passage the next day…

I investigated the Lunch Train. It was some kind of add-on for Slack. I had only ever seen a bus emoji at lunch times, with a long conversation following, so I decided I would ask at lunch why there was such a lack of Training at Yardstick (get it, it’s a pun! Because I’m HR..? Ugh, you guys are no fun.).

“Why do we always use a bus on Slack, instead of the Lunch Train?”

“What do you mean?”

And, regurgitating my hubby’s words as though they were my own original idea (verbal plagiarism – it’s not really a thing if it’s not on paper), I proudly announced the features and benefits of the Lunch Train. There was hardly a pause before (with some excited chatter), a few of the developers had already requested the Slack admin to add this feature on.

By the time I returned to my desk, someone had initiated the first lunch train… departing the station at 1:15, heading to… one of my new coworker’s Mom.

Naturally, I clicked the “Join this train” button. Choo choo! I was on my way to Friendville. Even if it did mean stopping at someone’s Mom…

The few people at lunch started tagging me: “Thanks for the suggestion!” “Yes, thanks @otarii!”

Then, suddenly…

“SHE’S ON THE TRAIN!!!”

A flurry of excitement followed.

“HR IS ON THE TRAIN TO ____’S MOM!!!”

“OMG! SHE’S ONE OF US!!”

“HRRRRRRR!!!”

I was in!! I had made the cut. They liked me.

Then, suddenly, reality set in. Oh, f*ck, I’m HR… Was this one of those things my Manager was saying was inappropriate?! Had I crossed some boundaries? Had I made friends, and already put my job on the line?! Why didn’t I think more carefully before getting on the train to someone’s Mom?! 

I immediately ran over to my Manager. “Uh… So, someone started a train to someone’s Mom… And, I, uh… Got on it… Is this one of those things I shouldn’t do on Slack?”

She laughed and assured me it was fine.

I returned to my desk, relieved. Yep, I think I finally found a place I belong.

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