First day at work. Big marketing company. No more collecting money from struggling photographers and photo studios swimming in debt. I was going to be dealing with big time vendors and something called Dideo, whatever that was. In my interview, they explained that the sales and marketing reps mostly dealt with payment, but I took that with a grain of salt. Honestly though, just the fact that I left the dark, cramped office space of my old job was a great step up. This place was open, airy, colorful and in a vibrant area in midtown, right across from Bryant Park, one of my most favorite places.
My new boss, Riya, a controller, had taken me around and introduced me to the rest of the finance team, several of them new to the company as well. I met the junior accountants, senior accounts, controllers (there were four altogether), payroll manager, accounts payable manager, interns and finally Larry, the CFO, a short Jewish guy with curly graying hair and glasses. He seemed unassuming and I was thankful for that I guess. But I knew better; first impressions didn’t mean a damn thing.
Now I was sitting at my desk in a square, four desk cubicle looking through the aging reports for the four companies under the ProActive umbrella. Two of the companies were on one system and two on another. As it was explained to me one system worked better for two companies and another for the other two. At least I had two monitors. That was another plus for this job.
“Lei?” My boss, Riya, had returned to my desk with a young man beside her. “Lei, this is Adrian. He’s the one you didn’t meet earlier, the other senior accountant. He works with me for Dideo mostly so you can ask him anything if I’m not around.”
I stood up and shook his hand. “Nice to meet you.”
“You too,” he gave me a hard smile and put his hands in his pant pockets.
“He’s been doing receivables so you two should probably get together at some point so you can pick up where he left off.”
“Sure,” Adrian just nodded slightly.
“Great,” I said.
Riya looked at my screen. “How does the aging look? Think you can handle it?”
“Well I’ve only started looking at the numbers. New clients and relationships take some time like anything else. But I’m sure I can manage.” I could do this in my sleep, I thought.
Adrian turned his head to the side, but I still saw him roll his eyes. I was offended. He didn’t know anything about me. Why was he being so judgmental?
“Ok, well, get to it and I’ll check in with you later.” Riya said and headed back to her office. Adrian turned around and started talking to the guy across from me. I think she said his name was Steve. He was a senior account like Adrian, but new, like me.
I went back to reviewing my aging reports. Mira, a new junior accountant sitting at the desk attached to mine, was talking on the phone in a language I didn’t understand. We sat at opposite corners of our side of the cubicle square with a couple of phones and printers between us. I scoured the numbers and found that there were indeed some outstanding invoices, several in fact, and wondered if they really expected the sales people to handle these. Did they just write stuff off? Or would I need to start making phone calls? One step at a time, I told myself. I needed to look at the history and start emailing the sales reps for background info.
Minutes later Mira swiveled over to me in her chair.
“This chair has been empty for two weeks and I’ve been worried about who would sit here. You seem nice though. Sorry about the phone. I’m getting married in the spring. It’s all my mother can talk about so she calls me a lot. Well she calls me a lot anyway so I’m apologizing ahead of time for all the phone calls. I know it’s not professional and it annoys some people, but I can’t help it, she’s my mother. So, what about you? Are you married? Kids?”
Married, wow. She couldn’t be more than twenty-two. Maybe twenty-three? She was petite and perky. Long wavy dark hair. Dressed for business. I liked her.
“Well, congratulations, on your engagement. No worries about the phone. It won’t bother me. And no, I’m not married. No kids.”
“Boyfriend? Cat?” she laughs.
“I’ve actually been thinking about getting a cat.”
“Why? Dogs are better,” Adrian suddenly interrupted.
“I like dogs, too. But they’re a lot of work and I’m not home all day.”
He looked irritated. What was up with this guy?
“So why did you start today? It’s Thursday.” Mira asked, puzzled.
I shrugged. “At my other company I gave my two weeks notice on a Tuesday and I wanted a day off in between. I would’ve waited until Monday next week, but they wanted me here as soon as possible,” I shrugged.
Adrian leaned back against Steve’s desk, but Steve swiveled over.
“Did you know they hired another junior accountant that sat right next to me on Monday and she was gone by Wednesday? Wonder what happened to her. They said she had some health issues or something. But Adrian was telling me that position is a curse. Every junior accountant that’s worked for that controller doesn’t last long.”
“Which controller?” I asked.
I took note of this in my head. “Good to know.”
“This place is awesome.” Steve said. “Did you see the bar?”
I had seen the bar. I still couldn’t believe there was a place to go drink right down the hall. You didn’t have to leave work to have a drink at the end of the day and you didn’t have to pay for it either. There were some rules as to when you could drink of course, but just the fact that it was there at the end of a long day was pretty awesome.
“Yeah, Riya showed it to me. Pretty cool.”
“We should go there tomorrow after work. Get to know each other,” Mira suggested.
“Sure, why not.” I agreed.
“Definitely,” Steve said. “You in?” He glanced at Adrian.
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
Larry, the CFO, walked by then and we all dispersed to our corners and Adrian back to his shared office.
I spent the rest of the day looking over aging reports, navigating the new programs and ate lunch with Mira in the lunchroom. So far so good.