Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Colorado Startup Life: Weeks 0 and 1

I'm sitting outside at a Starbucks... that doesn't close until 10 PM... a 15 minute walk from my apartment... in Longmont, Colorado. It's emotional. I mean, I feel like I have arrived. I feel like, the me that I envisioned back in college has happened. To my back the sunlight fades over Longs Peak and the rest of the mountains. To my front is a Pho something restaurant.

September 14th I moved into my apartment in Longmont. September 15th my friend J and I climbed Long Peak. Unfortunately my lung issue is alive and well and it took me 11 hours car to car. That's pretty slow for me. Back in 2006, just walking, I did it in 8.5 hours. Sunday the 15th I took him to the airport and laid on the couch the rest of the day.

I'm convinced it's a lung issue, and most likely pleurisy due to some sort of infection around the lungs. That being said, for the rest of September I'm on my old insurance with my former employer, so I'm waiting until October for my new insurance to kick in to restart the doctors visits. If I start blogging more, I'll write a whole lot about this breathing issue. In short, the oxygen isn't getting to my muscles. I've had two blood tests, a tick panel, lead check, electrolyte check, two chest x-rays, mononucleosis check, EKG, stress test, and an echocardiogram. Everything came back normal or negative. The biggest surprise was that I have had mono! I turned myself into a germaphobe back in high school when a bunch of my friends came down with mono in a few months. Well, I must have had it back when I was a baby or something, because in my memory I never had it.

Monday the 17th was my first day at my new job. I had a lot of fear. Would I be able to contribute? Would the work be too different than what I have done the last eight years? They're going to discover I'm an incompetent imposter!

HAHAHAHA!!!! Day one was fairly uneventful, but by day two I was being rather productive. One of my first tasks was to knock out about a dozen drawings. I was knocking them out quickly, and on Wednesday or Thursday, I did five from scratch in one day! Plus, I sit between two people who are directly out of university this spring, and I end up getting to answer questions about CREO already! In short, the fear I had about not creating value has gone. Instead, I have the realization that people aren't just going to give me work tasks, I'm going to have to create them myself. Which isn't bad at all, I've already started mapping our current processes.

My title is Product Configuration Engineer. Technically, it's Senior Product Configuration Engineer, but I'm not sure how I feel about the senior part. I'm happy that my experience is recognized with the title, but I'm a fan of the more egalitarian title because I know I stand to learn things from my coworkers who are only four months out of university as well. What exactly is a configuration engineer you ask? Well, I was hoping you could tell me, haha. I think I'm the 27th employee at this three year old aerospace company and I know their only configuration engineer.

I know configuration engineer means a few things. I will eventually own the top level product assemblies. I'm on the design side, not the test or manufacturing side, although I need to work with them quite a bit. It falls to me to define, or at least take a leading role in defining the systems and processes needed to scale the company from what they have now (which is very basic) to something that conveys all the right information to all of the right people within the company about our products  (our parts). It's a difficult problem. Put too much process in place and it's onerous and as one of my experienced coworkers said today about having to use a specific software "I'd quit". On the other hand, don't have enough process, and mistakes will get made. In fact, a few mistakes have already been made to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars in wasted parts. In short, I feel I am perfect for this job! It's an opportunity, to define the company process and structure for part workflow, that I would not have for another ten years at a large corporation. Informally I've thought about structure and organization for years. Now, I get to do something about it.

After work every day I was pretty tired so I didn't do any running or bicycling. I basically went home, called my parents or my sister and ate dinner and went to bed.

Saturday my friend L and I went and hiked Mt. Princeton. She out hiked me, and she's a nurse who has known me for 10 years, so knew that was not normal. At the top of the mountain my pulse oxygen percentage was 65%. When I told L, she said, "And you're conscious!?!?!" My lowest on Everest in 2016 was 59%, and I say that when it gets below 70% that's not so good. Fortunately by the time we were back in the car on the way down it was up to 88%. Some of that I attribute to not being acclimated yet, but most is due to my breathing problem.

My week starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday. Not sure how long this series will last. Over the last 2.5 years I've basically gotten out of blogging, but I miss it.  If anyone is new to my blog, I don't post names unless I ask the person ahead of time, usually just an initial. I try to respect everyone's privacy,  both individuals, and my employer. Generally speaking, if I feel that telling a story will violate someone's privacy, I won't tell it unless I feel some sort of moral obligation to warn others.

Goals for the next few weeks: Get my breathing issue figured out. Exceed expectations at work. Pay all of my bills on time. Work through sending my thank you notes to my previous coworkers.

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