Well, it’s been about three months since I started, so I might as well tell you about my new job.
You: What? You have a job?
You: You mean, like, a real job?
You: C’mon… Really?
Me: Yes. Really.
You: No way. You?! I don’t believe it!! So, you’re telling me…
Me: Yes! I have a job! Will you just shut up already!!
Me: Oh, hey… Listen, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.
You: Gosh, I was just askin’.
Me: I know. I’m sorry. You just wouldn’t drop it.
You: Well, I was surprised, that’ all. You haven’t had a steady job for a decade now. You didn’t have to snap at me like that.
Me: Look, I already said I was sorry. Can we just carry on with the blog entry?
Me: C’mon, don’t be like that.
You: Be like what?
Me: Alright. Just forget it.
Yes, I have a job! And we’re not talking about flippin’ burgers at no McY D’s, either. You, my friends, are reading the blog of Hewlett Packard’s Designjet Content Manager. Pretty impressive, no? Any questions?
You: So, what prompted this radical change in lifestyle?
I have been getting by just fine for the past eight years. Between my theatre, film, voice-over work, and web design projects, I’ve managed to scrape out a living without ever having to worry about the next month’s rent. But it was always a roller coaster. The life of an artist is an unpredictable one and, with little Emily in the picture now, I felt like it was time to settle down and look for something a little more predictable – and stable.
You: So, how did you stumble into this job?
Remember Val? Of course you do! Valerie is the lovely Irish lass who single-handedly made our wedding possible. Well, before organizing weddings here in Barcelona, Val worked for HP as their Designjet Content Manager (sound familiar?). And thanks to the massive success of our wedding, Val has decided to dedicate 100% of her time to organizing weddings and events by starting her own company here and thus end her four year relationship with HP. Being close friends with Val, I was privy to the job opening and she did what she could to get my CV on to the big boss’ desk. My CV got me an interview and my interview, mad skillz, and charm got me the job.
You: So, what do you?
I have to warn you, it’s not the most exciting job in the world. In a nutshell, my primary responsibility is to create and maintain an online database of technical specifications for HP’s Designjet printers. Break it down even more, you say? OK. HP has this printer series called Designjet. These are printers that are bigger than a sofa. When HP develops a new Designjet product, information has to be gathered about this new product. How many pages does this thing print per minute? How much ink does it use? How much does it weigh? All of this info is needed by the folks who make the packaging for the product in the US, guys making web pages in Japan, advertisers in Argentina, and hundreds of other publishers around the world. And we want everyone to have the same accurate information. That’s where I come in. I communicate with the engineers and developers to collect all of the specs (there are over 400 of them!) and then upload them to a database that is accessible by the worldwide publishers. Then, if anything changes, it’s my job to make sure that this database stays up-to-date. Like I said, not the most interesting job in the world, but I’m a computer geek at heart and I create spreadsheets at home in my free time to decide which brand of toothpaste is best suited for me (and most affordable).
You: So, how’s it going?
Great! I’ll be honest with you: the two things that first attracted me to this job were that I get to make my own hours and that I get paid very well. These are a “must” for a free spirit like myself to voluntarily get tied down to an “office job”. Yup, I’ve got my own cubicle, laptop, and docking station. I’m officially part of the Marketing Department and I couldn’t be happier with the people I work with. Most of the people at HP in Barcelona are Spanish but, since HP is an American “International” company, all official business is conducted in English. I still get to chat in Spanish or Catalan with my workmates, though.
The site itself is great. It takes me exactly one hour to get from my front door to my desk at work. I’ve been happily filling this time by watching tons of TV shows on my Palm pilot. Very much resembling a college campus, the main building at HP Barcelona is like an airplane hangar filled with cubicles. Then there’s the cafeteria which offers surprisingly good fare for very reasonable prices. We’ve got vending machines in the common area and by the deli counter and there’s all the coffee, tea, and chocolate milk you can drink. Oh, and did I mention the fitness room, soccer field, running paths, and basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts? There’s a group of guys who play volleyball outside every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I’ve played with them a couple times and the level is surprisingly good. I’d play more often but it’s hard to rationalize taking two hours out of your day to play when you’re getting paid by the hour. Maybe playing once a week will make up for the fact that I’ve had to give up playing volleyball with the team in Vall d’Hebron this year. A guy’s gotta stay in shape!
I was told that I would be working a minimum of 25 hours a week. I did the math and figured that this would be enough money to support the family. Ever since I started, though, I’ve been clocking about 40 hours a week! Good thing I get paid by the hour. We’re on a six month product introduction cycle – one spring intro and one fall intro – and my job is very much concentrated on the start of every cycle. This means that, with any luck, things will settle down a bit after New Year’s. The goal is to get my hours down to around 30 a week and do three days in the office, one day from home, and take one day off. I’m hoping to use that day off to take Emily to our gym once a week for swimming classes starting in January or February 🙂
You: So, can you get me a cheap printer?