"She's Good, And She Knows It"


Unofficially diagnosed, but the thing on my eye is definitely a something. And according to my extensive reading of WebMD, it's either an incurable 15th century disease, or pinguecula. I'll find out on the 24th of April, because apparently the eye doctors in Nevada book nearly 2 months out.

Anywhoo, abnormal growths and eye irritations aside, this week marks 4 weeks since leaving Ohio. I'm a bit behind on posting; I've been a tad wrapped up in doing nothing, but I'm up for a move this Friday to my home for the next (at least) year, and am currently also looking up storage units nearby for the rest of my junk that I have that's worth not pitching or selling. I also need to set up my internet, thanks for reminding me.

So Tesla. Work. It's been exactly three full weeks on site, and it already feels like I'm well into three months or more. So much has happened, yet so little. For starters, right off the bat I was thrown into a 6-day work week. And then two more weeks of mandatory 5, 12-hour days. Needless to say, by the end of last week I was dead. Tired, ill-motivated, grumpy, dead. I didn't even realize it was Good Friday, or Easter. I missed Easter. I did; however, gain some insight to how the team felt, and feels about me. 

As you can probably ascertain, Tesla expects quite a bit from their employees. I came in at an...interesting time, to say the least. I love the environment, but it's also very...abstract. It's fun, yet completely and utterly infuriating, all in the same breath. 

Week One you could basically call orientation week; typical paperwork and policy stuff, as well as learning my surroundings. That only lasted a few days, though. By the end of the week, I was working my shift, learning the names of my team as I lead them through a shift. I tell you what--if you don't know anything about what you're doing (which, I don't), you sure learn quick.

Week 2 started off still as a shadow week, where I essentially worked splits leading up to taking over D-Shift on the latter half of the week. I don't think it's golden knowledge to say they're not cruel enough to totally toss the duckling into the pond and yell "Swim!". But by the end of week 2, I had not only managed to work close to 14 hours a day, but gain enough fuel for last weeks post, get invited to sacrilegious Church, receive an invite to Sunday morning breakfast with my team (which is the option I went with), and to have serious face-to-face discussions with the man I shadowed.

Now, this is where expectations come in. Tesla is expanding. Rapidly. As a result, they're headhunting. I was headhunted from my last role by a recruiter. It feels awesome, but it also brings with it a certain level of expectation. I'm young. I'm the same age, if not younger, than many of my counterparts. I'm female. Thinking about it, I'm the only female in leadership in my entire sector. There's one female...two female engineers, one on days and one on nights, that do not work my shift. It's not something I think too much about, but when I'm the least experienced amongst my peers in supervision, it does set the standard a bit higher. So, a conversation I had with the guy who took on training me rounded out week 1.5/2. I was talking to him for shift change, and he looks at me with a serious face and says something along the lines of "You're good. You're going to be really good, and you're going to do great things. If not today, maybe not tomorrow or a month from now, but you're going to change this place."

Now, as flattered as I am, I also wonder where on Earth that came from. Getting the back story, I learn a little about how I was hired. As some of you may know, I was contacted in January by a recruiter, and on the same day I had my first phone conversation, I also had a double phone interview. Fast forward a bit, and I was in Reno for an in-person interview... many of them, actually. Hardly 12 hours later I received word I got the job, and after about a week of negotiations, I signed my offer letter. Pushing aside the revelations of last week, my trainer/counterpart looks at me during this conversation and says "You want to know how I know this?"

Obviously, yes, please.

"You want to know what they said to me when they were discussing you? Talking about bringing you on board? They were decisive. They said 'She's gooooood.' But not just that. They said 'She's good, and she knows it'."

Now, I'm not quite sure how to take that, but I'll absolutely take it as a compliment. I will also take it as a horribly high standard that I'll do everything in my power to exceed. I'm now three weeks in at the factory, and 3 days shy of wrapping up a full four weeks on-board. There are many improvements I can see, and many obstacles that will undoubtedly provide sources of frustration. The thing I'm super pumped about, is working with such a highly motivated team. 

Yes, part of this is a brag post, but the other part is getting this off of my chest. The ridiculous-feeling standard set before me... I just show up, smile (most of the time), and do my best for the day. The little victories will paint the larger picture, and we can only do the best given our situational constraints. On days the team seems down, I smile and tell them what feedback I have on their performance, and how to do better or sustain greatness for the next day. I figure out what faults are troubling them the most and get maintenance on it. I find out what's going on in their personal lives and ensure they have the time off they need to handle it, but also that they remain a reliable employee. That's what I do. I manipulate constraints. I digest them, break them down to manageable chunks, and if they're against us in any way, I do my best to change them to our favor. I've done it before, and while the general setting was very different, it's absolutely a repeatable procedure. It's all a matter of if I can figure out how to do it in such an abstract environment...it's something I've never faced before. In earnest conversation, my team lead looked me dead in the eye and said he was thankful I was there. Both of my higher leads did, actually. But the bittersweetness is that it seems so... empty. Almost a slight. Because my comparison, the thing they're so happy to compare me to, is nothing. It's "we're thankful there's someone here to be our supervisor and give us support." Not, "we're thankful for you, personally".

Putting my own ego aside, I suppose writing on a blank drawing board stands out more than coloring over old marks. But without some structure, it's a whole different ball game. I suppose if I could figure this out, though, then maybe I will make that difference everyone seems to already think so highly of me being able to do.

Game on, I suppose. Because while this is an entirely new journey filled with unfaced challenges of it's own, if there's one thing they got right, it's that I am good, and I know it.