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3:44 pm - Thurs 11/17/05
ArcLight Stuff

ArcLight Stuff

Weds 11/16/05 (8:59 a.m.)

First night of ArcLight training last night...

I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but the four hours were basically spent first going through paperwork, then taking turns reading through their book of rules and regulations and corporate philosophy (Where once again it struck me–I may not be a great actor, but I’m an exceptional reader).

(Let me amend something–we spent the time reading through the first day’s worth of rules and regulations and corporate philosophy.)

I’m eager to get to the actual “learning how to do the job” part of the program. Last night was four hours that should have been 90 minutes, and there was nothing there, near as I could tell, that had any practical bearing on what we’re going to do at the theater (The “corporate philosophy” stuff was particularly long-winded “business-speak", paragraph upon paragraph--sometimes accompanied by charts--to say things like, “Be friendly to customers and co-workers”, “Be self-motivating”, “Make sure the customer has a great experience”, and so on and so forth). I think they could just as easily have had us fill out our paperwork, handed us an employee handbook, said "read it overnight and come in tomorrow with any questions", maybe read a brief “mission statement”, and sent us on our way.

But if they’d been that efficient, I wouldn’t have gotten paid for four hours. There is that to consider.

And there was free popcorn and soda, which was nice.

And my fellow trainees seemed like very agreeable sorts, as did the employees we came into contact with (I’m not sure I made any lifelong friends last night, but with some 150-plus employees--and as you might expect with this kind of job, most of the other people were quite a bit younger than me--I’m sure there will be any number of people I’ll be simpatico with).

And let’s not forget–From Sunday night through Thursday night, I can go to the movies for free (A free pass which starts immediately–Barring auditions or other unforeseen circumstances, I’m planning to see Capote tomorrow afternoon, and maybe a midnight showing of Walk The Line after our training session that night).

But the joy of free movies aside, on the way home–and it’s a very easy ride home (Almost all downhill)--I had to remind myself that I always feel overwhelmed when starting something new, especially when presented with page after page of rules and regs and expectations. But then when I’m actually doing whatever-it-is, more often than not, it’s no big deal.

(I think they should take just the opposite tack with the training--Instead of making it a bigger deal than it really is--We’re not working on the “Manhattan Project” here, after all--and getting people all anxious, they should be saying, instead, “Hey, if you present a good appearance, are friendly to everyone, and are constantly doing something when you're on the floor, you’re going to be just fine here...”.


(4:38 p.m.)

Getting near time to head out for Day 2 of ArcLight training...
Just got back a short time ago from having a repast with John O. at Soup Plantation.

Good to talk to him, and I’m hoping that having my free movie pass will lead to more outings, since money has been the biggest issue in the way of our getting together more often.

After we parted company, I bought two pair of black khaki pants at Old Navy, for use as “uniform pants”, and now I’m afraid that they won’t pass muster (Khakis aren’t really “dress pants”, are they?). But what I’ll probably do, since just two pair of pants I can wear to work wouldn’t be enough anyway, is buy a couple pairs of black Dickies–a guy asked if those were acceptable yesterday, and was told they were–and if the khakis aren’t acceptable, use those as my “outside of work” clothes (I need more pants in general anyway), and buy more “work pants”.

They provide–or try to provide, anyway–two ArcLight shirts (I guess getting them in the quantities they need when they need them has been an issue of late; they said some people who have been recently trained are still waiting for their second shirt).

The clothes thing was the closest there came to being an insurrection amongst the trainees; Joey (The trainer) made a very big deal about the dress/appearance standards at the ArcLight, going so far as to say he’s pulled people off the floor to make them go back to the break room and iron their shirts, and sent people home for various infractions of the rules about excessive jewelry and what-not (The dress code is very conservative, by the way, especially considering where we are, because the ArcLight has some very wealthy clientele).

So to really beat the drum about the importance of the dress code, then to say we’re maybe going to get two shirts...Well, it seemed to send a contradictory message (And from the rumble amongst the trainees, I know they felt the same. Who wants to have to do laundry every other day?).

I actually asked if I could buy more shirts myself–I’m a slob, so I know cleaning and maintaining two shirts through a five day workweek is going to be beyond me--And they weren’t sure (No one’s asked about that before?), but they thought not.

(One guy was funny...After I finished asking, he just blurted out, “More shirts!”; for a second, I thought he was actually going to start chanting “more shirts! more shirts! more shirts!” as he pounded on the table.)

If you’re getting the impression I wanted to have a better night than I did last night, I guess you’d be right, even though it wasn’t really bad. It just felt kind of like a waste of time, on the one hand, and the “shirt”/appearance thing, I thought, a genuine concern (Another “issue”, regarding the shirts? They don’t want you wearing your shirt as you come into the theater, before you’ve clocked in, so I have to figure out how to transport my shirt, on my bike, without it getting all wrinkled).

But’s time for me to go.

(Okay, one more gripe–Training on a Wednesday means I can only tape one of my two favorite shows tonite, Lost, or Veronica Mars; I’m going with Veronica, cause she needs me more, but it’s kinda painful, since we’re going to find out what happened to the “Tailies” on Lost. But anyway...)


Well, I thought I was going to see Capote today, but by the time I went to Target (To buy more pants for work, new shoes, black socks, and a padlock for my work locker), then to the bookstore (To pick up my backpack--I'd left it there--and my final paycheck), then to the bank (To deposit the aforementioned paycheck), I missed the first show of the day, and the second would have run into training time.

C'est La Vie...

Wish I'd done things the "other way round" today, and gone to the bookstore first; My final paycheck, with accrued "personal days" and "vacation time", was huge (Over $1300; by way of comparison, a normal paycheck this year has been a little under $400).

But instead of putting my Target expenditures on my debit card, because I can certainly cover it, I put them on a credit card, cause I thought I couldn't.

I'm sorry...this has to be really boring, huh? But in all likelihood, until the House shoot on Monday, this is all the "news" I've got.

Day 2 of ArcLight training was more of the same, except that we did tour the facility, and it let out an hour early.

And happily, the answer on my khakis was that they're okay, so "Yay!" for that.

And another, slightly less enthusiastic "yay"--We are going to be able to buy additional shirts (I think it's important to have at least a week's worth of work clothes, particularly if they want everything looking ship-shape).

Well, speaking of the ArcLight, I'd better get going--Today is the first day we're dressed "in uniform", the shirts have to be ironed, and since I don't own an iron at present, I need to get there early, to use the one in the breakroom.

And hope someone can show me proper ironing technique (On the rare occasion I've actually tried to use an iron, I've usually left more wrinkles in the garment than when I started).

Anyway, see ya later...


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