So. Eleven weeks of work under my belt. I've learned that there are good things and bad things about working in a small firm. The bad things are obvious: since my desk is only 3 feet from that of the principal, I know more than I probably need to know about his personal life. I can tell you quite a lot about his kids, and at least a bit about his ex-wife.
It's a little difficult negotiating our relationship. The employer/employee thing is fine, but we also have to be at least somewhat friendly, otherwise the day would be impossible to get through. We've gone out to lunch together a few times, and it's never been clear to me what we're supposed to talk about. I drove down to Scottsburg w/him earlier this week so he could pick up his new car, which was fine, I don't mind being paid to drive his car back to town, but the people selling car clearly mistook me for someone other than his design assistant. So, sort of weird at times.
On the other hand, since it is a small firm, my day-to-day work has a bit more variety than it might otherwise. I'm tired of the project we've been focusing on, and I can hardly wait for July to get here so we'll be mostly done w/the design/spec work. But, I get to do fun things sometimes. Wednesday, we took some floor mat samples out into the rain, covered them with soap, and skidded around on them to see how they would work in the bubble-making area of the museum. Tuesday, we did a bit of demolition at the building site, hacking through plaster and tearing up carpet. I get to talk to sales reps about interesting things, like epoxy coatings and cementitious underlayment. I get to run the occasional errand out to various builders' and contractors' offices.
Lots of valuable experience to have, good resume building stuff, generally enjoyable. I'm way tired of the commute, and I look forward to working closer to home. I think next time, if I have my choice of jobs, I'll go with a slightly bigger firm. Louis says the super-large firms will chew me up and spit me out, and he's right, but it would be good to have co-workers.