Sunday, July 16, 2006

The N

When I left my internship at Boeing, I had no idea that when I came back that I would visually distinguishable from the other Boeing employees (minus the fact that I'm about 20 years younger than most). In my absence, there had been major alteration to the Boeing badge; if you've worked at Boeing for less than three years, you get "The N."
If it wasn't bad enough to be the FNG, I was labelled so. I'd been at work for exactly 0 hours, and I already felt ostracized from everyone, save the other N's.
Most people in the company hadn't seen "The N" before, so I got lots of questions about it. "What is 'The N' for?" My standard answer was "because I'm the son of a Nigerian president." That got old. Then someone came up with the slogan: "The N isn't because we're new, its because we're needed." I'll let you form your own opinions about this tagline, but my silence should let you know how I feel about it.
Then one day, I noticed I was looking at people's badges to try to see if they had "The N." Why though? Its because I like the new people. If you're new to Boeing, you're less likely to be tainted with some of the things that bother me. You're not going to try to tackle me with process. You're not coming into the meeting with "what we used to do." You're less likely to use words like "core competencies" or "value-added." You won't drop a manager's, director's, or VP's name to try to impress people or make me think I have to do what you say. And innumerable other things.
These are all traits that I hope that I have and always will have, so when it comes time for me to drop "The N" from my badge... I'm going to fight it. I'm new forever.

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