First Day of High School

by Frank Roche on September 2, 2010

in Culture

I can remember my first day of high school. The anticipation. The excitement. The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I had no idea how it would be. Back then, we didn’t have helicopter parents and Freshman orientation days. We just turned up and went to our assigned classes. If we could find the classrooms.

The first day of high school was worse than I could have imagined. There were massive riots that first week of school — this was the early 1970s — that ended up with a teacher stabbed, the chief of police clubbed on the head with a baseball bat, police dogs and horses rushing into crowds of fighting students, and school being closed for a week to cool things off. I was a little pee-wee Catholic school boy and that was my introduction to four years of hell.

I thought about that because high school started in our area yesterday. The kids are still getting used to the idea of it. My neighbor missed the bus and his mom was outside clutching her bathrobe around her as she cajoled him to run up the street to see if he could catch it. Kids who were waiting for the bus were standing 5 feet apart from each other, trying to figure out the pecking order of who gets on the bus first. They looked scared.

And I thought about what a first day at work must be like. What it’s like at many shops. Is it scary? Are employees welcomed? Or is it, like I felt on my first day of high school, the beginning of years of hell?

We all have choices about how we welcome people at work. What’s your best experience?

[Photo credit]

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