Well, I took my first trip to the USA, ever, this week and it was down to Raleigh, NC, for orientation with Red Hat. I’d like to say it was an experience (meaning the trip), but it wasn’t… I was mostly fighting too hard to stay awake so it all really seems like a haze already. =) I guess only getting 1.5hrs of sleep the first night, and only 5 the second, will do that to you.

However… I was expecting a lot worse than it was. I was expecting all kinds of nightmares with security getting into and out of the US and it went really smooth. All the horror stories… well, I didn’t experience them at all (thank you God!). I got through security and customs pretty quick both ways. The flights were uneventful for the most part (except half the plane on the way back to Chicago was full of kids doing army bootcamp and they all had nasty colds… ick). Chicago’s airport has to be the most depressing excuse for a building I’ve ever seen. The fluorescent lights with that grey and blue… gah!

But all of that was the only downside to the trip. I went down there for orientation with Red Hat! I’d love to gush about how exciting it was, but it was largely the corporate rigamarole: policies, things you can do, things you can’t do. Felt like school. But the fine people who were tasked with teaching us this stuff did a fantastic job of making it as interesting as you can make this stuff, and they were a great bunch of people. Very, very nice. In fact, all the guys I met down there were great and really went out of their way to make me (and the rest of my “class”) feel welcome.

The other cool thing was getting to hang out with Adam for two days, whom I had never met before. That was great. It’s nice to not only put a face and voice to a name, but a personality as well. =)

I got in really late last night, went to bed even later, and after only 5hrs of sleep my daughter couldn’t not wake me up at 6:30 this morning. So that’s 3 nights of not nearly enough sleep. I did survive the day, and got to chat with my new co-workers while doing more reading (I think the guys here write docs more than anything else!). I think I have another two days of almost pure reading ahead of me. =) Not that I’ll be reading new stuff the whole time.. the sleep-deprived fog I was in today probably means I’ll have to re-read some of what I already read today.

So… this is day #3 at Red Hat. First impressions? I’m impressed. Everyone was fantastic. They were nice, energetic, bubbly. There’s definitely a great energy here, and it’s not just paid lip-service. It’s genuine. You can feel that immediately. They’re passionate about what they do, they’re energetic, they’re enthusiastic. I guess I can start saying “we” here… it’s only a few days and I feel it. It’s contagious. Actually, truth be told, I had the idea and feeling even before, during the interview process. I got that vibe even then, and what I felt meshed with what I’ve been reading and re-thinking and re-training myself with over the last few months… books like GTD, Presentation Zen, Do you matter?, Tribal Leadership, and Talent is Never Enough. These kind of philosophies and ways of thinking are what this company breathes and, I have to admit, it’s both refreshing and energizing.

So despite the feet-dragging and being tired, there’s something bubbling up that’s been missing for a long time in me, and I have to admit I really like it. I’m sure once I get a good full night sleep tonight, I’ll be able to get more in tune with whatever it is and really identify it. I mean, yeah, it’s excitement because this is new and different, but it’s more than that. It’s almost like a sigh of relief, or contentment… to be around people that put value on people, that recognize people for who they are not just what they can do. People who find worth in people. I dunno… too tired to properly articulate it I think.

Shadowman's daughter?

I do have to say my daughter’s got the bug too. For years she’s run around the house saying “Tux” this and “Tux” that. This last week I don’t hear about Tux at all… it’s “Red Hat” and “Shadowman!” (she thinks Shadowman is really really cool). And the red fedora I got? She thinks it’s fantastic. Check it out!

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