I've made it through my first week at the new job.
No apparent personality conflicts with my coworkers; no tremendous bonding either. My main accomplishment for the week has been the apparently successful negotiation of most of the bureaucratic maze involved in joining the University. Other than that, I've been learning things; I didn't have any expectations of writing any code this soon. Reading just the first couple of chapters of the textbook that explains the theory behind the software makes it make a lot more sense. And an hour with the Tcl/Tk book makes me feel almost ready to start hacking on it -- I'm already appreciating the appeal of the language. I've also scratched the surface of understanding the corpus of existing code, but definitely not very deeply.
I'd like to keep this post public, which means that I can't go into much detail about either the work or the people -- I don't want to have any worries at all that someone might think I'm saying something I shouldn't. So I can't really say much about the software. I'll just say that software engineering practices at the lab are even more primitive than I'd realized. Hopefully the next few months will see me teaching them to do things better, rather than just becoming frustrated.
On a personal level, the boss (whom I'll refer to as C) gave me the first promised session of "mentoring" yesterday. (As we discussed when I interviewed, C perceives (rightly) that my technical qualifications are more than sufficient for this job; I will sink or swim based on how I handle things emotionally/psychologically. And when he offered the job, he promised that he would help me with those problems.) He stressed that he expects me to work with the group, not just for him. And today, I actually spent at least half the day in the lab, split between working one on one with R as he was showing me part of the software, and discussing some software engineering issues with the group. I also have actual stuff to report and discuss at the group meeting Monday morning.
Now, I just have to find enough time to do things in my life, like keeping up on LJ and posting some pictures from my trip. (I have a ton; many aren't going to be as good as I wanted for printing, but they'll be stunning at web resolution.)