I believe you're recalling the opening chapter of Existence (2012) by David Brin.
Gerald Livingstone works in a one-man pod attached to a space station:
Gerald floated in a crystal shell, perched at the end of a long boom, some distance from the space station Endurance.
He is an orbital junk collector who uses an electromagnetically-manipulated tether to collect debris:
The bola is my arm.
The grabber is my hand.
Magnetic is the lever that I turn.
A planet is my fulcrum.
Most days, the little chant helped Gerald to focus on his job - that of a glorified garbageman.
He snags an unusual object:
Rushing towards rendezvous, the bola's camera spied something glittery, vaguely oval in shape, gleaming with a pale blueness that pulsed like something eager.
Gerald's hand was the grabber, turning a fielder's mitt of splayed fingers, reaching as the object loomed suddenly.
Don't flinch, he chided ancient intuitions while preparing to snatch whatever this hurtling thing might be.
Relax. It never hurts.
Only this time - in a strange and puzzling way - it did.
Which, when it's investigated later seems to be trying to communicate, but in no known language or symbology.