My first week at my new job out of the way, time to reflect.
When I start a new job, I always “assume” (this is the only time I let myself assume these days), that the first week will be crap, a time of feeling a bit lost trying to find your feet, when it is too early to do so, or to learn a whole new way, which can also feel unsettling. Also a time when you realise the challenge ahead.
I started Monday with my usual “expectations”, watched a couple of Ozzy Man Reviews videos (my latest source of laughter) right before going in as I was really early and off I went into this whole new building, to meet all kind of people, understand all kind of “rules”, geared up expecting it wasn’t going to be fun – for the first week at least.
Despite it being a tough week – a lot of training sessions, little time to think, and not doing much else (falling asleep dead early every night), I must say it has possibly be the best first week I have ever had in a new job.
Every day, I found many things to be grateful for, some even rendered me in absolute awe that this was happening.
The company seems to deliver everything I had always dreamed about and some stuff I didn’t even know I could dream about.
So much so that I was really glad when the weekend came (last night) so I could rest my emotions, and go about my normal business of my quiet and balanced life.
Of course, it is very early days and only when I actually get to do the job will I know how I will fit in this organisation, however this week, I got to fully appreciate what an amazing company this was.
Firstly, their company restaurant is out of this world. I know this sounds irrelevant but I have discovered how exciting it is to go into work every day and wonder what amazing food will be on offer at such ridiculously low prices (the restaurant is heavily subsidised) – all the food being fresh and cooked on site by chefs.
Their salads bar, where I took all my food intake from, has dreamy healthy (on the main) salads, some of which didn’t even know existed (such as containing fruits). Luckily, you don’t need to choose which to have, you can just pick and mix anything into one bowl. Which doesn’t appear too large, however I have got home every day with “only a salad” for lunch and haven’t felt hungry. A large salad costs £1.75. I think I might need to try the smaller bowl (£1.25) as the large is starting to feel a lot.
All their meat comes from local butchers, and their sausages are prize winning onces. I have only tried their bacon so far – as a Friday treat – yummy! And I have looked at the plates of people going past and they looked amazing (if not a bit too much food for me) – the most expensive hot meal is £2 I believe.
Their bread rolls and baguettes (various kinds), croissants and pains au chocolat, baked on site.
They have pots of yummy, freshly cut fruits for a third of the price of those tiny pots you get in the supermarkets.
Their home made soups seem very popular, at £0.80 a large bowl too, I am not surprised. Maybe I will try them next week.
They also have “freshly made coffee” machines, where you can actually see the beans – with a selection of caff or decaff, and various coffee types – from cappuccino to latté – and a wide selection of teas (at a glance, about 15/20 different types of tea bags) – All FREE and as much as you want.
The grounds are magnificent, beautifully kept vast areas of grass where rabbits and crows can be seen messing about.
Their planters have amazing art – big rusty metal sculpture of leaves and plants, principally of the flower I have just noticed adorns my living room wall on prints – Calla Lillies I believe they are called, not my favourite fresh flower, but my favourite to look at, it translates a sense of peace and grace to me.
They have a beautiful large fountain area in front of the main building, with a selection of bench tables in front.
The buildings are amazingly modern inside, large and spacious ceilingless common areas, painted white, with modern colourful chairs and sofas, low glass tables in the “chill out” areas, and a selection of tables, chairs and booths in the restaurant area, again all very colourful.
All open planned from one side of the building to the other and sections that aren’t – such as meeting rooms – are all glass, giving a sense of space and also intimacy with everyone. From my desk, I can see several other departments, giving you the sense that we are all one big team.
The bonus point – however will not matter long – the smokers’ areas:
I will never forget when I walked towards it the first time…it was like a dream come true. It had everything I kept dreaming about in my last place:
- A bench
- A roof and sides (transparent of course)
- A HEATER!
- A cigarette bin and a rubbish bin (very useful to leave your empty coffee cup)
I am told, speaking to a fellow smoker, some people at the top are smokers. I told her that was lucky, my people at the top in my old place was gay so we got LGBT instead of caring for the smokers.
I have had at least four episodes of being dumbfounded how nice people were.
My first was on my second day, when I got involved in supporting my first customer – despite the fact that I hadn’t been expected to work with customers for a while yet – my name had been given to her by the Belgium support guy as the UK french contact. When I asked one of the second line staff for help as I hadn’t been set up to carry out the support she needed, he was surprised I had been approached and told me I didn’t need to deal with it, I said I was happy to but needed to use a laptop where I could do what I needed, so he helped me with this. Now, I had never provided IT support in French before, but I decided to just launch myself. The customer, Julie, was possibly the nicest person I have ever spoken to in my job. As I waited for the connection to happen, we actually got quite intimate about our lives (she seemed really interested in finding out who I was) and completely clicked (I think it helped we were both over 40, single with no kids) – she even invited me to visit her if I come to Belgium!
Another encounter was when my mentor and I went to help someone set up a video conference for a big meeting. As all attendees were arriving, it was clear the video conference wasn’t going to happen – only the phone part worked. Unphased, she found a workaround. An hour or or later, she came to see us and thanked us profusely for our help…!!!
On Monday I met another new starter whilst waiting to be seen to, in the reception area. A tall, curvy, blonde Russian girl called Elena. We chatted a while in passing the rest of the week. On Friday, as I was having my last ciggie before starting work, she came to the shelter, big smile and big hello to me and naturally bent down to kiss me on the cheeks..!! (being french of course it doesn’t shock me, but living in the UK, highly unexpected!)
Lastly, I think my new boss impressed me the most this week. How open and receptive he is, knowledgable and caring about his team, how flexible, smiley, genuinely nice he is.
We had a quick catch up on Friday afternoon to see how things were going. Now I had had a wobble inside on Wednesday when I realised how much Deskside work was involved, and that means building, rebuilding, repairing laptops/computers and changing toners. I am not keen on deskside work, as although it sounds like you are working with customers, you are actually not – you build and repair laptops in a build room on your own for instance, and customer contact being my primary source of joy in my job, deskside is not my favourite thing. Still I thought it wouldn’t hurt to relearn (I used to do a lot of deskside work back 10 years ago) and see how it goes. However I decided to mention it to my boss on Friday. His reaction: not a problem, if you would rather do more phone work than deskside work, absolutely fine, we can accommodate that….!!!
I have been myself entirely with everyone I have met, I have smiled and engaged with many, trying to remember as many names as I could, even complimented the chefs on what they produced, had nice little chats with the receptionists and introduced myself to the ladies serving the food. Everyone has been extremely welcoming and so so friendly.
I have already demonstrated, to myself at the very least, what value I can bring to the team, on many occasions. Every meeting/training sessions I have attended, I brought suggestions that they lapped up. It seems my experience is paying off – at last, I can contribute to the better running of a department.
My boss said the department was doing good, however, humbly said he wanted to push it even further – I suggested he should aim for brilliant 😉
I have even found a car share, starting next Tuesday, with a really nice chap who started on Monday also and drives past my house every day from much further afield, meaning he will be doing the driving – saving heaps on the maintenance of my new (old) car – I think we will have lots to talk about, we have a shared experienced: both of us have lived in Canada, some two hours away from each other!
Seriously, I don’t really want to think about it all too much because it becomes too surreal.
This week has also been the time where I have finally sussed the problem with my mum and therefore I can now work on how to handle it – but more in another post – and I believe possibly a breakthrough in my strained relationship with my dad – he actually listened to me about it being a good idea to stop drinking now he has liver cancer, after being defensive originally.
I have also introduced a stop smoking App in my life, which reduces the amount of cigs I can smoke every day, with a clock running telling me when I can or can’t smoke. I haven’t always followed the timing (you can override your due times), but I have certainly reduced and started to think how to reduce further – eg I only have one cigarette at lunchtime now and I don’t smoke in my car on my way to work. I am slowly starting to feel like I did when I decided to stop drinking – realising that I actually don’t enjoy cigarettes.. 🙂
I think this year is going to be pretty amazing 🙂