It’s now three weeks since I started working a New Place Ltd. I like it here. The people are fun, we’ve got a Simpson’s pinball machine and I can set the temperature for my own office instead of being at the mercy of central air conditioning. These are all Good Things.
Since I’ve been working here I’ve learned that
- People from Finland are quite reserved and perhaps don't quite "get" English humour. Making a little joke about Scotland when visiting the head office (“no, we’ve not had any snow. Except in Scotland. Which doesn’t count because no-one lives there. Ha ha ha”) means you could easily be mistaken for a Scot-hater.
- Ordering milk on room service in a hotel in Helsinki can unwittingly cost you ten euros. Even if it’s only a Holiday Inn. Yes, it really was just a glass of milk before you try and suggest otherwise.
- Having your own office is officially No Fun. It’s true that I can pop a CD on to give me a bit of background noise. And if I wanted to let slip a little parp the chances are I could get away with that too (I never, would, of course. What do you take me for?). But it can get lonely here. I have company one or two days a week but when I’m on my tod I spend a lot of time popping over to the girls in HR across the corridor on the merest hint of need just so I can talk to someone.
- Living just 2 miles away from work is cool. Although if the traffic is bad (yes, I will walk when it's nicer) there is almost no margin of error and I will be late for work. Not that anyone here would notice, me being in an office on my own and all.
- Working in an office where everyone dresses down requires a lot of new clothes and disposal of lots of old suit-based outfits. I’ve done the fun half of this so far.
- All the people I used to work with that made me all sad when I left have carried on their lives without me. I don’t know if they’ve thought about me (or cursed my name over work I’ve left behind) but I’ve thought about them. I miss them. I miss the in-jokes and the piss-taking and the fact that I knew who to go to for anything. I think the relationships forged in adversity are stronger than those built in good times. I'm pleased to say I am still in touch with a lot of them but it's not the same as sitting in amongst the team.
- There are still companies out there that mean new laptop when they say new laptop. In almost 20 years of office work I don't think I've ever, not never, had a new laptop. For someone who can get a little OCD about the cleanliness of their hands my new laptop makes me terribly excited.
- Working in a small and male dominated office means that it is possible to go to loo at 11am and the toilet to still have the blue down it from the night before. Despite this lack of women it is also possible to find a pube on the seat of the loo in my favoured cubicle approximately 53.6% of the time. It is quickly becoming not my favourite cubicle.
- If you don’t grab a banana from the fruit delivery early on they’ll all be gone. Then the pears go. Then the apples. Then all that’s left are the kiwis which no one can be bothered to peel.
But the most important thing I've learned? I know that I've learned almost nothing. My job description tells me everything about what my job encompasses but nothing about what I have to do. I'm still working out what every day should hold and where the boundaries lie between me and my assistant. There's a long road ahead. Luckily I don't mind travelling without a map.