Despite still being under the influence of jet-lagged stupor, on July 5th it was time for work in a new country, new neighborhood, and maybe new mindset. My last day at my full-time job was June 8th; my part-time job’s end date was June 16th, so to many it seemed like a long vacation before returning to the world of work. That wasn’t the case.
Moving is not for the faint of heart & spirit. Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t relax, party, & dance in flowery pastures. Those last weeks before my departure were busy, nerve-wracking, and exhausting. There were goods that needed shipping, accounts to close, friendships in limbo, and a car sale….. and that was only the beginning. So despite the weeks that I was “off”, my feelings about returning to work were of excitement & exhaustion. I was, after all, still trying to catch up on sleep and get adjusted to the kinda big time difference.
Soon after my arrival, my friend helped me with learning different bus/train/tube routes. It was a bit confusing, but the fact that I’m from one of the biggest cities in the world gave me an edge over my other foreign colleagues, who don’t have the “privilege” of being from a large metropolitan area. Anyway, I found my way to the new job’s headquarters for human resources (HR) induction, where I’d learn about benefits, dress codes, and pay stubs oh my. Although it was boring, it was nice to learn that workers seem a little more valued here than they are back home. As an example, compared to home, my vacation leave at least doubled and began immediately. Paid sick leave began 1 month after my arrival and although it wasn’t much, there are plenty of Boxing Days to supplement that. Universal health coverage began for me immediately and prescriptions are at a fixed price; for those who have health insurance back home, it doesn’t kick in for an average of 3-6 months and the consumer is responsible for co-payments within the limits of different insurance providers. Those were just a few of the benefits that mattered to me the most.
Afterwards, I went to one of the major banks to sort out my account. (My experiences with the banks will come in another blog entry. Yes, it’s that serious.) My new supervisor & co-workers were waiting for me at what would be my new office building, so I caught the bus and headed there.
I took the correct bus, yet the bus driver told me that I was going the wrong way. As a result, I got off the bus earlier than I should have. I walked for a while (in what I realized was the correct direction) and came across a BP gas station, where I asked the attendants to point me in the correct direction. They claimed to not know the way to the neighborhood (liars), so I walked out while cursing under my breath. I kept walking and saw a police officer who helped me, and soon enough I was at the new job.
I dressed business casual in case there was a strict dress code since the organization is quite big and, therefore, dress codes differ from office to office & department to department. I went to the reception area, where my new supervisor met me and took me upstairs to the office. It delighted me to see, upon entering the office, that I could dress as casual as I liked (within reason of course). As a reformed tomboy-turned-lady (which I’ll address to a certain extent in a future entry), it was nice to know that I had a choice in what to wear. With the work that I do, sometimes it’s in my best interest to dress in a more relaxed manner.
After being introduced to my team, the supervisor met with me to give me a basic rundown of what to expect. (My now-former supervisor is Korean-American, which was nice because she understood the challenges with my move since she’s a fellow expatriate.) Because of my late arrival due to the HR induction, she could only cover but so much with me that day since I had another induction for the data entry system I’d be using for the job. You’ll be amused to know that I was so under jet-lag‘s influence that I nodded off during the data entry system induction. The IT person conducting it wasn’t boring, so to speak; I was just still exhausted. :-| I knew I’d get further (day-long) training on the system anyway so my sleepiness didn’t waste the day.
As an aside, even though it concerned me how I’d get along with new co-workers/colleagues, I was slowly put at ease. Two of my new co-workers on my new team were on vacation, so I didn’t meet them until the following week; however, the team told me good things about them, including the fact that one in particular was a prankster. (The team were correct.) Overall, I figured that things would go well with the new team.
The data entry system induction finished and that ended my day. (NOTE: While I can’t remember every single day of work since moving here, I’ll continue to discuss work in a date-progressive, subject-centered fashion a bit – different topics related to my work, etc.)
I headed toward my friend’s house (I’ll refer to her as N from now on) and I can’t remember everything, but I probably went to the internet cafe near her house to check e-mail. I probably went back to the house afterwards, told her about the 1st day of work, and turned into Rip Van Winkle. :-| Tomorrow would be a new day.