How far would you go for your career? This was something that was really weighing on my mind when we were presented with this opportunity to go. For us, it was just less than 1,600 miles to make the move that after considering the pros and cons, made the most sense for us financially and as a stepping stone for future growth. For every hesitation we had, we kept circling back to the point that this is going to help us in the long run and we were doing it as a foundation step, not as the end of the road.
As far as I am from home, the office is pretty much the same. There are quite a few Southerners here, and I’ve met people from Toronto, Winnipeg, even Russia...and a number of other cities. It’s nice to know that we’re all in the same boat and can empathize with each other. My office is the head office for our company, and has probably 40 people here. We have various locations across the territory and the company itself is very similar in size to my previous employer. Other departments do a lot of international recruitment, so it’s not uncommon to have people from all over the world in one place. It’s like our own mini UN!
One of the things I’m not quite used to is the strict attention paid to time here. There are breaks at 10 and 3, and most people will get up from their desks and take an actual break. Lunch is from 12-1 and the building pretty much clears out and everyone goes home. The parking lot is completely empty at exactly noon! Same thing happens at 5 – the parking lot clears out and everyone is gone. I’m not used to this!! It’s difficult too, because I get access to the department vehicle and we get/give rides to people who live close to us, and if we’re not there at exactly 12 or 5, people get antsy. Here I am with our ridiculously large Expedition.
Those who know me, should realise that this is throwing me into a tizzy because I’m the girl that will finally remember to look at the clock at the end of the day, and it’s 6 or 7pm. Not here! Also, the IT department didn’t have any laptops handy so I’ve been working on a desktop – so I can’t even go home and get some work done. It’s very, very confusing to my psyche.
It’s a strange phenomenon to be home by just after 5 every night. I’ve been leaving work, dropping off two co-workers and I’m in the door before 5:10. Usually I start cooking right away and we are eating somewhere between 5:30 and 6…and then the rest of the night is free. I don’t think if I was in Ontario, I’d have even left work by that time, and then I’d have to deal with traffic, and then dinner would sometimes be as late as 8!
The environment here is very laid back and casual – there is no dress code that I can see, and people come in whatever they please. I’ve been trying to keep it semi-casual by wearing jeans every day but a nicer top. The terrain here is so you can’t really wear heels, but most ladies wear their outdoor shoes and then change into cute ballet flats or sandals (when it was warmer) once they get in. There are days though, that I’m sure I’ll appreciate being able to throw on some yoga pants and a hoodie and rushing out the door (sorry, Ivy – I know those don’t meet your high standards. Hehe!) The pace seems more casual than I’m used to as well; you likely won’t get your emails answered at the same pace as an office in the GTA (speaking of which, there are a million emails every day flying back and forth. And I thought my last company was email-centric; nothing on this one!), or some questions may go unanswered for a bit, so you have to work around that. No big deal, just have to find a different approach!
I can’t speak for other departments, but the work in mine is plentiful. This is probably the most progressive and forward-thinking department that I’ve had the pleasure to work with. It’s super busy for a lean staff, and as of my first day here I’ve been thrown a series of big mandates. So, although it’s laid back, there is a degree of trust that you get your stuff done. I’ve also been really lucky that everyone is incredibly welcoming and helpful. I’m learning a lot already and I’m excited for the chance to show them what I’ve got!
People kept asking me if I was ready for the North, but maybe the question should have been if the North was ready for me? ;)