Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Record breaker

I have broken a personal record. I have not intentionally broken this record. I have not set out with the sole purpose of accomplishing something I have never accomplished before. It has not been a personal mission. I did not wake up one morning and decide to do it.
It just happened.
Last week I met a vast amount of people. I can safely say that I have never, in my entire life, met as many people as I met last week.
I broke a personal record!
I guess working in a new environment meant it was inevitable that new people would enter my life.
I’ve lost count how many times, in the past week, I have been introduced to a stranger.
I’ve shaken hands.
I’ve smiled.
I’ve said “Hello,” politely.
I've listened to strangers' names and occupations.
I've made small talk.
I've had long, intense, conversations.
I've laughed and asked questions.
I've forgotten strangers' names.
They’re an interesting bunch in my new office. There’s a designer who is also an extra on film sets, and he's appeared in films such as Gladiator and First Knight. There is an editor who has published books and appeared on television chat shows. There are scarily intelligent researchers who discuss formulas in the way I would discuss what I ate for dinner last night. There are tall people, small people, quiet people, loud people. At lunchtime I sit with a girl whose sister’s best friend is a reality television star, a star who is tragically dieing of cancer and her face constantly features in the national newspapers. I also sit with a guy who insists on relating a tennis fact every lunchtime, and fantasising about opening a restaurant selling purely boiled eggs, whilst dressed as an emu.
I’ve participated in meetings with suppliers and managers and other valuable members of the company. I’ve taken the grand tour around the warehouse and met the warehouse staff. I’ve had an induction day with other new colleagues, and the HR manager, and had team bonding sessions (I’m going to hobby craft Friday lunchtime with one of the girls I bonded with). I have met men from Denmark and women from Cambridge. I have met the project team, the branding manager, and I have attended a data projection course and met yet more people.
And then guess what happened next? One night, on my journey home from the office, I joined my friend for champagne at a bar in the city. It was her birthday and she was out celebrating with her colleagues. Yes folks, it was introduction time again!
I shook hands.
I smiled.
I said “Hello,” politely.
I listened to strangers' names and occupations.
I made small talk.
I had long, intense, conversations.
I laughed and asked questions.
I forgot strangers' names.
I have now met most of my friend's colleagues too.
I am a record breaker.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Hello, my name is Nikki and it's my first day

Today I was the new girl. Being the new girl can be a very daunting prospect.
The night before my first day as the new girl, with my new black, shiny shoes (yep, I thought the occasion should stretch to new foot wear), I hardly slept a wink. I worried about the most ridiculous things.
Would I get lost on my way to my desk?
Would I forget everyone's name?
Would I have enough clean, smart clothes for one week?
Would I like my new job?
Would everyone like me?
My stomach was tied in knots.
I was anxious.
I was apprehensive.
I had butterflies the size of mountains.
I was nervous.
I was soon to start my new job!
Finally, exhausted from worrying and thinking, I fell asleep.
I awoke to the unfamiliar sound of my alarm clock. It's been a while since I heard the police sirens (I think my alarm clock sounds like a police raid, but police sirens and getting out of bed are both unpleasant situations, so maybe that's the similarity). I reluctantly left my bed, washed, dressed smartly, ate weetabix, and began my journey to my new job.
I allowed plenty of time for my new journey to my new office, for the first day as the new girl. It was just as well because the circle line had severe delays and I would have been very late otherwise. I gave myself a stern pep talk, reminded myself of my publishing experience and enthusiasm, and read supportive texts from friends. Gradually I began to feel less nervous.
I arrived at my new building and headed straight to the reception area and I said, "Hello, my name is Nikki and it's my first day."
And that's how it all began, dear readers.
Next, the HR manager collected me from reception and introduced me to her department. I was then shown to my new desk with my new computer and my new work colleagues.
I barely had time to set up my e-mail and voice mail before I was called into my first meeting with a new fulfillment company. Six of us sat in one of the many meeting rooms, with coffee and chocolate biscuits, and we introduced ourselves to the sales representative from the fulfillment company. Again I heard myself saying, "Hello, my name is Nikki and it's my first day."
I was getting use to being the new girl!
After discussing marketing tools and on-line reports, etc, etc, my new boss and I grabbed a sandwich in the free canteen (that's right, free canteen, handy hey) and we attended the second meeting of the day. This time the meeting was with a new software company and we watched a presentation and asked questions. This was after I explained, again, I was the new girl and it was my first day.
After the second meeting I confirmed three other meetings for this week, five other meetings in the next few weeks, and an induction day for next week.
My first day was over! And it wasn't so bad after all. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. Everyone seems very friendly, the offices are nice, and I'm looking forward to my new duties on my new magazines.

Thank you so much for my congratulation messages. I promise to blog hop tomorrow but I have to go to bed now.
It's tiring being the new girl.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

The Cheshire Cat

If you could see me now, dear readers, you could be forgiven for thinking I resembled a Cheshire Cat. The Cheshire Cat who starred in Alice In Wonderland. The cat with the stupidly large smile. That's me folks!
I haven't bizarrely turned into a cat over night, or jumped into the television screen and joined Disney land, but I do have a smile on my face which would make the Cheshire Cat green with envy.
I have been smiling this gigantic smile since I received a certain telephone call. I was sitting on the train at the time, and after receiving my news I placed my mobile in my bag and smiled at the commuters.
They didn't smile back. What did I expect? There is a distinct lack of happiness on trains. Passengers can look thoroughly miserable, let alone crack a smile. I received blank expressions. But it was fine, I just carried on smiling regardless.
I disembarked the train at my stop and smiled at the crowd on the platform, the impatient crowd who were waiting to board the train. Again I did not receive any return smiles, I was eyed with great suspicion for being so happy. Never mind.
I whistled to myself and exited the train station, still smiling. I entered the nearest shop and bought myself a magazine, I bought my mother the biggest bar of chocolate I could find, and I bought my father a bottle of red wine. I made polite conversation with the sales assistant, still smiling, and I actually received a ghost of a smile back.
I walked along the street, smiling at young children, adults and dogs. I grinned at the flowers, the trees and the blue sky above. To the passing stranger I may have looked a tad mad, they may have thought I was away with the fairies, or the lights were on but nobody was home. I didn't care if I looked slightly unbalanced in the sanity stakes. I was happy. I was smiling.
And do you know why I was happy? Have you worked out the reason behind the smile?
I have a job! Not the job I applied for at the trendy publishers with the unfriendly people, it's better than that. I attended another interview on Wednesday, I was asked back for a second interview on Friday, and while I was travelling home on the train I was offered the job! That is why I resemble the Cheshire Cat in Alice In Wonderland. That is why I am smiling.
9th March is my starting date. It's an engineering publishing company and I shall be a production controller for various technical magazines. And I'm pretty happy about it. I shall be back in the working world. With a regular pay packet and responsibilities. I'm looking forward to meeting new people and facing new challenges.
I have a new job. And a rather large smile on my face.