Thursday, January 5, 2012

First Days at Work

I started work this week! I guess it had to happen eventually. Boy have I enjoyed the last 6 weeks of "working" and vacationing. :)

Day 1
Prior to Tuesday, I thought my biggest nightmare was walking into a room full of strangers already engaged in various conversations and having to insert myself into the group. Turns out, my biggest nightmare is walking into a room full of strangers already engaged in various conversations in German and having to insert myself into the group. Just a smidge intimidating....

Of course, it didn't help that when I checked in, they didn't have a nametag for me so I was already concerned about not being in the right place. It all worked out in the end. C'est la vie

Anyhow, after sucking it up and finding some poor new hire to torture with my horrid small talk skills, we started with our day of classes. Day 1 was mostly spent on appropriately brain washing the new recruits. I was quite happy to find out that English is the corporate language so all of my training was conducted in English.

Sidenote: The people here speak phenomenal English. I only hope to one day be able to speak German so well. They do have problems with some of our phrases such as "brain washing" which they'll make rather literal and instead say something like "Once we're done washing your brain here, you'll go on to...". They also commonly add an "s" to words that are already plural so I'm getting a lot of informations and many people have childrens.

The course I found to be of the most interest was the business etiquette course during which we discussed appropriate business attire. As it was presented to us, in Switzerland, Business Professional means "wear suit", Business Casual means "wear coat/jacket" and something called Smart Casual means "98% of Melanie's wardrobe". Looks like I have a shopping trip in my future! Not sure if I'm happy or sad about that. :)

Day 2 - Picture Day (Weather on walk to work - Rainy & Windy)
ahhhh Day 2 - the arrival of my computer
I determined very quickly that I had a couple of problems:
#1 - The keyboard is German. My Z and my Y are switched and ALL of my symbols have been relocated. I don't mind so much the Z having relocated itself but I had no idea how much I used the Y until yesterday. Also the exclamation and question marks! Needless to say, I have already sent more than a few misspelled chat messages and emails.
#2 - When I was put into the system, both my middle & last names were included as my last name so my assigned e-mail address is: Approximately 5 minutes after arriving to work this morning, I was on the phone with PwC Help getting that changed.

Day 3
As mentioned above, priority #1 - change e-mail!
I then met with my global mobility consultant who was a HUGE help! We went through an arrival checklist to make sure I had taken care of or was planning to take care of all the necessary administrative things.
I also got a chance to meet with my boss who had plenty(!) of ideas on work for me to do and then I had a delicious lunch with my buddy and my new admin assistant.
I do continue to be frustrated at not being able to speak German. Late this afternoon, we had quite the storm. Upon one particularly loud burst of thunder, everyone stood up to check it out and began excitedly discussing German....sigh. Time for me to get serious about my audio lessons (which were borrowed/stolen from Roland - thanks Roland!)!
All in All - Two thumbs up for Day 3!

Tomorrow I am going to work the first half of the day and then our relocation agent is going to take us to get properly registered, get a bank account, take us on an awareness tour and begin to show us apartments!

The weather here has been surprisingly mild. Or at least mild when compared to our expectations. We've been mostly hanging out in the 2°C to 8°C range. We've had more than our desired amount of rain and virtually no snow. Also, plenty of wind. We're currently under an alert for "Disruption due to wind - Strong gale (lowlands), gusts of 90km/h". I'll leave the conversions to you!


  1. I'm not sure what I thought the predominant language was in Switzerland, but I had no idea that it was German. I'm already learning new things by living vicariously through your blog!

  2. You are toooo funny. I loved your update, and my favorite was the keyboard. Kind of like the keyboards in Paris.....those things are just mean. So glad you updated. Good luck with the apt.