Sunday, July 23, 2000 3:37 AM
part 1

When I left Iceland, it was summer there. When I arrived in Australia, it was winter here. During the week prior to my departure, it was like autumn in Iceland, because it was cold and wet, and like spring in Australia, because it was sunny and warm. However, when I arrived in Australia, it was like autumn here, because it was cold and wet, and it was probably like summer in Iceland. If I keep bringing bad weather with me, people are going to stop bringing me to places, and start sending me away instead... actually, that might explain why I'm being sent to the USA on Monday. And I've been in this country for less than four weeks. That can't be a good sign. :-)

Now I work for a different company. It's a large company, too. I've never worked before for a large company. It's taking me some time to get used to it. This company is so large that I'm in Australia and my boss works in the USA. I might even meet him next week.

I had been told, when I applied for this job, to expect layers of bureaucracy (no, by someone who doesn't work there), myriad of departments (perhaps I exaggerate slightly - no quite tens of thousands, but a great many), and the phalanx of managers that would accompany them, but, despite that, I have not yet come to terms with reaching the limit of a manager's responsibility and then finding that the conversation has ended without conclusion. I am beginning to realise that I have to ask to whom I must speak next, to continue along the chain of command, in order to have a problem solved. "Delegation", they call it; "annoying", I call it. Especially when it involves my accommodation.

My accommodation here was granted on a temporary basis, and arranged by the company. Normally, the company suppies the housing and covers the cost directly, however that is not available here, so I am staying in a serviced apartment (essentially a hotel room witih a kitchen). When I checked in and told the reception that I would be staying there for two months, they commented that I'd become like part of the furniture... at least, I think that they said "like". Resistance is futile. You will be upholstered.

It wasn't until after I had been there for two weeks that someone at the company realised that the company cannot pay for it directly, and that I would have to pay for it and reclaim the expense (or, as the say, "expense it". When did "expense" become a verb?). I can afford it, but at a cost per night, for the room without meals, equivalent to what I spent in three entire *weeks* in Iceland, I admit that I was slightly astonished.

When I arrived at the job on my first day, I had no computer on which to work, so I was given "the loaner". The loaner is a laptop (for those with cast iron thighs) computer that has seen better days, and probably most of the departments and quite of few of the employees. Certainly, it looks like it. I would have fixed the software on it, but oh! there wasn't any. "We'll order you some right away. What do you need?" I made a list. The overnight courier took four days to arrive and delivered one of the packages. I started working with that one, confident that the others would arrive Real Soon Now. My manager chased people for three weeks and was finally told that the other packages had been ordered... that day. By the time that they arrive, I will be in California. I did receive also a very nice laptop computer, which allowed me to return the loaner, but I don't like laptops anyway. I'd prefer a desktop computer. That, apparently, has arrived and is in the building. I haven't seen it yet.

Apart from all of that, though, it seems like a good job. My manager is a friendly guy with a sense of humour. We were casting around for a name (as it would appear on the network) for his computer. He settled on "Friday". It has inspired several jokes, all of which are derived from misunderstandings, such as:

- I need this file.
- You can get it on Friday.
- But I need it now.

I didn't say that they are funny. We should have called it Monday. That would have been funny. "I don't like Monday". No misunderstanding there.

Probably the most difficult part of my job so far was to revert to a 24 hour day, but I also live further from the office, so I go home more often now. I also have a television, and the song in Latin that sounds like the Icelandic for "he is picking his nose" is the tune on an advertisement here. I come bearing gifts, and they're not just the bad weather.

Copyright (c) 2000 Peter Ferrie
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