Thursday, April 2, 2009

What I've learned in 4 days of NZ's corporate world

I'm getting ready to wrap up my first week as interim intranet news editor in the Corporate Relations Group for Telecom, an NZ telecommunications company with 8,000 employees. Here are a few of the cultural differences I've picked up so far.
  • Overall, things seem very relaxed, just as Jake told me they would be. Relationships and chit chat are super important. People are friendly. 
  • Bad language is no big deal. Someone in the office received a phone call the other day and let out a flurry of f-bombs. No one batted an eye. I probably hear 50 a day.
  • Vacation time is highly valued. 
  • It's not uncommon for people to take vacation time in huge chunks. We know three couples who are getting ready for six-week stints. It's not a big deal to hop over to Chicago or LA from KC. But NZ is pretty far from everywhere, so you better block out some time on your calendar.
  • Programme, harbour, colour, metre, amongst, as well as other oddities including words such as inbuilt and no period after Mr. For an editor, this is like learning a new language.
  • People seem to work very closely with folks in various cities. Half of our office is in Auckland, and I've already been involved in several conference calls and a video conference.
  • People don't go out to eat for lunch that often -- maybe once or twice a week -- but when they do, they're drinking alcohol. Sweet!
  • Casual Fridays must be an international tradition. I can wear jeans. Jake gets a "no tie" Friday, but is still in a suit. 
  • Personal usage Internet policy states: ...Now some personal use of the internet for tasks like getting your banking done and paying your bills on time is quite ok. (No kidding??) However, downloading music, streaming video and file sharing is not ok...
So far the gig is pretty good. I'm on the ninth floor of the building, and our office looks out over the harbour. My desk doesn't face the window, but I have an even better view. Just above my monitor, I can see the tv on the far wall, and it's usually playing a cricket match. Sweet.


Corey said...

Sounds like a cool gig. Beer at lunch...nice.

Joggeli said...

That is funny ... you must take a photo of your workplace. With one car ... do you car-pool w/ Jake now?

Kevin Keith said...

That is hilarious! My bags are packed LOL. I get my wedding albums done in NZ (Queensberry) and they are all so nice and fun to talk to when I call them on the phone. I'm going to ask them if they are drinking beer next time I call LOL!

Adean said...

It sounds like you have it made Jamie. What a unique working experience.