22 Nov 2007

leaving the office

It is chronologically the other way round, but I would like to talk a bit about when I left the last office.

Every time when someone left the last office, the bosses organised an office drink on the person’s last day. Just after I joined the practice an year ago, I have experienced this custom as a woman was leaving the office and going back to Australia. I was actually amazed as the ceremony was impressive and the people in the office were so friendly. She was given nice presents and cards from both the bosses and colleagues, then she gave us a speech with tears in her eyes.

I remember at that time I just couldn’t imagine this would happen to me some day. Particularly, it was very difficult to imagine I would make a speech in English in front of twenty professional architects! Yes, I wasn’t confident with my English at all. Mind you, I’m not saying I am now totally confident, though.

However, as a result, the time has come so soon. When I decided to leave, I was still nervous about the ceremony, but luckily, there was another person leaving on the same day. Also, I was there only for a year, so it wasn’t that emotional thing. I could somehow make a speech.

I was a bit frustrated with my speech. I’ve realised I still have to practice English very hard. But now it seems it wasn’t too bad. Maybe I should be confident about it a little bit.

I’ve got fantastic presents and cards from the bosses and from my colleagues. The boss gave me very nice words. She appreciated my work very much and it seemed to be quite an honest feeling. It was such a wonderful experience, I am really happy about it.

Oh, I just forgot to say, I’ve worked just as normal until just an hour before the end!!

18 Nov 2007

a new start

I had a good start with my new job!

I started working there from last Monday straightaway after I left the last office on Friday the week before. At the last office I worked as normal almost until the end and at the new office I started working as normal almost from the beginning. It was almost like I just changed the place of work but not the work itself. I rather enjoyed my ability to adapt an immediate change of environment.

I tell you what, I didn’t feel nervous at all! It was so very different from the time I joined the last practice. It is true that I was quite familiar with the office as I used to go there for a couple of weeks last summer for helping my friend NY’s own work, who was at that time freelancing there. But I believe that is almost because of my progress. In fact, there are only a few people left since I was there.

I was also lucky to start with the project NY is working on. This must be the reason why I didn’t realise I’ve changed my work.

The first week actually seemed relatively long. I didn’t think I was feeling any stress from moving, but now it seems actually I was. This weekend, I’ve been feeling very tired! Anyway, I’m happy about the fact that I could work as normal at two different places without any break and I had a good start!

7 Nov 2007

samurai spirit

Only two days left at my current office! But, I’ve found myself still working just as normal.

I’ve remembered about when I left the company in Tokyo in March 2005, for which I worked for thirteen years. I’ve actually quit the job by a golden handshake. There were about ten people who retired with that offer. I remember that I was disappointed with the fact that most of them took holidays for two weeks or so at the end of their employment.

In principle you have the right to do it, but I thought it was too practical. I thought they should’ve thought about why the company had to reduce the employees – of course it was because of the company’s seriously bad economy. If you felt like thanking the company or your colleagues for your experience even for a bit, wouldn’t you feel like contributing to them to some extent? How much did you get paid for extra?

For a cost saving purpose, the office has in fact moved to a new place just before we quit. However, most of the leaving persons didn’t even help it. I just couldn’t believe it.

In the UK, when you quit a job, the condition is a bit different. You will normally get paid for the rest of your holidays, so you don’t really need to think about taking holidays at the end of your employment. However, some people seem to lose their motivation towards the end. Even so, I’m still trying to deliver the same quality of work until the very last minute, thought I think it’s just normal.

This kind of attitude may be an old Japanese way of thinking. But the thing is, if a Japanese behaves just as she or he is, most of the European people won’t blame it or make fun of it but they would rather appreciate it. You just need to try to speak more but don’t have to pretend as you were a European. This might be one of the most important things I’ve learnt in London so far.

I am the only Japanese in the office, so how everyone thinks about Japanese is really depending on my attitude. So, I will just continue as normal until this Friday 6 pm!