I started my British career the beginning of October. I was waiting at 10 am and I didn’t want to be on late to give the wrong introduction. Thus, I woke up at 8 am to get ready and be earlier at the bus stop. Of course, things went wrong. I didn’t miss the bus, it’s the bus itself which missed me when I was quietly sitting at the stop , it passed me without noticing me or even rowing down.
I was forced to wait the next one 10 minutes later, but I still wasn’t worried about the time. However this was without realizing that the children were on their way to school (Yes, children go to school in England) and the old people. It means that the bus stopped almost 5 minutes at each stop. I mentioned the pensioners because they spend 30 years to get in and 30 years more to give coins if they haven’t a ticket. And I haven’t mentioned the traffic, now yes!
Being aware of the value of punctuality for the British “Just on time or even a bit before”, I was afraid to have the traditional 10 French minutes late. Right away off the bus I ran in order to finally arrive out of breath 5 minutes late, which isn’t French or British either.
I’ve been welcomed by the Prime Minister David Cameron, or his double at least who introduced me to his staff and interns. The small company has several activities in the accountancy and marketing fields. The office is divided in three parts: the main room with eight desks and computers, the Boss’s office and a little kitchen. Two of the three trainee came from French Business schools while the last one, German, was in her last university’s year. You will probably tell me that working with two other French people in UK isn’t good, but as we are speaking in English, this brings you precious allies in these moist lands.
One of the interns was in charge to train me. So, I took my notebook and listened well, ready to act. My first tasks consisted to register some of the company’s websites on search engines and update other sites like a hotel booking or a concert’s tickets websites. I’ve also had fun writing tweet for several of their activities, one of my favourite is: “The customer is king, believe us! The Queen has still her head here!”
The atmosphere here is relaxed, we can dress casual. Nevertheless my advice to you is to not follow the English fashion because it is a workplace (these people have a dress taste quite…unique). We are working with the radio on, which is a good thing, except when you are listening every day the same songs with one in particular where the DJ love to whistle at the end. I wonder sometimes if the DJ’s are aware about the quality of their show.
Other cultural things to notice, unlike in France the lunch time here is very short, about 30 minutes. Moreover it is normal here to eat at the desk, which pleases a lot my keyboard. The tea is the official and multifunction drinks, and I don’t talk about this strange black tea that French people drinks, no I’m speaking about WHITE TEA. We use it to welcome people, quench our thirst, to wake up, to warm us and to be entirely part of the team. In France we have the following saying or song “He/She belong to our group; he/she has drunk his/her glass as everyone (approximate translation)”.
Caffee is sometimes tolerated, but with moderation. And one last thing! The boss does the dishes!