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Day 1

AmadeusAlready I had my first day at the new job.  Of course I got minimal sleep the night before anxious for the day to start.  When I arrived first thing, the front desk didn’t have me listed in their book as a newcomer.  So there was a bit anxiety with the front desk reception in trying to locate my file and who I should be seeing.  Then came along a Texan woman by the name of Dinah also requesting to report as a new hire.  She was running into the same experience.  Finally the two of us  sat down in the lobby patiently waiting for a HR representative to come out.  When the representative did arrive Dinah and I soon realized we were going to work in the same department and become colleagues.  The fact that I was not going to be the only new kid on the block was definitely comforting.  She had managed the training department at a law firm in Austin and moved to France with her husband and daughter.   Her husband is half French and she was also attracted to the flexibility and number of days off within the French system.

First the HR staff briefed us on all the routine stuff of benefits, pay and vacation time.  Of course we signed our life away to several documents in either English or French.  Afterwards we were then greeted by the Educational Systems & Services team who provided coffee and pastries.  Dinah and I were introduced to the whole team which I believe adds up to 36 team members.  Then Deon, a South African and also my manager, debriefed both of us on the re-structure of the department.  There was clear excitement of having two new Americans join the team at this crucial moment as we will help with this change management.

Then we had some time with the Executive Director, Cecile also an American.  Again the excitement was clairvoyant.  Tomorrow is going to be a huge all day retreat off-site announcing the re-structuring and our new name, Global Learning Services.  We will have an actual case study of a client and role play exactly what are everyone’s roles and responsibilities.  Plus this activity will give me a chance to really get to know all my teammates with our team building activities.  I also learned I missed my opportunity to go on strike.  Amadeus recently went public and some employees are not happy with the results of the transition and did two walk-outs already.

After a group lunch at the cafeteria (and honestly the meat was tough and I gave up trying to eat it), the afternoon was a little more low-key as Dinah and I read up on all the paperwork that was given us.  One beautiful thing is that this company completely understands the fact that I am going through a transition.  We are already entitled to two days off for the exclusive reason of finding an apartment and dealing with moving related issues.  Everyone is very helpful and level-headed about the on-boarding process.  Already I am taking Thursday off to begin to explore possibilities for a living space.  Sadly I was told time is against me because a lot of apartments are getting snatched up quickly due to the impending tourist season.

As far where I want to live, I would like to try for the greater Nice area.  (Remember, my job is actually in another town, Sophia-Antipolis, just down the highway.)  Yet I am realizing that I won’t probably get my money’s worth and I will have to deal with major traffic getting to and from work.  This whole habit of commuting in a car with traffic will probably be one of the biggest adjustments for me.  So I may have to be more open-minded to smaller towns like Antibes or Grasse.

Being surrounded by other expats at work totally helps in navigating the system of southern France.  I wanted to get a few essential appliances like an electric toothbrush and iron.  There is the huge Carrefour (something like a Target in the States) down the road but was warned that it is the most expensive Carrefour in France.   Clearly there is an assumption that by living here, you have money.   In spite of the price tags, the quality of the items isn’t the best.  So I got word to go further down the street to a Darty (something like a Best Buy).  There I was able to find my items and practice my French in retrieving them.  Wasn’t crazy about the pricing but hopefully I bought items that will last me.

Today, I was happy.

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Categories: Everyday Life
  1. Ann Mokris
    1 June 2010 at 12:47 am

    ok – so how do I sign up for this blog??

  2. Alexis T
    2 June 2010 at 8:02 am

    You landed right after the International Film Festival of Cannes and the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco and before the tourist season…
    Answer to a previous question: it won’t be difficult to find a doctor in the area. This region of France has the most medical doctors per capita. Because of the great year round sunny / mild climate, many people want to retire on the French Riviera (not just for the Winter like the “Snow Birds” in Florida). You add up the tourists for the summer and you get equation of a high cost of living. Try to stay away from what looks like tourist traps. Ask the locals, they certainly know where to shop at reasonable price.

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