Monday, September 25, 2006

I am a sponge. I am a sponge.

So, yea, I thought it would be smart to skip taking a weekend since I will be away most of this week in London. I went to the office on both Thursday and Friday to catch up. Why already have to ‘catch up’ and it is still my first week?

It is not just the acronyms and lingo that is challenging. Oh no, those you pick up after the first two days. The hard part is that in my line of work, I must deal with everyone, channels, sales, partners, marketing…etc. As a result, I have to know how everything works and the names of everybody involved; externally and internally. Nice.

Well to be honest, I am lucky. The first projects I got involved in were with a very nice guy. I admit that in the beginning I was a little unsure of him and his attitude towards women working with him in the same office, but it turns out that he is a very respectable, intelligent and nice guy. All he wanted was to make sure that I am professional and serious and not here to waste his time and I respect that. I admire his confident attitude. Actually, it seem most of the people hired by this company are smart and confident. I quite like it =)

Despite the great atmosphere, how much can a sponge hold before it starts dripping? I will have to bring in additional dry area to absorb this deluge of information successfully. Aaaahhh :S Why did they not teach us THIS STUFF in school? It would have been nice to learn more about supply chains in Saudi Arabia or the true organizational structure of our ministries instead me scrambling to drink up everything in my way.

On a side note,
I am experiencing a very new feeling. It is very strange and not directly related to work. I also cannot fully explain it. I am scared of this feeling. There is something that I want very much. Something I have never wanted before. I hope I make the right decision.

I am in Riyadh’s airport now, going to Jeddah to catch my connecting flight to London. I hope my luck with airports has taken a turn to the positive!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Week #1 - warning: some csco acronyms + lingo ahead!

Talk about get thrown right the middle of things!

Ice-breakers? Introductions? Pleasantries first?? Nu-uh. Not here. Not ever.
You know what you have to do. You know who need to talk to for it. You go introduce yourself. I am a bit concerned because a new male hire at least got an introductory email sent out. Sigh...I couldn't care less, but it gets old when I send an email intro-ing myself and asking for something then I get an email back thinking I am a Mr. and not a Ms.!

It's not like they didn't warn me. Oh they told me. They did joke about it all so sweetly. So I had some idea of what to expect.

But that was it. An idea.

First day was cool. The GM's PA turned out a very sweet girl (there are only three girls in the office, inluding myself, with one more potential PA for and RSM). She showed me around, introduced me to some ppl (most importantly the local IT support guy!) and signed me up for an access badge. An hour into the job, the Channel RSM requested a meeting with me at 5pm so I can get on board with the initiatives because he has been 'waiting' for me and we're 'late'!

LOL me? Late? Never! Well when it comes to work anyways :P I said sure! The second he turned around, I asked the PA for his name :P hehehe.

I got a new IBM laptop, which has been approved by my Master Geek Jedi. I also got a direct office line, a new cell number and my new Treo is on the way. My boss was happy because now they can REALLY 'harrass' me all the time. sweet my boss is... he has no idea who's the one who will be interrupted all the time when I have all these gadgets >:)

I got involved in pretty neat projects from day 0 (including competitive intel!!!NICE!!!). I even found emails sent to my inbox 2 weeks ago expecting follow-up. So, YEA, I've been busy.

On a more positive side. The atmosphere here is great. Very professional. Some are nicer than others. I know more of the RSMs, SSEMs and CA ppl rather than AMs and SEs. Which is fine, becuase my department doesn't deal with them too much. The HR manager, the finance controller as well as marketing dir. are awesome ppl as well. My older cisco friends from Dubai also passed by.

Oooh Oooh and I got to see the new cisco logo, which is not publicized yet (we got a strict email not to use it yet, however, if you search hard enough I am sure you will find it. Just don't involve me :P).

One more thing, one of the members of my team (the one who flew here for my orientation) looks like an EXACT copy of Richard Gere! LOL, when I told him that, he laughed and said that yea, when we actually met him, it was kinda funny!

Occaionally, I go with the PA to the food court in Faisaliya mall for lunch. However, most of the time, I just grab some fruits and keep on working. My boss calls me keen and my mother asks of they pay 'overtime'. Huh? What's overtime?? All I know is that the report has to be DONE! I got a curveball thrown at me, something that will go straight up, but after I was done, the GM said I got an A+ on my first assignment. Yay!

The bad part is that I cancelled my weekend trip to Jeddah to see my family. The reason is that I am flying to London most of next week and there was some things that had to get done as well as a conference call. I was worried about looking EVEN MORE GEEKY (or keen - however you look at it) if I show up in the office on a Thursday morning (Westerners read: Saturday). But, alas, I wasn't the only one!!

That's how it works here, you got work, you get it done!

I'm sorry if the post seems less orgnized than usual, but there is so much to say! I am also writing this on a quick break in the office! So tune in again for my business trip to London!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

"Good morning, geek!"

My first day at Cisco Systems, Inc. I woke up on time. My bag was ready, like a good schoolgirl :P In it, I had my laptop, cables, file, contract, passport-size pictures, mobile make-up kit and of course, my lucky blue pen. I also had my outfit ready – favorite blue jeans, Adidas yellow top and blue Converse shoes. ‘What?!’, I hear you say? Blue jeans? Are you sure that’s appropriate? LOL Well, ladies and gents, let me remind you that I am working at Cisco in Saudi Arabia and specifically, Riyadh. i.e. It don’ matta what I wear. I could wear my lace lingerie for all they care! The reason? It’s because the female dress code in a Saudi professional environment is a black abaya coat and black scarf on my hair. And guess what… I love it! Hehehe… Some of you who know me, know that I have a liking for designer fashion – and what more beautiful designer fashion there is than business clothes! Nevertheless, this dress code in incredibly liberating.

- I can wake up FIFTEEN minutes later than usual
- I don’t have to worry about wrinkling my Karen Millen suit.
- AND, I can focus even more on work :D. Yay!

There is, however, one disadvantage. The only reason I cared to look good because it was a mask that hid my true self. With a trendy outfit, designer shoes and attractive hair, you might, with an untrained eye, mistake me for a fashion-conscious, elegant, mature woman.
This morning, after I put on my comfy clothes and a touch of make-up, I looked at myself in the mirror. You know what I heard?

“Good morning, geek!”

Damn…It was the same morning greeting I heard every day for a year from my dear friend JB while I was finishing my MBET degree in Canada. Thanks man! JB, with his tiger-instinct to pick up signals of his own kind saw through my charade. He saw through the Gucci and the Prada. He KNEW me for what I really am. A hard-working, nerdy, measly, GAMING-FOR-LIFE! geek. LOL.

You can fool some people all the time, you can fool all the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.

Oh well, now without my security blanket, I will have to face the world naked. I picked up my DKNY (well I had to have SOMETHING!), held my head up high, walked out the door and had the BEST first day a person can ask for at his/ her first full-time job =)

Huh, what? You wanted to hear more about what actually happened there? Oh, ok. Next post then ;)

Quick Update

  • Yeah, so I spent a lovely quick vacation in Prague. It was a nice transition from Canada to Riyadh. It is a beautiful city, but not my favorite.

  • Before moving to Riyadh, I spent some time with my family in Jeddah. It suddenly felt like the whole Canada experience passed in a blink... For a couple of fleeting moments, I was able to feel that blissful, content feeling of security....

  • I left suddenly to Riyadh. The reason is that weekend flights were ALL booked :S I missed my friends' gathering at Shimozi's house =( I'm sorry girl. I promise I will be there next weekend!

  • I applied to live here in Riyadh =D not bad, eh?

  • It takes time though, so for the time being, I am staying temporarily with my father's cousin. Three words: I HATE DIAL-UP.