Before I joined the new office I already knew that I will be travelling to Singapore pretty soon. So as soon as i joined i got on to the visa process and the ticket booking etc. I was to visit Singapore for work and this was my first business trip ever. I was excited for sure but at the same time I kept rethinking if I will be able to present myself well in front of the team and if i could be one of my own team.
I was working with a large team prior to this and had come across numerous people from various professional backgrounds and various cultures but since we all worked in a typical 9-5 MNC in India, we knew we all had something in common apart from just the schedule. We usually used to talk about doing something different and crib about the same people everyday. Like they had become a huge part of our lives. When I opted for this new role, I wanted to break the monotony and move ahead. Get out of the ‘silo’. It did feel stupid at first – the thought but then it is always a gamble.
We had several calls with the team in Singapore and the others who were also flying to Singapore with us the week before we left. On every call I was welcomed whole heartedly and I did feel the warmth of it all. Finally the day arrived when we left Bengaluru for Changi. Day 1 went in resting and trying to cope up to the speed that Singapore runs with. Day 2 in Singapore was my Day 1 in the new office. All new faces and all new names.
I entered the office and there were people all around me calling out to me to welcome me to ‘the new world’. It felt so pleasant and the lazy sleepy always tired me was full of life in no time. It is amazing that how someone else’s expressions or feelings or even words affect us to such an extend that for a minute I had completely forgotten that i was in a foreign land with complete strangers and far away from my own family.
We all spoke a bunch and then proceeded with the schedule. It was so good to see how the work culture is in a different country. They are also people (obvious) and they also have the same kind of responsibilities that we do. Then why is it that in India people don’t mind taking meaningless long breaks and then end up extending their shifts to finish the daily tasks. I was in Singapore for a week and throughout the week we had a set schedule, and at the same time we had enough of team outings planned for us to get to know each other well. We were working from 8 am till about 8 pm everyday and still, no complaints from anyone. The team is so strong that its amazing to see it actually happen. They start with work and other things like politics etc comes after they are done with work and if they have any energy left to play the blame game and pin point at others. Which in the 8 days i dint see even once. *amazed*
One of the days we had a good 6 hours given to us just to work on team dynamics. If i were in my old organization or in any other office in India, the first thing that the team would have asked for is a structure to the discussion and time given to each topic cause then the teams will nominate and have only a few people talk on behalf of the entire team. During our session of course we had a structure to the discussion but the importance given to each team member was such that unless everyone is done talking or expressing their thoughts on the particular topic, the discussion will not move ahead. That boosted our confidence and we were very open about our views. I’m sure the rest of the team was used to it but this was something very new to me.
I used to always wonder when people used to tell stories about how someone said something and how it affected that individual to such an extent that they decided to change for good or bad to respond to the words. It was only during this trip that I felt something similar. I have always felt inferior to the rest of the world. To such an extent that i would always want to hide from them or be around and be invisible to them. It all meant the same to me. Now i feel good about myself that i want people to notice me.
The joy of being alone and doing everything on your own in a different country has its own charm. Some of the things, pretty basic which you might not know cause it is not followed in your country are always something new to learn. As I mentioned earlier, I am a lazy sleepy always tired soul. But during this trip i dint say no to anything that came my way – say it be walking or posing for a pic (not very me) or even eating bizarre food. It was totally amazing to push myself off the limits and make the most of it. When in my hometown, i would not leave the house without a vehicle. I would always look out for ways to not work out. I would always want something else for dinner than what was cooked… Needless to say i do sound like a spoiled brat. But this brat did change with only these 8 days.
I have had multiple international trips before. All were vacations and all were with family. But this time it was very different. I was in charge of everything. I had to do it right the first time. Say it be a silly form at the airport till travelling by myself around midnight back to the hotel after a very hectic day. I never thought I would ever get to do it. And i did! And i will always cherish this change. 🙂