bookzombie: (chris)
[personal profile] bookzombie
So I've just finished the first week at Oxfam and on the whole it went fairly well, I think.

It's a small team: me, my manager (Jason) and two others (John and Bob). I'm taking over three 'in progress' projects, so I spent a big chunk of the week reading documentation to catch up with where they are. In some ways it was a very weird week: for various reasons I actually spent a big chunk of the time by myself - which luckily I don't mind too much, though it wasn't what I was expecting!

The upside of the fairly quiet week was that I didn't get inundated with introductions. Jason is working with his manager (Nick) on a list of people to get to meet individually, but I really only got introduced to a small handful this week. About 4 people in the first couple of days did stop by my desk to introduce themselves, which was nice.

In some ways it was unfortunate that it was Bob I spent the most time with as he was the person most likely to do the 'welcome to Oxfam, here's all the things that are going to suck' remarks. I mentioned this to Nick when we met at the end of the week and he wasn't surprised: apparently Bob has form for this sort of thing. Apparently he upset a new starter at one time by telling her that her predecessor hated the job and quit after a few months. Oh well, there was bound to be someone who's awkward...

I've met two of the three project managers - the other was on holiday last week - and had good conversations with both. What's good is two of the three projects are in areas I've worked before and the third is related to one of the others. I've also already been warned about the one person who is going to be awkward, so forewarned is forearmed!

I had a catch-up with Nick at the end of the week and he professed himself happy with how things had gone. I was also very pleased with myself for reviewing one of Bob's documents that was going out to a supplier and spotting a couple of mistakes that I then fixed!

So what do I think about Oxfam as a company after a week? Well, it's not a bells-and-whistles company that's for sure: everything is fairly basic. For example they don't give out mobile phones to employees unless they can prove that they really need it and while there are several kitchens on each floor, they don't supply tea, coffee or milk. I completely understand why: they have to justify to their donors how they spend their money.

On the other hand, they do try to live up to their values and they are very strong on the 'work/life balance' thing. They are especially good about working hours: you are expected to leave after you've finished your hours. My manager works the 8am - 4pm shift (we have core hours of 10-4, but it's up to you how you schedule the rest of your hours) and, sure enough, he is out of the office by 4:15 - and his manager is the same (they both have their work calendars blocked out after 4pm.) You are also encouraged to work from home one day a week; I'll settle on a day once I've got my first couple of weeks out of the way, but Tuesday is looking good (especially with rehearsals.) Oh yes, and I've had no problem with booking some holiday!

So, yeah, I'm fairly happy with the start. We'll see how things go next week!
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April 2017


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