Monday, August 11, 2008

Blah, blah, blah

I survived the first week at work -- actually it was better than that as I had a pretty good time. Everyone in the office seems tremendously friendly so far, and it seems like the work I'll be doing will be interesting and developmental. Given some relaxed legal constraints here in Oz, we can engage in more types of assessment activities. In the near future I hope to help design and facilitate role plays and assessment centres and to provide written and one-on-one individual assessment feedback, as well as any number of one-off projects of all types. The job market for skilled labor here is such that companies really have to invest in development of their employees, which means lots of interesting work. In the US, my company worked almost exclusively in personnel selection because companies have the luxury of churning and burning employees. I'm also doing a fair amount of sales support while the consulting schedule it a bit light. Some of my coworkers even went out for drinks with Eric and I on Friday night. Given that Eric had been running errands and applying for jobs all week, with only me to talk to at night, it was a pleasant diversion. I'm still worried about living up to this office's expectations and adding value to the team, but I haven't crashed and burned yet. On a funny note, I was asked to proofread some reports today, but I wasn't really able to tell what was a grammatical error and what was just a difference in the way English is spoken here from what I'm used to. I'm still getting used to calling my cell phone a mobile and asking people to call me on a number rather than at a number.

Eric and I went to the Maritime Museum this weekend. We spent so long walking around the boats that we only had time to go through the traveling exhibits and never even made it into the main part of the museum. Fortunately, the museum is free, so we can return as many times as it takes to see the whole place. We've also been dorking out by watching educational videos about Australia that we check out from the library. Key lesson: marsupials are cute.

People here a flipping nuts about the Olympics. I think every person in my office watched the opening ceremony on Friday night. I'm not sure if that's because they hosted the Olympics fairly recently or what. And it's funny how pro-Australian the commentators are. I'm still trying to get used to the regular newscasters stating their opinions as fact.

There definitely seems to be some anti-American sentiment afoot. No one has said anything to my face, but I've caught snippets of conversations, and the way people imitate American accents is in no way flattering. Since the murder of the American in Beijing, the Australian Olympic team has been ordered to wear their uniforms at all times to let people know they aren't American.

I watched my first Australian football match on Saturday morning tv. It was awesome! I've never watched a sporting event and that I immediately looked up on Wikipedia afterward. It's kind of fun trying to figure out the rules of a game just by watching it. The game is almost constantly in action. The field is oblong, and they use a rugby ball. While they mostly kick it, they also bump it out of their hands like a volleyball. At each end of the field, there are two sets of poles. If the team kicks it between the narrower set of poles, they earn six points. If they kick it between the the wider set of poles, they earn one point. And they don't wear any pads, although they all seem to have several inches of muscle. The Sydney team is called the Swans, so I may have to find someone else to cheer for before the Premiership in a few weeks.

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