5 Great Things about Working in London (according to Dave)

On Friday, we be will high above the Atlantic, flying on a one-way ticket back to the U.S. of A. After 3 years of working and living in London, it is time to move on.

So last week, as International Women's Day was coming to a close, what I like to call Dave Week was just getting started. For those of you who know Dave in real life, you know that he's not a guy who craves the spotlight. However, he has loooooooooved London, and London has loved him back. And dare I say it: "London Dave" may not mind the spotlight afterall. For over a week he's been having at least 2 celebrations a day with friends and colleagues, now that he must bid farewell to the city that he loves so dearly.

London Dave, version A: holding court, in a custom-made suit

London Dave, version A: holding court, in a custom-made suit

Because he's had such a fantastic experience in the UK, I did something that you easily forget to do when you're married to someone: I sat down, looked into his eyes, and had a conversation :) 

The outcome was 5 Great Things about Working in London, according to London Dave:

1. Having a Notice Period. If you're a local UK employee, you're likely to have a 3 or 6 month "notice period" in your contract. This means: if you resign, you're still obligated to your company for this amount of time; also known as garden leave. If you're in a market-facing competitive position (think: sales, management, etc.), your company will probably "send you to the garden," meaning: a 3-6 month paid vacation(!) to keep you away from clients and sensitive info for awhile. If you're in an internal role, you'll work your notice period, like Dave did. He liked this because it meant (a) the company could find the right replacement in lieu of a just-fill-the-seat replacement. And (b) he was able to do a comprehensive on-boarding and hand-off, creating a successful outcome for everyone.

Because the entire UK job market works this way, it works. The British are baffled by Americans' 2 week notice standard.

London Dave, version B: showing off his ethnic & hipster selves, in his Chicken Shops of London tee

London Dave, version B: showing off his ethnic & hipster selves, in his Chicken Shops of London tee

2. The Multiculturalism in Our Teams. Off the cuff, he named people he worked with from the UK, US, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Australia. He argues that it's better to be exposed to more people who have different experiences from you. To him, it just makes sense, especially if you're a multi-national company; you must look and think like the variety of customers you serve. I raised him right :)  

Both our work and personal experiences in London have made us want to continue living in immigration-friendly places in the future. Also, he fears that our Indian food consumption will never be the same...

3. Drink Anytime You Like. The stereotypes are true. In London, drink anytime and anywhere. Leadenhall Market fills up with old white insurance dudes everyday at lunchtime, who linger in the streets late into the evening. Dave argues that even though it's old school and can get excessive, it's nice for a night out and has allowed him to deeply bond with his workmates. And apparently, "It promotes free exchange of ideas; you know, after you're a few in." mmhmm.

4. Employers File Your UK Taxes. April 15th is approaching for us Americans. 'Nuff said.

A long weekend break of glamping(!!) in the UK countryside

A long weekend break of glamping(!!) in the UK countryside

5. The British Take Their Off-Hours Seriously. Work-Life Balance is fantastic. There's no expectation of out-of-hours emailing. Weekends are 100% yours. And best of all: you do not have to carefully ration out each precious vacation day, or "hoard your holiday," as Dave says. All of this leads to lower stress in general. He really relates to the European philosophy that you're working to have the resources to not be in work, so... don't be in work.

 

And with that, we will see you from the other side of the pond! 

Note: there will be a future post with more story and soul about our time in London. Although (for me) it was time to leave, I know that our life will never be the same, following this experience, most importantly, with incredible friends and colleagues, who will forever be in the fabric of our lives. Thank you for loving us, supporting us, and giving us a home in London for the last 3 years.

 

PS - Here's what I and my expat friends found surprising about working in London.

 

 

Posted on March 15, 2017 and filed under Global Views.

Happy International Women's Day!

To me, there is nothing more important than female support. Throughout my life, I've created circles of friends and colleagues who believe the same. Even though I can be competitive (mostly with myself, I swear!), I fiercely believe that winners love to see others win.

Last year, I had some awful experiences with other females who, we'll just say... operate from a different set of principles. This was a new life experience for me, and my heart broke in many ways, in many pieces.

Maybe my error was assuming positive intent (I'm still struggling with this: is positive intent a do or a don't?). Regardless, my 2016 experiences revealed something important: supporting other females is not just how I act; it's one of my core values.

While I won't be striking today, I wanted to support my fellow (s)heroes, by sharing three incredible things happening by, about, and for women:

 

After coming across Career Contessa, a fantastic career community for women, I am honored to count myself among their panel of mentors. They provide in-depth interviews, tools and templates, and education that is always clear, concise, and actionable.

 

Chase bank has a blog, writing a lot these days about how we're acquiring, spending, and treating our money differently in the 21st century. They recently cited how women are becoming the CFO of their households... interesting! But with my critical eye, here's the challenge: the "CFO" responsibilities that they describe are more Accountant than CFO. How do we keep progressing this so that women have real decision-making authority over their household's assets, investments, etc? (My EMBA final project is on this very topic)!

 

I've recently been fascinated by Girls Who Code, a non-profit whose mission is "to close the gender gap in technology." Their approach to education of young girls seems so dynamic and is all across the US.

 

And lastly, just a fun quote for those men who are reading and thinking, "What about me!?"

"'It's not like men have empowerment groups,' she says.

As she says this, I'm thinking, 'Of course they do! What do you call Monday Night Football? They fill stadiums with men cheering for men. Men loving men. Men paying lots of money to play with a little ball. It's a glorified love fest, with major sponsors and beer bongs.'"

- Jill A Davis, Girls' Poker Night

 

image from Tarafirma

Knowing Your Colleagues' Love Languages

In honor of Valentine's Day...

Many years ago, I read the classic book 5 Love Languages. Then around this time last year, a friend recommended that my fiancé and I take this quick Love Language quiz to reveal our respective love languages to each other.

Since my now-husband and I are opposites, it was no surprise that we do not crave love in the same way. However, the goal is not to have the same language as your partner. The goal is to simply know your partner's language (Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch), then adjust your actions so that (s)he feels loved and appreciated.

The connection between one's personal-love language and her work-love language recently hit me, as I was thinking about upcoming performance reviews and recruiting new talent into our industry.

 

For example, as someone whose language is Receiving Gifts, this is how I like to be appreciated and will grow in loyalty to a boss or organization.  This may seem obvious, as one could translate to "give me more money!" But for me personally, that's not all there is to it. People who know me know that I love professional development and extra opportunities to learn. Working this "gift" into my motivation plans at work would increase my loyalty and let me know that my boss knows who I am on a deeper level. 

For someone else whose language is Words of Affirmation or Quality Time, a boss or teammate should consider having regular, weekly one on ones to review progress; publicize and promote her accomplishments; and pay close attention to how (s)he communicates and frames conversations.

 

What I'm suggesting is all part of intentional relationship building and isn't rocket science, I know. However, communicating with this level of intention is often the first thing to go when we're feeling time-crunched, threatened, or insecure.

I would also offer that it goes both ways: as an employee, understanding your own Love Language and using it to form powerful and trusting relationships with your boss, colleagues, or even as part of negotiating your next position will help you stand out among colleagues and increase the mutual loyalty between you and your organization.

 

Take the 5 minute quiz and leave a Comment to let me know your Love Language and how you'd like your boss or organization to "speak it" with you.

 

Image by Birds and Baking

Posted on February 13, 2017 and filed under Tips & Tools.