Sunday, January 23, 2011

Work Hard, Then to Play

After a whirlwind week of hard hard work in our UK offices, I have returned to the States, exhausted, but also invigorated.  Have you ever noticed that meetings can go that way?...especially with really smart people at the table.  Since January 1, and my one and only resolution to be positive, I've found that it has really made life a lot more enjoyable.  I always thought complaining was a way to vent and to get frustration out of the gut and out into the open, but I'm starting to think that really can only be true in small doses.  Excessive bitching just becomes toxic.

This past week, I also learned something else.  When organizational strife (AKA MERGER) is getting me  down...forget the integration process and get back to the people I work with and the actual work I do.  When I can wipe out the politics and pressures in that merger environment and remember why I work in the clean water field, and get to know the people I work with, it is really energizing.

Of couse, working in another timezone means nearly 24x7 work hours.  My days began with a 7:45AM meet in lobby for cab to office.  We hit the ground running and by the time NY was up and running we were halfway through our local day.  We continued until about 6PM where we then proceeded to work team dinner meetings, and then for those of us from U.S. we hit the computers again at night to catch up on U.S. work.  UK team didn't have it any easier as I learned.  Most of them have 2+ hour commutes since London is too expensive for any of them to live in.  So we all averaged about 4-5 hours of sleep a night.

Being an interesting thing.  One of the reasons for our MERGER was to finally position ourselves as an international business.  On Wednesday night I found myself at dinner for five - one from U.S., two from Netherlands, one from Brazil, one from UK.  We talked politics (danger zone) and business, and life, and culture...and it was a great experience to really feel part of a global team.

Finally on Thursday, I realized I had already worked about 60 hours for the week and I quit at 5PM and hit the concierge up for theater tickets. My Brazilian colleague and I grabbed a quick bite in the hotel bar and the hightailed it to the theater and caught a comedy - A Flea in Her Ear. 

I figure I caught about 85% of it, given British colloquialisms and accents, and I'm sure my colleague got a little less, but we enjoyed it immensely all the same.

And then Friday, I finally made good on my promise to not waste these international trips by only seeing office, hotel, and restaurants, I hit the city bus tour.  I decided early on to listen to the very knowledgable (and live!) guides and enjoy the tour instead of trying to snap pictures on the move...but caught a few iconic shots.

Mind the gap!  It's the Underground.

The London Eye from a distance.

I love that these come in two's.

Biggest ship in a bottle ever.

Whitehall gardens...considering home is covered in snow, thought this was a lovely patch of green.

Golden Jubilee bridge.

World War II Memorial with Churchill quote.  Very  moving.

Bagpipes by the London Eye.

Big Ben over the Westminster Station Underground stop.

I had a little time to waste between bus tour and river boat tour, so I grabbed a burger with a view of Big Ben and Parliament.  This bird was very interested in my eating habits.

Proof I was there and it wasn't just google images!

By 3PM I was back at my hotel and catching a cab to the airport.  Was a great relaxing way to spend my last day in town and just whet my appetite to go back and see more and learn more about this incredible city - not to mention the rest of England.  


Chelle said...

Glad your back on this side of the pond!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm glad you got some sightseeing in-and didn't collapse from exhaustion!

Susan said...

Hurray for getting out there to see more of the city and going to the theater - how special!

Kate Hanley said...

Sounds like you made the most of your trip which is awesome. I agree with you that bitching becomes toxic. Thanks for little posting about A Flea in Her Ear. Some of the best theatre I've seen has been in London.

Anonymous said...

That's great that you finally got a taste of London - just enough to whet your appetite and make you want to go back and do the whole tourist thing!

Also, with your "one and only" resolution to be positive, you inspired me to try to do the same thing this month. And I've discovered that you're right, less complaining does make life more enjoyable! Thanks for that!