Monday, September 17, 2018

Belonging or: One Year Later

Last Friday, THE annual company-wide event took place: a relay team triathlon with hundreds of participants. From what I found out, it always takes place in September. Last year, the triathlon hype completely bypassed me and on the day it took place I had a hearing with external training vendors with 2 other colleagues at the office. It was only when I saw photo and video coverage on our corporate Facebook channels and heard colleagues rave about the fun they had, that I realised it might be worth going the next year. I always only intended to attend as a "fan" (every team gets to nominate one fan to accompany them and cheer them on) until I ended up agreeing to sub for a swimmer that dropped out the day before. As it is not a "real" triathlon, i.e. with considerably shorter distances, the 250 m of swimming was not such a big deal and I did have great fun. The biggest revelation and partial contributor to said fun, however, was that as I was in and around the event tent, I met and said "hi" to many people I got to know during the 14 something months I've been with Household Name by now. Had I attended last year, less than three months after I started, I would definitely have felt the need to stick to the few colleagues I already knew (which might well have annoyed them). I am not a shy introvert by any means, but it does feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable when you are in a huge crowd and basically don't know anyone. Way different this year! As I was sitting eating overcooked pasta with my best work friend (the one I wrote about here), whom I have decided to call Bestie Boy here, bitching about people analysing our sporty performances he agreed that it is actually incredible how many people we now both recognise. I realised that this sense of belonging was something I had missed. At the Firm, I was one of a handful of people with the longest tenure at the Vienna office and  felt I knew "everyone" at several other offices abroad, too. Also, the sheer size of Friday's event made me think of the many company events I attended in the past decade. Well-organised fun events that were some of the greatest memories of my time at the Firm...where in retrospect it probably also took me a year to feel I really belonged, but my nostalgia made me forget that detail.


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