For my job I have to operate on various social media platforms and thanks to GDPR, I have been receiving updates on privacy policies, constantly. Even for my Garmin watch, they have so much data on my steps and location. A good topic to discuss at the office with the team but I am working remotely these weeks. Working remotely has its pros and cons. Pros are working with sweatpants on, no bra, no make-up, and silence (open office trauma). Also, you don’t have to endure awkward morning coffee conversations. Perhaps that’s why Dutch people complain so much about the weather, they don’t want to talk about anything else in a corporate environment unless it includes alcohol. The ‘vrijdag middag borrel’ (EN: After work drinks on Friday) loosens many up. If not, everybody stays around people from their team and you get the occasional nod. The nod means ‘What a week, huh?’.
For a country so “liberal” and “open-minded”, they are awfully distant in office environments, well at least in our office. Don’t get me wrong, they are polite, there is always a kind smile but that’s it. I know I know, expectations !!! and I cannot know what someone is going through, and nobody can be chatty and genuine every day, my Turkish background is different, bla bla bla …reasons reasons reasons… and that’s why I am trying to dodge the bullet of awkward conversations either by coming to the office early so I can get my coffee before the Starbucks style queue, or I spend too much money at the coffee house nearby.
However, the funny thing is, whenever I am in the mood and initiate a conversation (yes yes that happens sometimes and that is why this bothers me so much in case that was not obvious [I think I hear some people mumbling, get a life!]), they cannot stop talking. I guess what Dave Kerpen says in his book ‘The Art of People’ is right; as long as YOU stay genuine, listen, and validate, people open up more. Showing honesty and vulnerability humanizes you and takes you out of that corporate setting, even if it is just for one minute while the coffee is pouring. Trying to understand the other side as much as possible, will make me content as well so I can stop rambling on about it here.
Cons, I miss my people! I miss the laughter and the family like closeness. Of course, not from everybody but you know the ones who are your ride or die, the ones who you can hand a knife and turn your back, the ones who have your back. I am acting like there is a whole army situation going on but trust me it is a few but strong souls.
Near far, whereeveeeeer you areeeeeee [cue: Celine Dion, My heart will go on], let the cheese drip like you are eating the first hot slice of your pizza, gooey cheesy songs YASSS #GuiltyPleasure, I even have a playlist on my Spotify full of them, no shame.
In any case, wherever we are, in whatever mood we are, the whole office is happy with a four-day office week. Bank holidays! The ultimate bonding material. Always good material for small talk. This time it is our King’s Birthday. I have no clue how old he is turning but he seems like a cool guy. In my opinion, his wife is more charismatic though. I am not saying I am fully okay with blasting my tax money into their life style but I am happy they do work on matters such as water management considering rising sea levels, elderly care, and that the King was badass enough to fly KLM flights for almost a decade anonymously. They are not lazy that’s for sure or the PR team is doing a great job. This year to celebrate we are heading to Porto!!! We thought this is the perfect opportunity to have a “romantic” getaway.
So we listed a bunch of brunch cafes, vegetarian restaurants, and steak houses to go check out. Cannot wait! Maybe I will have some Porto inspired coffee talk moments gathered in case I am in the mood, oh the constant dilemma and contradiction… but I want to understand the other side for some reason.