It's been 4 weeks, 4 days and 4 hours since we've ...
It's been 4 weeks, 4 days and 4 hours since we've been here...
As you may have already heard, PlusNet numbers are growing not only by the number of customers, but also by the number of employees and total distance between offices. Right now we have the main headquarters in Sheffield (UK) and also people working for us in London (UK), Durban (South Africa), Trivandrum (India) and Wroclaw and Bielsko-Biala (Poland). If you want to fly around around in this order it is 15411 kilometeres (imagine taking any other vehicle to travel this far!).
This is Ula from the Development Department; the Wroclaw part of LCST (Live Code Support Team). I wanted to write 'Polish team', but it won't be correct. As we discovered we are not the only Polish people at PlusNet; Polish is the second spoken language in Internet House, at least in Development, in my opinion.
As in the title: 4 weeks, 4 days & 4 hours together... We started working for PlusNet in the beginning of April - and it wasn't an April Fool’s Day joke - it really happened! First thing we did: we came to Sheffield for the introduction and training. For most of us it was our first trip to the UK, and for some even first ever flight! New experiences.
We started not only to get to know the PlusNet systems, but also the English culture. Some of the team enjoyed the atmosphere in the pubs with the variety of Ales, others enjoyed the surprisingly dry weather on the strolls we had. After some time we got used to the crowds at 10pm on West Street and the 15% steep streets. Even the food became tastier and we became more willing to test out new dishes (important to mention: famous pickled onions and lamb meat ). But it is still a problem (at least for me) to look to the right first, when crossing a street.
All of our team members are PHP developers. We are coming from different backgrounds, but all with strong practical and theoretical skills from Wroclaw Universities. But this is the first time for us all to learn about such complicated, and not one, but many systems. It is rewarding as each of us discovers part of the system where he can have an impact in the process of creating a better product. Learning by doing, and doing something meaningful - that's really a nice way to learn. Imagine one of you customers seeing our product working better - for me personally it is the most important thing; having an influence and being part of improvement.
We were/are learning not only about English culture but also about PlusNet working culture. The way people approach each other. How you can see people talking all of the time, communicating (and believe me it is not easy for the kind of geeks developers usually are). We, or at least me, discovered how important it is to ask questions and how hard it is sometimes to stop working by myself and go to someone more experienced for advice.
The PlusNet family is multicultural. We enjoyed the possibility to get to know the QBurst Indian team personally. We discovered the differences between our nations (mostly with food, finding wives and birthday traditions) and figured out that past midnight Hindu and Polish are really similar ;)
I have to admit we were often spending evening hours in the office - but mostly because our families stayed back in Poland. The missing part was hard. But, after our training in the UK we are going back to Poland, and we will be a "remote" team.
This is something new for us: to be able to work for PlusNet but being so far away. But our experiences in this area can be a good help in any future company expansion. We are also creating procedures as to how to make the best possible working environment for remote teams.
I need to mention one more thing. Generally speaking, there aren't many women working as developers/programmers. The same as it was during my studies as it is true in here. But the biggest difference is the way people treat me here. I'm not any different: not lower, not higher, just
the same. I would like to encourage other women not to be afraid to work in this profession - just find the right employer ;)
Ps. Did you know that you can have Customer Support in Polish, too?