It’s now been about 2 1/2 months since I made the move across the country from Vancouver to Toronto.
So, how are things faring for me so far?
I think that the answer has to be … ‘not too bad’ to ‘pretty good’.
On the work side, the company that I’m working for here is considerably more mature than the previous one I was working for in Vancouver – and the company is not as old either.
Certainly, the impression that I get immediately from this place is that they do care about their employees a lot more. It’s not so much big things, but little things here and there.
For example, there are subsidized breakfasts and lunches brought in each day. Now, I know that I’m a picky eater, but there are still some things brought in occasionally that I find pretty good (some lemon salmon with roasted potatoes, for example). Sometimes, the lunch is completely free as a random ’employee appreciation’.
On the employee culture side of things, there is a ‘shoutout’ board where anyone can give ‘kudos’ to anyone else for a particular example of any of the company’s core values. I’ve managed to get one of these. While it really is nothing apart from ‘public kudos’, there is a definite ‘feel good’ factor about being recognized for something.
Then there are bigger things the company does too. Right now, I’m writing this during the lunch break of the ‘Fiscal Year 2019 Kick Off’ event. This is nothing like the sales kick off that my previous company did the week of the Christmas party. That one was heavily sales focused, and if you weren’t part of sales, then you were pretty much left out in the cold. Here, everyone is involved. Everyone, not just some people, is brought from whatever remote offices they are in to Toronto, and everyone is attending the big All-Hands session today and the break-out sessions tomorrow. This also isn’t held in the company offices – they would be too small for this – so we’re at a theatre that’s part of one of the University of Toronto colleges.
There was swag we get too for attending. Apart from a stylish (okay, not really) re-usable shopping bag (always useful), we got some luggage tags, a hoody, and a GoPro (clone) camera! Obviously, the camera is the big win here.
The presentations given by the C-level people have a definite professionalism to them, and we even had former RIM/Blackberry CEO Jim Balsillie give a presentation. Sadly, he read it from paper instead of knowing it, so it was not much of an engaging speech. The Q&A part was more interesting.
I cannot imagine the previous company spending that kind of money on something like this.
On the actual work side of things, I think that I’m getting to grips with things well. I’d been on the job for 2 months, and already had done some online training on the software by now, so the weeklong training session I was in last week was a lot of “hey, I know this now”. My team lead is also happy with how I’ve been managing to come along, and told me so too.
So, that’s work. How about personal life?
A big reason why I was fine to make such a big move out from Vancouver to here was that I really didn’t feel that I was firing on all cylinders socially. Sure, there were a few core people that I got together with for stuff. But when it came to the larger social scene, I felt that I was very much on the fringes.
Since I’ve been here, I have been doing my best to get involved with some of the social events. Fortunately, Furnal Equinox didn’t happen too long after I got here, and I managed to prove to myself that I can have fun at a local convention after all. I’ve also been to some of the regular dinner social meets, as well as a fursuit bowling event. I would have gone to a few more, except I’d been fighting off a cold and cough the last few weeks.
One really good thing is that I’m really well situated for transit. I can actually go downtown after work and stay til late, and get back home easily by transit. I just could not do that where I lived before. Things are a lot more flexible and open to me now!
Sure, the weather is definitely different. The snow did suck when I didn’t have my own place with a garage, but now since I take transit to work, it’s no longer an issue. As for the cold, it’s not been that much of an issue (since I don’t need to be outside waiting for anything for long), but I am ready for it to start being warmer now.
And when it gets warmer, then I can go start exploring around the area more. Then there are some other events during the warmer times I want to get to – like some Renaissance Faire type things, some of which might be close, and others that I may have to drive a few hours to get to (such as the one near Ottawa and another in Michigan).
But, the outlook for more interesting stuff to do around here is good, and perhaps better – for me – than Vancouver.
Overall, I think that I am giving this move here a decent positive grade right now.
Let’s see what the next few months bring.