Six months as a project manager

Today was the first day off my 6-month “trial contract” at WSP. I think it is a common way to go, especially for a newly graduated person. Not sure how it works in the rest of the world, but here in Sweden you get hired during a trial time of 6 months. Not that it is any different from working fulltime normally (I think it even says on my contract that it starts with 6 months trial and then goes on as a normal employment without any new contract needed – maybe I should double check?), but it still feels really good after my first day of knowing that I now am one of everyone else. I am another grown-up with a really fun fulltime job.

I have been very bad at updating this blog about how everything is going, but perhaps that is not super interesting anyway. But an update every now and then could be good. At least fun for myself in the future when I can look back on all of this, that I obviously save on an external harddrive.

The past six months have been really great. It has been challenging on many levels but I am getting used to it all. The whole routine of getting up the same early time every day, getting home the same early time (compared to university and Liseberg), trying to work out and compensate for sitting in front of a computer all day, trying to eat healthy, trying to write on my book and at the same time trying to do all of this and balance with enough sleep every night. It is harder than it sounds to find that balance and I am still not sure that I have. One really good thing about being a project manager is that it will always be challenging, no matter how long I have worked. The challenges will be different, and probably not as dependent on what I do outside of work (like getting enough sleep). Projects are never the same and that is why I really enjoy going to work every day. I feel that I do some good at WSP. I feel that I am appreciated, both from coworkers and bosses. I feel that I have found something that I am somewhat good at!

After only 4 months I took over a project regarding the change of control systems at Volvo and soon thereafter I was given a completely new project that I was part of starting up regarding a revision of all sprinkler systems at Volvo. That’s crazy. Think about it. I became the main project manager after only four months. How crazy is that?! What’s even more crazy is that it was only scary for about a couple of weeks after taking over when nothing was organized very well and I had to do a lot just to make sure that all the right documentation was in the right place and so on. Even if I don’t (well, maybe that is actually didn’t now) know a single thing about systems that control ventilation and such, I still did good. Because a project manager is not a specialist, a project manager is a generalist who is not supposed to be there and help with details, but rather be the spider in the web, the organizer to make sure that the project is going in the right direction. But of course, I learn new things every day that is basically just a big plus for my work.

Then there are also the days where I start thinking about what I am actually doing. How did I get here? I am working a 9-5 job (with flex hours of course), in an open office landscape. I use excel in almost everything I do and without my Outlook calendar I would be like a lost child. How did I end up there? Did I really get a masters degree? Really? Some days I feel like I have faked my way to where I am because I can honestly say that I don’t remember much from my bachelor time at Chalmers (2010-2012, so it has been a while). The knowledge I gathered from my master is more easily accessed. And maybe that is why I constantly hear that I am doing a good job (although I am not sure what is good and bad job)? Because project management is more than just education? I think perhaps I was born with a list and an excel spreadsheet in each hand. The structure and order have always come naturally. To not have things (the right things obviously, not everything) under control has never been an issue for me. And when I think about it that way, I reach the conclusion that I might feel lost but I truly feel that I have found my place and calling. Project management is what I want to do!

Now I am just rambling. Maybe I should have put these word counts into my book instead? Eh, to summarize, I can’t really believe that it already has been 6 months since I started working. It has gone so fast and I can’t wait to see what I will have accomplished in the future. I want to be good at what I do, I want to be a rolemodel for new employees as well as more senior ones. I want to see what kind of cool and big projects I could potentially get in the future. I am so eager to see where all of this is going and I think I have to remind myself that the road there will probably be as interesting as the goal. But now, for the first time, I have a goal, and it feels good. Real good!

I am so glad that it is not “just a job” that I have. I really like what I am doing and I am so greatful that I found this right on my first try.

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WSP Management in Budapest day 3

The first thing I was greeted by when walking through the door at home, was Ramses of course. He always comes running to say hello when the door is opened. The second thing I was greeted by was Cleo sticking his head out the bedroom door hissing at me. I think I might have been gone for too long for Cleo’s liking. Then he got almost aggressive when he smelled me. Weird cat.

It has been another long day. All flight trips with a layover takes so much longer and is so exhausting. On the first flight from Budapest to Munich, I slept all the way through, even through the big turbulens that apparently happened. On the second though, I had a hard time falling asleep, even if I listened to my classical piano music list. Perhaps it was because all the rows in the back were occupied by WSP. I used the last 30 minutes to a little bit of writing. Why didn’t I think of that earlier?

In the morning today we had free time. It was spent shopping. I bought a very nice notebook at a Christmas fair, a refrigerator magnet and a pair of shoes. That was not the plan, but they kind of matched my scarf and I felt like I needed another pair of better quality shoes.

My calves are rock hard and hurt a lot! So many steps, only walking for three days. It will be great with four days of sitting in front of a computer working again, resting my legs a bit. My feet don’t hurt, but my calves.

It has been a great conference and many interesting discussions in the morning at the hotel. Many interesting things to see in Budapest, many fun things happened. But it has been tough. I really need my sleep and when I don’t get it, I quiet. I hope I haven’t seemed too boring because of it. Because I have had a great time and it was fun to get to know my coworkers outside of work.

Pictures are coming, not tonight, but my goal is to get them uploaded tomorrow afternoon/evening. Ägg-i-skägg-i-rää and goodnight!

WSP Management in Budapest day 2

I can’t remember the last time I was this tired. But being tired on vacation is basically just a receipt that you are doing the vacation right. Max gear all the time!

This morning was similar to yesterday. We discussed work-related things that we will work on and improve next year and there were good points made.

The afternoon was all dedicated to baths. We (or some of us, not everyone wanted to go to the thermal baths) walked to Szechenyi Bath and had lunch before at a restaurant close by. The food was simple and good. Pasta with tomato sauce.

We were 6 girls walking together to the bath when we saw a pretty castle and a market outside, so obviously we had to stop there. I was too full from the lunch so I didn’t get one of those sweet bread tubes, but I tried and it is on my agenda tomorrow to buy one for myself. We all also bought paprika powder. Apparently you should, so we did. I got one sweet bag and one spicy bag.

The bath was a really cool place! It was like a block of a low building, enclosing pools. One of them was really warm and it was perfect with the fall weather of November. There was a pool for laps and also a pool with a strong current. That was fun! But some people were so disrespectful and bumped into people all the time, both unconsciously but also consciously. Not okay!

Inside there were many smaller pools, hot ones and cold ones. Also several saunas. I tried most of the stuff but would have liked to be in the eucalyptus steam sauna a bit more. My dad’s genes are really 110% present at moments like this. I love heat! I love to sit in saunas or hot water. Not everyone is like that, which is good, but a little more sauna would have been nice. Our main playrule for the weekend was “everyone included/leave no one behind” and it worked.

The changing rooms were special. Small boths that you entered from the outside, and pulled down a part of the seat to lock the both doors on the side. When you are done, you open the other door and go to the baths. So strange. It took me a while to figure out how to lock the doors, haha!

We were three girls left at the bath at 5pm and we then took a bus back to the hotel. Less than 30 min later, I was down in the lobby leaving for the restaurant.

It was called Duncorso and we were served a three course dinner with Hungarian specialties. It was good! The company was also good and our table of six decided to toast every five minutes and each of us to speak every time. I used that moment to thank everyone for the warm welcome I have got and that I look forward to working .ore with everyone. I stumbled on words and it was not good at all, but I think the message went out okay.

I am truly happy at working at WSP. It is great. Fun work tasks and great coworkers. It couldn’t have been better!

After dinner we walked to a ruin bar, Szimpla Kert, the most famous one. It was the craziest bar ever! After WWII, there were a lot of abandoned buildings and eventually people put stuff in there and started up bars (or something like that). Everything in there was random and inside the building were several bars with different focus. The coziest room was the old tech junkyard with old screens and lights intertwined. Or the top floor where there was a hole in the floor. It is hard to describe. So I will post pictures when I get home. Probably not tomorrow. But Tuesday?

I talked to Dad today as well. Apparently, he heard from Grandma, who read my blog, that I was here now and gave me tips on a few things. I might look into them tomorrow. What is also pretty sick, is that he was here just last week, Sunday to Wednesday, and lived very close to where we are staying. And on Sunday, he was at the Szimpla Kert bar exactly (probably on the clock) a week before me. Crazy!!

One last day (half day) left in Budapest tomorrow. Only free time. I have to think about what I want to do. Probably shopping. And it would be cool to go on Metro 1, which is considered the oldest (or second oldest depending on how you count) subway in Europe.

Super long day, my calves are so stiff. Maybe I will book a massage here tomorrow instead, haha!

WSP Management in Budapest day 1

I didn’t think it was a possibility that I would end up being one of those fortunate people who went abroad on a conference trip. But here I am, in Budapest with my coworkers.

We arrived late last night at Continental Hotel Budapest. We were delayed but the flight here were not too bad and went by very fast and we were extremely lucky with the transfer in Frankfurt. I don’t think we waited more than 2 minutes after arriving at the new gate before we could board. I have never been that lucky!

But when we got here, I was surprised to find that I wasn’t staying with Caroline, a girl who I am in a couple of projects with and whom I had very much looked forward to sharing a room with. It feels wrong to say that I was disappointed when I got a whole room all to myself, a full 180 bed instead of a 90, but I was.

After lots of trouble getting in to my room I could finally lay down and sleep at around 1am, so much later than I am used to now with my new routines.

Today was the first real day here and it was a very good one. It started with a decent breakfast followed by three hours of the conference-part of this trip. Some questions we discussed I had input to, but some I was too new for so I just listened. Very interesting stuff though!

For lunch all 37 of us were divided into six groups and we went out into the city to find some place to eat. Everywhere we went it was full, until we found a basement restaurant that was empty. Sceptical, but it was not too bad. It was a nice room and atmosphere.

What’s funny here is the currency. They don’t use Euro but something else. And today’s lunch was 33000 of it. Crazy!

The rest of the afternoon we walked around and met up with everyone else at Mathias Church (which has a crazy and colorful roof, I might have to check if it is supposed to be the original roof. We watched the city from the hill and it was pretty.

On the way back to the hotel after the church (we didn’t go in), I spent a little time in the hotel pool and sauna. As a small preparation for the thermal baths tomorrow.

Dinner was served at a medieval restaurant called Sir Lancelot where we drank out of pottery urns, where food was served on a huge platter in the middle of the long table and a group of performers entertained us. It was a fun experience!

After dinner we went to a salsa club and I had such a great time! For the first time since Caribbean, I have had a piña colada that was really good. We danced and all of us occupied the dance floor with our typical circle dancing and scared away all the real salsa dancers. But it was great, I don’t think that place usually has that many guests. I feel like I need to find their social media or something because they took endless of photos and videos and they might post something about us crazy swedes! Fun place!

More pictures from the evening can be found here on their Facebook page.

Then we wanted to go to Szimpla Kert, a ruin bar and the most famous one in Budapest. The line said as much and we decided to go there tomorrow instead. So the description of what it is comes tomorrow.

I am writing this on my phone and the pictures I took today are on my work phone so I will add them to this post when I have access to a computer.

After 27k steps I am so ready to sleep. Goodnight! A fun day is waiting for us tomorrow again!

First day at my first job

Today was the beginning of my new life. I have worked the first day at my first real office job! As of today, I am an assisting project manager at WSP here in Gothenburg and I still find that kind of hard to believe. I have spent the whole day setting up my desk with computer and phone and done e-courses on the company. Today was basically just about getting comfortable in a easy way. We had a department meeting where I got to introduce myself to everyone and everyone was so welcome and warm and friendly! Some people I knew from school, one even was my parents’ old friend whom I hadn’t seen in probably more than 15 years. The world is a small place.

I had a great first day. Many new expressions, everything completely new. And of course, I couldn’t fall asleep yesterday and might have gotten a little bit too little sleep. Now I have a full weekend to absorb all of this, gather more energy and work a full 40-hour week next week.

I can’t express how excited I am about this, this is the dream job. And I got it right after graduation! I couldn’t be more happy. I am actually hoping that this weekend will go fast so I can go back to my desk and doing important stuff. SOO EXCITED!

 

I also have to write quickly about the weather today. When I got out of the office building this afternoon, it was almost summer. It was hot! Then I voted in the Church Election and bought dinner and by the time I came out, the sky was a very very dark grey. The raindrops were so heavy and big that I felt them on my skin, THROUGH MY JACKET! And then of course, to make it even nastier, there was hail mixed in it. And of course some lightning and thunder. Fun times. What’s really sweet though is that a girl on the bus stop offered to share her umbrella with me. So super sweet! It was just for a couple of minutes until the bus arrived, but still, that probably saved me a lot more soaked clothes.

And one last thing. Yesterday, Jesper and I went to the gym. The first time for me since April. Last year! It hurts today and beach volleyball will be painful tomorrow morning. I really look forward to getting some routine to my life again with this 40 hour per week job and no uncomfortable hours. Once again, I can’t express how happy I am about this!

And here comes a picture of Ramses, the ever so photogenic floof!

Pieces are falling into place

I have some very great news that I want to share with you, my very few readers.

I have had a very bad luck with job applications since I graduated in June. I am not going to go into details about it, it is kind of a long story. I am glad to announce that my bad luck streak has ended, and I finally got a job! I sent in my application on a Friday two weeks ago. On the next Monday they called me and wanted to see me the next Tuesday (five days ago). The interview went well and they told me they would call me again on Wednesday. But in the afternoon, that same day, they called me and told me: why would they wait a full day when they had already made up their minds?! Two days ago, Friday, I was back at the office, signed the contract, ordered a phone, took a picture for my keycard and I said hello to my new coworkers.

So everyone, on September 15th, I will start my first real job as an Assisting Project Manager at the management department at WSP. I have honestly been jumping around the apartment the past five days, almost not believing it to be true, but the signed contract on my desk tells me otherwise. I couldn’t be more thrilled for this opportunity. But I am of course also very nervous. But I think something would be wrong with me if I weren’t :).

Here‘s a link to a funny video my mom sent me the other day. Today I was at stage 2. I need an upgrade of my wardrobe and spent almost 4000 sek today on new clothes! I haven’t bought clothes in probably two years, and it is definitely needed, so it is okay! I am going to need more shopping soon though…

The day after I got this very happy piece of news, Jesper and I got an almost equally happy phone call, telling us that we could choose from two brand (so new that we couldn’t even see them because they are not done yet) new apartments in Mölndal’s city center. Mölndal is the city closest to Gothenburg to the south, only about 20-25 minutes to downtown Gothenburg. Mölndal downtown is expanding like crazy and the location of this new apartment couldn’t be more central. Next year sometime, the new mall will be ready, a stone’s throw away from our building with a gym inside and an Ica Maxi (huge grocery store), and of course all the other normal stores Sweden has in its malls. The only downside is the public transit cost, it will be more since we are going over two zones whenever we go into downtown Gothenburg. But I heard that the taxes are lower there. Or maybe I will get a bicycle? My new office is only 17 minutes away with the tram. More time to read during the commutes, at least during winter.

The apartment is unfortunately only a one bedroom apartment (like we have now), but it is 11 sq. m bigger, has a much better layout AND BEST OF ALL: A rooftop balcony of 15.5 sq. m!!! It is also pretty awesome that it has a full-size freezer and fridge. But seriously! A rooftop balcony of that size with afternoon sun? And a walk-in closet? And a real kitchen? Much nicer neighborhood and we can reach 3 Pokéstops from our apartment! The bedroom is also much bigger than what we have now (8.2 sq. m). This will be awesome, I can’t wait to move on January 21st next year!

Everything is starting to fall into place, now I will just cross my fingers that Jesper will get his dream job soon! ❤