The first of many. This blog will be used to document a new life. It will also be used as a tool to learn the French language, hopefully. All of course, contingent on time allowance defined by my new post at work.
I am starting my new adventure as an Edison engineer for GE. Edison is a dedicated entry level program for engineering students in GE. I will write more about it in one of the future post when I also find out myself how it is going to work, especially considering I am part of the first generation of Edison Engineers in the GE Renewable Energy business after it became a unique business branch of GE in 2016. In a nutshell, I will be facing several different tasks within GE for the next 2 years. This includes a rotation between departments every 6 months and a big relocation after the first year where I completely change the location where I am based.
I start off in Nantes, working within the Offshore wind energy business. Considering my qualification as a wind energy graduate this looks as a very promising match for my skills. Even though offshore wind energy was not the focus of my studies, the insight I got was enough to spark my interest. It is one of the most challenging fields of wind energy and I am, as always looking forward to a challenge.
And as if getting a first serious engineering job related to my field in one of the world leading companies was not challenging enough (naaah no pressure at all…), I had to relocate, move to France on a short notice of 2 weeks. Even though I moved quite frequently during my studies, , throughout 3 years, across Europe and to the US, this time it was a bit different. Namely, after all this moving around and finding my spot under the stars, some would say, unfortunately, I would say, fortunately, I was unemployed for good 4,5 months. In that period, I was finally at home. I could do things that were not possible before. Like, go on a bike ride, play fetch with my lazy pup, do some work around the house and help out, be useful… One would be surprised how nice it feels to do some field work after being absent for a long time. Also, I wanted to contribute and not be the stressed jobseeker and annoy everyone around. I was again able to do things that people mostly take for granted, see my family every day, have overdue drinks with my friends, have my sister jump on my head for no apparent reason. Getting some quality time together with my girlfriend, time that was not obstructed by internet connection issues, web cam or mic not cooperating, Skype hanging, time zone… Damn… We were in the same freaking time zone, not only we were within the same 15° meridians, but also just half an hour drive away. You can’t imagine how big of a luxury it is to be able to do all this things. It was something that took over. I went on and enjoyed all this little moments shared with my close ones. It is something that is very easy to get accustomed to, I could even say get addicted to. At some point, it became difficult to leave people behind and return home just to waste time sleeping. This was probably due to the fact that, in the back of my head, I always had this fear that it all might end soon, that a time will come and I will have to leave somewhere…
And eventually… It came. After numerous applications, all across Europe and the US I landed some interviews, some on Skype, for some I was flown to. But in the end, a call came for a position I haven’t directly applied for. Namely, one of my emails that I sent out, asking for “advice” and “referral” (read: asking for a job indirectly), months ago, already forgotten, stumbled upon a positive answer asking about my availability for an interview call. After that call I was selected to go on for an on-site review. To France… To GE! Capital G, capital E! I suppressed my over excitement and took on the on-site interview (some details found in the about page). Long story short, within a month of that first call I was packing my things.
And this time I was leaving for good. Contract indefine, stipulates my work contract. I am leaving for an undefined period. So many questions arise. How, what, where, how… Everyone is curious about the answers and I am there sitting in silence shrugging my shoulders saying I don’t know. Stress ON. But as everything else that I ever did, I will figure it out.
And from all the countries in the world I had to figure out France, one of the most complex countries ever. -Ca va! How is it going!, -Ca va bien! All of my French that I took over 2 years could fit in this conversation. Nothing. Yet again, all the documents, a pile to be more accurate, I was sent by my employer are mostly in French. All of them need attention, additional documents to append, sign and initialize every page. FRONT and BACK! (who ever read it in Ross’ voice well, done that’s exactly how I felt). And that was the easy part. Back home in Croatia we tend to say we are hindered by all the unnecessary bureaucracy and that we are kings of the stamped paper trail. And as our over cocky confidence in pretty much everything we do and think we are the best at everything… Yet again we are proven wrong. France wins that belt. And even that belt comes with a signed paper by the local authority of the belt commission. Literally for everything you want to do you are expected to give out an extensive folder of documents proving who you are, where do you work, which is your bank, what are your hobbies… Everything. This left me in a lot of dispersed frustration and I will dedicate a full post to the French bureaucracy when it all bubbles up and I will need to release it in a full-on banter complaining about it. I apologize in advance.
Just to paint the picture, I’ll give you an example. In order to sign an apartment lease contract, you need a bank account. In order to have a bank account, you need an address. Am I going crazy or is Leonardo going to unconnected me from the dream inception machine ‘cuz this ain’t happening. Everyone stands their ground and wants their papers, while I stand there with puppy eyes saying s’il vous plaît and mimicking what I want. No progress.
Luckily if you offer to collect more extra papers and warranties on top of the requested ones, everyone seems to become happy as more papers equals greater happiness in official France.
I was fortunate enough to have a friend I met a long time ago in a summer school in Germany that has moved to Nantes. Loch, real name Laure, but this is how we nicked named her as this is how her name sounds to a German, loch – a hole. And a hole she was, a hole for all my new encountered French problems. But we managed to solve them. Thanks a lot for the elp (the H is silent in French).
I found a place to live, a bank account to receive my salary… Now the only thing that is left is to go earn it, live and spend it. A plus! Till next time.