Working Remotely – Toronto & Mississauga & Home office

The time is now 2:45am EST. Ridiculous, I know. But I actually took a 4pm-1am “nap” today, which was preceded by a full morning of chores and a second attempt to make congee. This time, with chicken bits, cilantro, and seaweed. (I’d take a photo with my BlackBerry Torch, but maybe later. I figured blogs with photos are so much more interesting.)

Nevertheless, I just had the most intense week. I wouldn’t say “ever”, because clearly I don’t know what’s in store for me in the future and you have all read my past posts…(HAHA!) So what made this week so unique? I had the opportunity to work from RIM’s offices in Mississauga (Tahoe B). The buildings here are MUCH newer and the working environment is much quieter. Although, since there are no walls between rows of desks, you can hear the other teams during their conference calls. I’ve really learned to love the joys of web/tele-conferences, despite missing having everyone actually physically there. My teammate and I took an empty room together and had our call there. I’m thinking that’s what my teammates in Waterloo and I should do. It beats having to call in from 3 separate phones, when we’re all sitting together now anyways.

Funny story and I guess this can be blamed on our age of technology… Have you ever been in the same room as your friend and messaged them over BlackBerry Messenger or text message? My girl friend and I were in the living room during dinner one weekend. All the family was over and since they speak Hindi, I was oblivious during parts of the convo and would, therefore, BBM my friend, when she was literally within arm’s reach! Likewise, this week at the office, my teammates sat right across from me – 2 of them, yet I would message them over the internet. Now that’s ridiculous! At some point, I told myself I would just walk over or talk louder. Perhaps, as human beings, knowing that a stranger from the other side of the “wall” (whom you did not know) could hear what you were saying, made one more conscious about their actions.

(I just re-read this post. My grammar is horrific. I apologize. I guess that’s what happens when you try to blog at, now, 3:30am… My teammate emailed me at 1AM and another colleague just BBM-ed me! I even tweeted this.)

Mississauga was great and I even stayed in Toronto during the week. (Here’s a letter I wrote to my mother describing my entire week, as I planned it on Monday). On Tuesday, I had my weekly call with my manager. I love how last week, she started the conversation with, “Are you swamped?” It’s funny, because I work with so many people from our team, sometimes she’s not sure exactly what I might be working on. During the interview, I asked about the independent vs team work ratio. She said 80-20. At first, I was a little skeptic, but I realized that our team is really one big package. We are constantly supporting each other and that’s exactly what I wanted. It’s the perfect blend of independent and team work. I guess this is what I really wanted, after all. (See, you never know until you try. Hence, Co-op. So DO IT!!!)

Tuesday was a long day. I worked from 8am – 9pm. I had my first experience working with a focus group. I have never taken a market research course before, but I have taken several sociology and psychology courses. Reading about the different types of research pales in comparison to actually being a part of it. I truly felt my textbooks coming to life. And as I am exposed to more projects from my team, the more I am learning how much of my education is really coming into play. In fact, it’s not just what I’ve learned at university, but my life experiences, in general. I feel very fortunate to have worked in several industries: process engineering/consulting, MICE hotel/hospitality, insurance/travel, non-profit, law, etc., because in any business, it’s all about understanding people and creating a solution that will help meet their needs and make their life better. And it is fascinating to be able to contribute to such a powerful company that has the ability to literally “Change the world.” Being a part of the technology industry is particularly interesting, because there is always going to be exciting “work.” It is so fast paced, with ideas, tools, resources, and audiences constantly evolving, that it continually presents one with a challenge.

I better contain this excitement. It’s getting late. I spent the rest of my week working from Toronto, out of my “home” office and connected with some colleagues from the area too! How awesome is that? I had a couple of meetings and even had a tutorial on a new tool with a colleague of mine from the states. Our 15 min brief tutorial turned into a 1 hr and 15 min discussion, with Q&A. His only worry was that I had work to do, but he was so willing to teach me more and ensure I learned everything I could. I became even more excited when my manager said she was going to me my own account for this tool.

Working for RIM is a luxury. Inevitably, there will be competition or more enticing benefits (in positions at other companies), but very rarely does a co-op get to experience much of it. Most people think co-op students are a form of “cheap labour.” Maybe this is true, but it’s a double-edged sword. You’re a co-op for a little while, and you should be fortunate to be paid for the experience. (Especially in an economy where UN-paid internships are difficult to come by). We often hear, “academics isn’t everything” and it’s true. Many people walk into university thinking they know exactly what they want to do with their life. I was one of them. Little did I know what was actually in store for me. So set SMART and bright goals, and be ambitious, because the world IS in YOUR hands.

To touch on my lifestyle this week….let’s just say I did some of the following…

  • Took the TTC to AIESEC Canada’s MC office (at Eglington) and met up with a friend from Vancouver
  • Attended a Second City show: “This Party’s a Riot!”
  • Indulged in some art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, visited the “Maharaja Exhibition”
  • Had a mocha and latte from Sense Appeal Coffee Roasters, along with a home-made cinnamon bun
  • Met up with a friend from the Millennium Network, and took a late night stroll through downtown Toronto
  • Reunited with several friends I met at TEDxToronto
  • Attended the Opening Gala Night for the Images Festival (watched a documentary: “Rivers and My Father”
  • Strolled down Little Italy and Chinatown. Had Japanese noodles from Ajisen
  • Ran into a member of the RCSC in downtown Toronto
  • Had a huge poutine from Smoke’s Poutinerie

There’s so much more I could share, but I’ll keep the personal conversations with my teammates to myself. (Sorry!) Tomorrow (Sunday) is the Blue Jay’s game.  It’s the home opening this weekend! My girl friend and I are going, and we’ll be meeting up with some of my guy friends at the game!

Ciao!
Tammy

Ps. 1200 word count. (I must love writing!)

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About Tyw

An energetic girl entering her third decade of life, seeking to expand her insights and grow new and meaningful friendships and life's lessons along the way. She's a passionate lady with experiences that have guided her to where she is today. Here's to journeys for the next 10 years! To view my blogs, see: http://bit.ly/tywblogs
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