A Norwegian in the UK – 6 Months In…
An opportunity too good to turn down
I have now worked at NorDan for 6 months, from the start of September 2017 to now, February 2018. My journey to the UK began about 10 months ago when a conversation with my father led to the question, ‘would I be interested in working in the UK for NorDan?’. My immediate response was, ‘YES!’. This would be an opportunity for me to experience something new and learn much more about NorDan out with my native Norwegian home.
In August 2017, my father and I took a trip to the new UK Head Office in Livingston, where I am now based. We flew from Stavanger to Aberdeen, where Alex Brown (Manager Director) and Gillian Irvine (Finance Director) picked us up, and we drove down to Livingston. At the new office in Livingston, we were shown around and introduced to all of my new co-workers. During this day, I also meet with David Gillon (Marketing Manager) who gave me an introduction to the UK market, and how his role involves working with the several NorDan business units throughout the UK.
My first day at work in Livingston was Monday 4th of September. My first week was all about getting to know my co-workers and going through the NorDan Academy training process. The first 2-3 weeks was a steep learning curve and a period of settling in. This also included settling in outside of work. I didn’t move into my current apartment until 2 weeks after arriving in Scotland. My first 2 weeks I spent in a temporary accommodation in a very nice apartment in Stirling, which I shared with colleague James Heery. James would then become my flatmate at our new apartment based 10 minutes from the office here in Livingston.
The first few weeks were certainly challenging as basic things like bank accounts and broadband connection all seemed to take an age to get up and running.
Starting to feel at home
In November, Alex introduced me to a football team in Linlithgow that I started training with and have recently and signed for. Outside of this, I was invited to games at Livingston FC and Celtic FC, which was a fantastic experience. My colleagues, Peter O’Neil and Brian Davie, took me to a rugby match between Scotland and Australia with some customers. Tracy, who I work with along with David, also invited me to spend Halloween with her and her children running around ‘trick or treating’! This was the first time I had been trick or treating, and I felt that I was too old, but still had a great night!
Work work work
Workwise, during October and November my understanding of how the Scottish sales team wanted me to work really increased. I have developed my skills to know the value I can add to the sales team with marketing support, lead by David.
During December, we had an office re-shuffle where the sales team moved to the second floor of the building, leaving just David, Tracy and myself downstairs. A sales support team was also created in the Livingston office. In December, during a meeting I was personally tasked with writing a monthly marketing newsletter, gathering conversion rate results and keeping tabs on the sales team LinkedIn activity.
In January, a change in circumstance leads to James moving down to England, meaning I was now living alone. January also saw me attend a large Sales Conference. For me, this was a learning experience where I discovered how the England market works as well as learning more about the Scottish market from the staff based in Aberdeen.
February saw me attend a specific English Sales Meeting, which was great for my knowledge. The difference between the markets in England and Scotland could not be greater. The complexity and scale in England, especially London, is incredible.
Outside of work I took part in a charity football match, organised by Alex, at Falkirk stadium. This was to help raise funds for a charity organisation that he runs, The Blue Eyes Sports Foundation. This match was great, but it was freezing!
Over the next 6 months, I can only work hard to contribute to the Scottish team to help their target of achieving sales growth. I am looking forward to this and I am sure I will learn much more.