I recently celebrated my one year anniversary with Rice, and what a year it has been. From moving to Singapore in February last year to joining Rice six weeks later and then moving on again nine months down the track. The last 12 months have certainly been a whirlwind.
In joining Rice I transitioned from stakeholder engagement and community liaison work to a more full service PR and media engagement role, which was a great career change; but seven months into my new job I found myself packing my bags for New Zealand. The move was unplanned and a little unwelcome, but due to my husband’s work commitments there was little choice.
Choice come later, during my discussions with Rice regarding my work situation; I explained I was very happy in my job, learning a lot and was not ready to hang my boots. Luckily Rice has been most flexible and supportive and was always open to discussions around working remotely from Auckland. While direct client interface is at a minimum, I am able to carry out most of my duties via email and Skype and have been continuing in my role supporting our Singapore and regional clients for four months now, albeit at reduced hours.
The move down under was no big deal, I’m originally from Australia so know this end of the world. The challenge has been getting used to working from home. I now have a small office set up but am still getting used to being on my own. Tennis lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays help along with team catch-up sessions during the week. But the biggest aid has been Macey – our little Cocker Spaniel pup. She joined our family about a month ago and helps get me out of bed at a reasonable time with the morning dash to the park.
Although somewhat isolating, there are advantages to working from home. The commute to the desk is only about 10 steps, I can do the washing over lunch and I have my own time and space to think and get creative, which is a real benefit in this line of work. In fact, I really can manage my time as I like. My hours are very flexible, as long as I get the work done and am contactable during the cross over with Singapore, I can essentially work when I like; from my desk or the café across the road.
One of the highlights of working from Auckland has been providing media liaison assistance for Inmarsat during the Volvo Ocean Race, a nine month global yacht race which stopped off in Auckland last month. As official satellite communications partner, Inmarsat was looking for opportunities to connect with local media around their role in the race and broader maritime services, while in the ‘city of sails’.
Being able to offer my support was advantageous for both Inmarsat and myself. Not only was I able to provide on-the-ground assistance and advice that otherwise would not have been available, the event provided me with a platform to network and connect with local media, which is a much easier way of making connections rather than cold calls and requests for meetings. The event was a great opportunity for me to get out of the office/house and interact with clients and the media again, but also was a great excuse for me to enjoy the last days of summer and enjoy the Viaduct Harbour in all its glory. It was truly a great event, and Auckland put on quite a show!
My move to Auckland has shown me the importance of having an understanding and flexible colleagues, who are willing to meet you half way and accommodate unexpected changes in your life. For this, I thank Rice. While this arrangement may not last forever, things are working well for now, providing me with focus and structure in a time of change.
Thanks Rice, speak to you tomorrow via Skype!