September 06, 2017
Alycia Lim

Hanoi – Perspectives of a Newcomer

The mind is often filled with excitement, curiosity, and anticipation on the first day of work. You ask yourself questions: are the people nice? Will I be a good fit for the role? Did I make the right decision to move? 

Almost three months into my new role at Rice Communications, I’m glad to say that the answer is a wholehearted yes, to all the questions above. There’s something about the Rice culture and people that you don’t get in many places. 

In Good Time and Place 
I joined Rice just before the company’s annual offsite held in Hanoi, Vietnam, this year, and was fortunate to be able to join in on the trip. This meant that I could get to know the people who work with me on a daily basis better, beyond the office confines. I knew how valuable this trip was going to be even before we set off. Past experiences have taught me that it is possible to work in the same office as someone else, without really knowing who they are. Looking back, the trip certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s amazing how a few days of quality time can make such a big difference in developing good rapport.

However, as one who values alone time after a long day, I was a little concerned about rooming with an unfamiliar face. Thankfully, those concerns were quickly dismissed as I was assigned to room with a colleague who coincidentally, had very similar interests as myself. Fairly reserved in social settings, she shared about her passion projects over quality one to one conversations – something I would have never known from our brief encounters at the office. 


It’s Okay to Fail 
The offsite was also a time for the management team to share the highlights of the year. As a newcomer, it was refreshing to hear from our partners Sonya and James as they shared their thoughts and insights about the organisation, and plans they have for the future. 

Although many things were said that day, what really stood out for me was the idea of embracing failure, and learning from it. In a country where failure is often frowned upon, having the leaders of a company openly express their acceptance for failure was a refreshing take. It was a seal of approval for Ricers as we continue to push ourselves and explore new territories. 

I also appreciated the good balance of activities and free time allocated during the offsite. Instead of packing our schedules with back to back activities, the organising committee gave us the luxury to explore Hanoi in our own time.  Of course, we completed many fun activities as a group, like running around the Old Quarter during the “Amazing Race” and tasting our own morning glory salads at cooking class; but it is surprising how much you can learn about others when going on a self-planned food trail, or a simple foot massage. 

Personally, this trip could not have happened at a better time. Hanoi certainly lived up to its reputation of being a place full of wonderful surprises. Beyond the coconut coffees and bun cha, it is suffice to say that I left with a group of colleagues and returned with a group of friends.