Thursday, October 27, 2011

The World of Work - Day 30

Work is going great and I'm learning a lot about UAE, the Airline industry and ... office supplies. As my TDS friends know, I love me a good office supply. I love to be organized (or organised as I should be typing now), I love labels and most of all, I love pens and paper. So, imagine my disappointment to find such a lackluster selection of office implements at my new job. Here are just a few of the encounters I've had so far with office supplies.

What? No file folders?
As I said, I like to be organized and for me that means having a clearly labeled file folder for each project I'm working on. Sometime during week one I went to the office guys in the printing room (they dispense the office supplies) and asked for some file folders. They looked at me funny. I thought maybe it was a language thing so I brought one over to show them. No madam, we don't have. (sigh)  Which actually makes sense because I don't have any file drawers in my desk, so how would I store the things anyway? And a hanging file folder? I didn't even try. Now, I see this as a good learning experience to find a new way to keep myself organized (maybe it's time to go completely paperless, which is probably the point of not stocking file folders). So far, I'd give myself a C-, but I'm working on it.

A holey mess
My next encounter was a direct result of the lack of file folders. No file folders? Okay, plan B = binders. I got a couple of binders and a 2-hole punch ... yep only 2 holes. Okay, no worries, I've got a 2-hole punch for 2-ring binders, all is well. ... Until I brought some of my supplies from home to the office. When I came to  the UAE, I brought along a binder, some file folders, my 3-hole punch and a few other things as I needed to assemble my work portfolio for interviewing. I brought all the extra supplies into the office and am just now realizing how little I'll be able to use here.
First, was the problem with my Franklin Covey planner, which is a 6-hole binder and requires a special hole punch ... which I thought I brought with me ... which I cannot find. (sigh) - it's now sitting on a shelf taunting me to be 'highly effective'.
Next was a 3-ring binder, which I thought I had licked because I also have a 3-hole punch. Well, I tried it just yesterday and it won't work either. Because paper is a different size here and the top (or bottom) is actually longer than the binder, so unless I want paper sticking out of the top, the binder (and the punch) will have to go back home too.

The paper chase
As I alluded to above, paper is not 8.5 by 11, it's A4, which is 210 x 297mm or 8.3 by 11.7. Now I know this doesn't seem like a big difference, but try putting an A4 sheet of paper in a sleeve built for 8.5 by 11 ... it doesn't work ... I know, because I've tried it. So now, my very cute, very brightly colored page protector sleeve thingies won't work here either. (sigh) Luckily, my small collection of file folders will accommodate both sizes.

You call that a pen?
Actually pens aren't that bad here. They are cheap ballpoints like most companies use at home (except for Epic, which has some of the nicest pens around - and that Brian keeps tucked away so I don't steal them) but these actually work most of the time. Not sure if it's the warm climate or a different type of ink, but you don't get that clumpy mess you sometimes get with bics back home. Still, as a pen snob, most of what I use I brought from home and my collection of fountain pens is getting a workout, which is nice.

Missing my smelly markers
The biggest disappointment is in the classroom itself. We have whiteboards and flip charts like all classrooms, but we only have whiteboard markers ... that we have to use on the flip charts. I'm a marker snob as well as a pen snob and at TDS made sure we always had a ready supply of "smelly markers". No, not the smelly as in make you gag markers, the smelly as in red smells like strawberry, green smells like pine ... mmm, I miss them. I've been coping, but it's been my biggest trial as whiteboard markers aren't made to work well on flip chart paper.

So, I'm learning to adjust, and just might have to make a trip to the office supply store and see what I can find that fits the sizes and styles here ... wait, is there an office supply store? Surely they must have some - must do a little research.

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