100 Days in Dublin — Lessons learned
I arrived in Dublin in November 2021 – extremely excited, a bit anxious, with my heart and eyes wide open to take in this new adventure: relocation. The past three months here were like a rollercoaster: building your entire life from scratch is exciting yet tiring. In general, I can say that the key factor to being able to change your life from one end to another is people. Always people. In this blog, I want to share with you three main circles of people that I can say, hands down, made and continue to make my relocation such an amazing experience. I want to emphasize that this isn’t Disneyland, and I have days when I feel extremely lonely and overwhelmed. But in this blog, I want to focus on what helps me get through the challenges and not focus on the challenges themselves. Those might come up in a different blog.
One of the main reasons I joined LinkedIn was its company culture. Company culture can be a very tricky and fluffy term because it’s not always clear what it means, and when we talk about a global company with sites all over the world, we must expect major differences between different sites. Yet, whoever I spoke with before joining LinkedIn mentioned that the reason they joined was because of its company culture. And now, three months later, I can fully agree. Being new is challenging and overwhelming, and the fact that many of us work from home makes it that much harder to build relationships. Catching up over coffee, having lunch together, and spending time beyond work is hard to initiate as you want to do anything other than generate more “screen time” when you end a hectic day of Zoom meetings. You could feel trapped, since the main platform to meet your colleagues is through screens. However, when offering help or performing an act of kindness, whether or not you are on those platforms has little significance. I have the pleasure to connect on a daily basis with people who are willing to share their knowledge and experience regardless of their seniority, which team they belong to, or the amount of time it will take. Being an Israeli, it took me a while to let go of the alertness and suspiciousness towards goodwill and embrace that some people can be just nice and willing to help.
The closer circle of people that make the difference is my closest team: “Sell-Aviv”. This team has an interesting mixture of backgrounds, ages, and career paths. When I just arrived in Dublin, we met for drinks and I felt like it was an opening line for a joke: “An Irish, Spanish, German, Norwegian, Swedish, and an Israeli met at a bar” – but it was literally a team dinner. Being in a team that has such a great mixture of people with different backgrounds has the potential of creating a cultural crisis. However, I feel that in my case, it created diversity that gives every person an opportunity to have their unique place and gives the other team members an opportunity to learn from them. One of the many examples that emphasized the power of a strong team for me was when we were invited to one of the team member’s parents’ house for the weekend. She grew up in a rural town in Ireland, and being invited to her home to meet her parents and actually work at their farm, was an outstanding experience for me that increases stickiness between team members and the feeling of belonging.
My friends who became my family
Building a life from scratch is challenging in many respects, and as an extremely social person, the challenge of building my closest circle was what I was most afraid of. Back in Israel, I have friends who long ago were upgraded to the level of family members, and I know that they are with me no matter where I am around the world. But at the same time, in order to feel at home in a new place, I knew I had to find people who could be my local family. Luckily, it took me one week to find my “sister from another mister”. Surprisingly, although we were both from Israel and had mutual friends, we have never met until we both relocated to Dublin. And on top of that, we are neighbours and both work for LinkedIn. Having someone close who shares the same background, speaks the same mother tongue, and understands your culture is priceless. I love working globally and meeting new people and new cultures, but I always feel at home when I speak Hebrew.
Looking forward here are my two cents
I know it might sound like I live in a fairy tale, but there are also challenging days when everything gets overwhelming and hard to comprehend. However, I feel over and over, that having the right people at the right time to speak with, brainstorm with, or just go out with, puts everything in a better perspective. I think that I was very lucky that I had to start from scratch because it made me rethink friendships, priorities, and what I would like my circles to look like. I believe that this is something that can be done at any stage in our lives, with or without relocation.