Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Day in the Life of...

Well dear readers, you are probably wondering how I am getting on day to day in the crazy world of work. I thought I would try to summarise this in a tried and tested PR format: A Day in the Life of…Please note that some incidents have been amalgamated into one day for dramatic effect. I don’t want you getting bored!

7.30 – 8. am. Wake up, snuggly and warm underneath my duvet. Yes, DUVET. The air con is a little fierce at times so a duvet is completely necessary. To paint the picture more for you, I am also wearing winter pyjamas at this point too. Sometimes, not always, cashmere bed socks.

Open the curtains. As yet the excitement of looking out over Dubai hasn’t yet faded. As we’re on the 27th floor, it’s a pretty good view. It’s actually been really hazy since I arrived, but the last few days have been much clearer, today I could see the Burj Al Arab in the distance (see photo!), and also the ‘World Islands’. Amazing.

Get ready for work – won’t bore you with these details but it does involve getting dressed quite quickly. (Fierce air con). If you’re interested, the business dress code is much the same as the UK. I wear the same clothes as I did in Manchester. Smarter if anything. That said as I’m working in an ad agency the dress code can be very casual on the creative side. Someone has just walked past me in a one-shoulder lycra top, another with wrap-around aviators (inside).

As I get ready I keep one eye on the view from window to see if any taxis are approaching the apartment. When I see one in the distance, I scamper off downstairs. Being so high up means I have time to apply lipstick in the lift on the way down.

8.30 – 8.35 am. Exit building. Take deep intake of breath as hit by wall of heat and sunshine. Clamp sunglasses firmly onto face. Hail cab from outside building. Depending on the traffic this can take anything from 1-5 minutes. After 5 minutes you really feel the heat and I’m already starting to flag.

Enter cab. Explain to taxi driver where I need to go. 95% of the time they a) cannot understand me b) have no idea where I mean. Through the time honoured Brits Abroad tradition of waving hands, smiling and talking loudly, we manage to navigate.

8.40 am. Arrive at work. Yes it is really that close to the apartment. Run inside through the heat, saying hello to the army of Indian men who are outside the building. I’m not sure exactly what they all do. Some are valet parking, some directing the traffic, some seem to be there just to greet us. There is a plethora of people throughout the building, cleaning, tidying, delivering mail and making drinks – generally looking after us. We’re very lucky! I have yet to enter the toilet without finding someone cleaning, polishing, and folding the toilet roll into a point.

My office is very space age/James Bond. I’ve been in a lot of advertising and creative agencies over the years and this is definitely the coolest. To enter reception you have to walk through a steel tunnel! Lots of primary colors, pop art, a basketball court (no, really) a brainstorming area with grass (no, really) and of course, table football and a pool table.

Then follows the usual working day, taking briefs, coming up with strategy, ideas, writing, speaking to the media. I won’t bore you with it all!

11.30 am It normally takes me until mid-morning to become extremely cold. The air con is fierce here too (see a pattern emerging), so I spend much of the day sitting on my hands trying to warm them up. sometiems my nose runs!

1.00 pm Nip downstairs to café for lunch. The office complex is amazing, think Canary Warf meets Salford Quays. Lots of gardens, fountains, bridges and walkways, and places to eat and drink. At this point I normally go outside and stand in the searing heat for 5 minutes to try to warm up. My colleagues laugh at me!

Continue working. Marvel at the cacophony of different languages that I hear outside my office door. It’s a real cultural melting pot here, colleagues are from a diverse range of countries including: Egypt, Canada, India, Germany, Israel and Lebanon. Oh, and Bournemouth and Manchester too!

6.30 pm. Head outside, either try to hail a taxi, or cadge a lift home. Despite the heat at this point I can usually stand outside for half an hour at least with no problem at all. The air con gets into your bones!

Get home and discuss day with fellow flat mates. We’re sharing with a fab New Yorker and a Scot, I’d like to think the set up is more ‘This Life’ than Big Brother. Either eat out or have dinner on the balcony, with Sheikh Zayed road below. The traffic does not stop until at least 10 pm. How does anyone ever get home?

Fall into bed dreaming of sunshine and camels. No, I really did dream about camels one night!

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