Going to Toronto

It’s been an exciting time at work these last few weeks. The software that we are developing needs to be changed in a fundamental way, and this change is so big that it would take too long to do internally. We have found a business partner that can perform the work faster, and I am part of the team that handles our side of this project. Now things have taken an interesting step forward.

Nearly all of my time during the past few weeks have been spent on describing, planning, and negotiating the details of the project. What makes this so interesting and challenging (apart from being a huge project with a sobering cost) is that the partner is located in Toronto, Canada. There is a six-hour time difference, so many many meetings have taken place via phone conference, where our team sits around a phone in Vienna and the partner team sits in Toronto. Sometimes we also use a web video connection to share and collaborate on documents.

The fact that I am fluent in English has been a great advantage for me and for the team. In the German-speaking countries, everything on television is dubbed into German, so people here don’t get much chance to practice their English. I must admit though that I am a little surprised and pleased to hear that several of my colleagues are not all that bad after all. To me though, I don’t care what language is required; I just flip the switch in my head and start speaking. Since moving to Austria, I have had very little opportunity to use this skill.

The project planning and negotiations have now advanced to the point where we are nearly ready to start for real. Top management has decided that the team needs to visit the partner in Toronto In order to quickly iron out the last important points. This is so short-term that there are no regular plane tickets available. I’m excited about the chance to get to fly transatlantic (direct!) on business class! That certainly is not cheap, and I intend to appreciate it. When have I last relaxed in a business lounge? But the trip is purely business; there is no time to play tourist and see Niagara Falls. With a little luck I’ll find time to jump into a cab and pick up a shirt from Hard Rock Cafe to prove I was really there.

I am excited about my participation in the project so far and in the face-to-face meeting. It is very confirming to me that I am needed so much that it is worth sending me over there, and I feel that I am doing a good job. And I am going to Toronto!

2 Responses to “Going to Toronto”


  • Jan Gundtofte-Bruun

    Have a nice trip!

    One tip for the flight: Don’t get too excited about the free drinks and many video channels — you need to get some sleep! It’s nice with proper food, though.

    Oh and don’t do as I did on my first business-class trip; I accidentally turned my duffel bag upside down and spilled the contents over several rows of the compartment … that was awkward.

  • Duffel bag? On a business trip? I’ll be wearing a striped suit and carrying an attaché case. Mom will be proud! It’s a midday trip, so there will be no sleeping. We will be working on the trip, finalizing the meeting agenda and such. I think I will sleep when I’m home again, or rather, when we’ve moved to Korneuburg. Then I can sleep!

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