Being on site Part 1

Introduction

This story is some sort of recap about myself being in the role of an external software developer at a major company. This may sound very normal to you, but for me it was the first time being in that position. The company is located in Hamburg, I worked there from January 2012 until September 2013.
This tells the story about my feelings, the overall experience and lessons learned.

The new city

When this all began I lived in a village in North Rine-Westphalia and was employed at a small company in Dortmund with 15 developers.

When I got the call which informed me about the new project, I was excited and frightened at the same time. Working on something new, meeting new people, getting into a new domain, all the new things. What frightened me was the fact I wasn’t used to the big city life. I was afraid of getting lost and that I couldn’t manage this.
Later it turned out that it was actually very easy for me to find my way and the fear was completely reasonless.

In my first week in December 2011, a colleague showed me everything, the people, the office, things around the office and hotel. Then, in the new year I needed to manage all this alone. And I did.
It always started with buying train tickets on the sunday evenings. Then packing the bag. I hated this so much, but the routine speeded this up.
Traveling to Hamburg by train took me nearly four hours, this required getting up very early to be at the office around 10:00. The big advantage was when I came from the train station, it took only a few minutes of walk to reach the office.

The first weeks were a bit exhausting because I wasn’t used to this kind of life style – being always on the go, carrying everything related in a travel bag. Also using the train more than the car. Until then, I used the car very often, for going to work, for shopping, visiting friends. Then, I didn’t this anymore. Most things where reachable by a short walk, and for everything else there was public transport.

At first I wasn’t sure about traveling longer distances by train, but later on I appreciated it more and more. I figured out all the small things which made my travel experience a lot more comfortable. I also became more relaxed when the train was not on time, having a backup in case of delay and so on.

Obviously I stayed at a hotel. It is comfortable, you don’t need to care about anything. But living in a hotel is only comfortable for a few weeks, a whole year is exhausting. I partially lost the feeling of being home, because I couldn’t be constantly at a single place for a longer time. The thing which annoyed me most was the fact that I nearly always had to have lunch and dinner in a restaurant. There was no real possibility for cooking something by myself. This is also a bit expensive and not healthy in every case.

Next part coming soon.