Interview passed and four days’ notice to pack up all of my things and move to Paris!
With a cocktail of emotions and a long list of things to do; I set off preparing for the move. A different country, a different language and a brand new role. I was busy preparing for the big move; researching my route to and from work, mobile operators to use abroad, emergency numbers, halal butchers and the logistics of carrying everything that I needed to take. I was also busy hunting for a hotel nearby the office with internet for when I arrived and an available apartment to settle into later.
When I first arrived at Paris Gare du Nord after taking the Eurostar; hearing everyone speaking French and having to carry all of my luggage – it finally sank in.
The work environment was notably different with a casual/smart dress code and everyone leaving the office for lunch breaks. The CDS test stream that I was a part of was relatively small, with few testers and many projects. I was one of the first consultants to embark upon the ONYX automation System Integrator Testing ETP which made this even more of an exciting opportunity. The first few weeks were an intense few weeks, with lots of information packed in and presentations back to back each day. Unaware of what to expect I took the bull by the horns and gave it my best. To ensure that we had an overall view of how the testing automation would fit into the entire process; we had training on the Murex Agile methodology practices being used for the different types of projects. Luckily when I arrived summer was in full bloom perfect for picnics in the park with colleagues and lots of site seeing! I would recommend visiting Versailles, Chantilly and Nantes – the castles, gardens and the machine museum are a must see!
Training done – time to get stuck in. After the training had finished I was assigned multiple projects to work on simultaneously as the go-to contact for the automations required for each of the projects. A daunting yet exciting experience where I was able to manage and prioritise heavy workloads efficiently. Meetings were sometimes difficult to follow when the language shifted to French, so I decided to take some French classes to help with the language barriers. One of the biggest challenges I faced was to host meetings with the senior PM and solution architect on my own but this was a great opportunity for me to develop my skills.
After a few months in the role I was beginning to get into the swing of things with continuous learning on the job; dependant on the requirements of the projects that I was assigned to. I found that in managing clients I had to be methodical in my approach; ensuring that the words chosen were without any ambiguity especially when I noticed the direct translation from French to English did not always mean the same! Using measurables; asking for specific examples of issues that the client has and if a proposed solution with an ETA would remedy the situation. Keeping focused on what the client wanted to achieve; instead of placing effort on insignificant issues. As the saying goes, “Don’t waste time trying to fight the symptoms whilst ignoring the disease”. I found that it was also important to challenge the client on the requests made to check that they were feasible and relevant to the overall goal.
One of the higlights in Paris was the monthly socials with fellow Excelian collegues working at Murex which was a good opportunity to reconnect over some good food and drink. Speaking of food; the quality and selection of fish, bread and desserts there were so good.
Before I knew it, my time at Murex had come to an end; with a multitude of handover packages, trainings and run-books created. I ended my time at Murex with a bang; the renowned Murex Jamboree party was held in the Louvre du Carousel which had an Arabic theme and many different activities to do inside. My team also took me out for lunch on my last day and my manager did a speech to thank me for all of my hard work which was really unexpected. Overall, my time was very well-utilised; I learnt some great new skills, met some fantastic people, got to explore another country and develop as an individual.