Working... Italian style.
Things are a bit different now, when it comes to the way we work........
Let's just say - gone are the days we adorned nice business suits and, in Paari's case, 3 inch heels. Our work clothes now consist of several pairs of jeans and, on 'let's work on DIY projects' days, tattered farmer pants and shorts. Nice watches, briefcases, ties are all a thing of the past. We don't even know where we have stored our clothes from our previous work-life! We'd be lying if we said we didn't (and don't) feel liberated.
A nice car? Ha! No, the mode of transport is now a Ford truck. With our beautiful Golo logo (we never shy away from blatant advertising) on the side so everyone and we mean everyone knows when we are on the move. People have actually stopped us while we are driving to say hello and chat. Who needs road rules!
We use the backroads to get from home to Poggio Golo and see the most stunning vistas on the way. We have to now consciously remind ourselves to look at them. As with any other place, having spent a bit of time here, even the spectacular has now become normal.
Communication and Meetings
Phone is preferred over e-mail.
And a meeting is preferred over phone.
Why be efficient and resolve a list of 10 items via e-mail when you can have a 4 hour meeting and resolve nothing instead? At least you had a long chiacchierata (chat) and (almost always) a ton of belly laughs.
Meetings without agendas or action points.
Meetings where a discussion is more important than a decision being made.
Meetings where the commercialista's (accountant's) big black labrador comes bouncing into the room, while we are all on a Zoom call, for a (long) cuddle and that is totally okay.
Meetings which end abruptly because.....lunch.
Our Monday morning team meetings are a bit of everything: work, gossip, moaning, therapy and everything in between.
We may have also been guilty of taking two charming if naughty King Charles Spaniels to work with us. Someone has to run the meeting...
Funny one this. Often when we send an email it appears that the recipient feels the need to respond immediately. And therefore also wonders why we were bothering them on a Saturday/Sunday. We have had to make the point that we are trying to get things off our desks (and yes, we are crazy enough to work over the weekend -- shock, horror) and don't expect a response within seconds. Not sure they believe the stranieri (foreigners) though.
Italian bureacracy is...how you say....uh...SUPER TOP! (Imagine us saying that with all appropriate Italian hand gestures). 🤌🏼
We thought we had had good training from previous countries where we have lived on how to deal with long drawn out processes and paperwork, but nothing prepared us for this unbelievably complicated form-filling, line-waiting and frustration-inducing system. Hats off Italia.
A slight digression for a short (and not so sweet) example:
- it took Paari precisely 7 minutes to renew her UAE driving licence. She went to an ATM-like machine, stuck in her driving licence, went to the next door optometrist for an eye test, came back to the machine and voila! The new licence was spat out in seconds -- and the remainder of the half day Paari had allocated to the process was spent on trying to get over how quick the process was.
while back in Italia...
- Paari needed to apply for an electronic carta di soggiorno (residence card) -- a trip was made to the local post office (a number of government processes and applications are managed by the PO) and an application submitted. This was in March. Paari was given a date to visit the immigration department at the appropriate Questura (preccint) for...wait for it....July. Yep. 4 months later.
July comes and we drive to Siena for Paari's appointment, having agreed in advance that a cappuccino and a cornetto will be our reward at the end.
We are told that the application has been duly received and all documents are in order (tell us something we don't know 😊). We are then told that it will now take 3...(at this point, Paari is thinking: 3 hours? and Niall is thinking: 3 days?).....wrong! 3 months.
It will take 3 months for the electronic residence card to be processed and issued. So a process that started in March will likely end in October. If Mrs OT is lucky.
Maybe we should have asked the machine in Dubai if it would like to emigrate.
Until next time!
Paari & Niall
PS: Look out for our next post on the 2023 harvest -- it promises to be epic.