Hallo, mein Name ist.
I’ll remember this first day at Zalando forever. What a great opportunity to be where I was today. It hits me how huge this company is, not just employee wise (11k) but growth wise. People have come from all over the world to work here, for this company, for fashion, for tech and for Berlin. I feel so lucky to be employed and one of them.
8:15am at the front desk said the email. I arrive at 8:05 which is great timing for me and I see a queue of people all walking across from one building to another.. A sign says ‘newbies’, yup that’s me and it seems I’m late (even though I’m not). Predictably, I’m at the back of the queue being the last to arrive.
I love my new monochrome welcome tote bag that describes life at the moment, ‘new job. new bag. new everything. me x zalando.’ With 84 other newbies in the room, it definitely felt like being at school again. I suddenly became the shy 12 year old I once was whilst eating a berry and oat breakfast with my trusty English breakfast tea in the corner trying not to look uncomfortably alone. Brain: ‘Shall I grab something else to eat to look busy? Yes, I want that baby croissant’. Then a group of three gave me that look to say ‘hey, you’re alone’, at this point the croissant bits are all over my mouth. ‘Heeey,’ I say, ‘I’m just here, eating alone in the corner,’ lightheartedly. I laugh. I join them. Vanamo was Finnish, Alicia was Spanish and Safir was Parisian — all with their own story and reasons for moving and being in Berlin. Once upon a time, we were all in the same position being new to the country, they knew a lot more than me and straight away I learnt things.
Speaking to various people, the recurring question was ‘what office are you in?’, my response being like huh, ‘where are you based?’ I thought in everyone else’s mind we all work in the same office, no? In the building we stand in right now? Who knew (everyone) that the intro day was in the main building and different departments are based in other offices. There are 5 Zalando offices in Berlin — news to my blocked ears. I had no idea all day what the answer to this question was I kept getting asked all day by different people. It became stupidly humorous how I couldn’t know. Turns out, I was correct, I am based in the building we were in all day. I’m not totally useless, just as I thought.
I think it’s meant to be when you connect with particular people. I’ll never forget meeting the people I did today, I spent the whole day with them and they’re going on the Zalando journey as newly as I am. Already, we connect and we’re excited for our times ahead. Then tomorrow I get to meet my team, even more daunting I find.
My outfit wasn’t the most perfect thing I had in mind. How ‘fashionable’ really is this place? Was a mini skirt too much for a first day meeting people? (Naaaahah). I wore my burnt orange mini with my suede calf boots (it is still 2 degrees). My BDG navy shirt and to tone it down my grey jersey jumper with weird sleeves. Then the usual scarf, coat, gloves as you can’t go without that. As I’ve no mirror in my room I’ve no idea what I actually look like head to toe but whatever, it’s my first day and it’s time to leave the flat with a large weird graze on my 80 denier tights. Leggo.
After numerous speakers about the company, a nose bleed in the middle, breaks, more activities and pizza for lunch it became a long day staying in one room and listening for so long. There was so much to take in, I definitely don’t remember everything I got told today but I’m new and I’ll allowed to be new for about 3 months so it’s all good.
3:30pm is the end of the intro day, I find my selected new group of friends and we go for (another) coffee. We headed to Mitchell Hotel café which I actually read about in my Berlin book. It reminded me of Hoxton Hotel or Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. That freelancer working kind of café that’s, like, totally cool to hang out in. ‘This place is SO Berlin’.
I had the best day meeting/being with people, that, I think was the highlight of the day. Being in a different country starting from scratch, I already adore people who make my Berlin story.