There were many reasons why I thought I didn’t want to work in London. I think it was mainly fear of the unknown, yes I’d been shopping in London but I’d always had someone who knew how to get places and knew how The Underground worked. I thought that working in London would mean 1 and a half hours of commuting misery where I’d get lost and probably mugged.
Luckily for me, familiarity brought understanding – of the mainline trains, The Underground and which areas were next to each other in the centre. Only today, I found out that if I walk west along the Strand that I stumble upon Trafalgar Square within about 5 minutes! I really am learning something new every day at the moment.
I think the move from working in Sh*tewater, Woking to Covent Garden, London has been made a lot easier for me for the fact that I only had to get to know the area, not a new job position and new colleagues. The whole company had to move location and luckily for us office space in London was cheaper than in Woking! Our office is overlooking a street that leads directly to ‘The Square’ and you can walk to it using less than 15 paces.
The modern decor coupled with the historical aspects of the Center create a striking contrast in this beautiful listed building.
S- – – – – – Street boasts delightful features such as an original ornamental well in a meeting room, an atrium and wrought iron spiral staircases. The building has a cosy feel to it and areas such as the chill out room in the basement complete with MTV makes it a very pleasant environment to work and relax in.
Source: From The Building owner’s website
Yes, we have Sky in our ‘Chill Out Room’ along with a free table-football game; all that’s missing is a free beer with a gorgeous barman serving the drinks. The building is an old town house, so it has a lot of the old features such as wooden panelling on the walls, ornamental staircases, heavy doors and that weird well in one of the meeting rooms. Along with these features the modern extras make it an office building with a twist. There are free tea/coffee/hot choc machines (as good as any Starbucks), funky orange headboard type padding on the backs of doors, air conditioning, water filters, brushed stainless steel light fittings, uplighters and large coloured spots of carpet around the place – all very trendy.
I’m Supposed to be Working?
This place (office and town) is such a culture change. Woking (W) was stuffy, headache inducing with 1 window, Covent Garden (CG) has high ceilings, air-conditioning and 4 large windows. W there were 11 of us crammed into 1 small office, CG we are now spread between 2 large rooms – so much space. W we had old, slow computers, CG has brand new Dells with 19″ flat screens. W lunchtimes we had a choice of supermarket, Sh*tewater shopping parade or for special occasions the best of a bad bunch of 3 pubs, CG in comparison is off the planet – we could go to a different place each day for the next 5 years! W shopping was the Peacocks or the Peacocks, CG you’ve got the market, hundreds of designer shops, high street shops, any kind of shop a girl could wish for. Anyway, I think you get the point.
London’s Rat Race
The commute in is actually quite amusing and not at all stressful, which is something I didn’t expect. The only negative things in it are that I have to wake up at 6.15am and the crazy price of parking/travel, but these should hopefully lessen when I get my act together and find a flat in or very near London. The train journey is 50-55 minutes, this is brilliant as it gives me a chance to do some reading – something that I rarely give myself time to do normally – and also you can catch up with your thoughts in relative peace and quiet.
Waterloo is always heaving with people and it is quite a struggle to get from platform 3 or 4 all the way to the other end without having someone bump into you or completely cut you up. Everyone is in such a rush, do they really love their job that much? Probably not – they all look very pissed off and it’s probably the sooner they get in, the earlier they can leave in the evening.
The office is a brisk 15 minute walk from Waterloo, over Waterloo bridge and along the Strand, and it is quite a nice walk – giving me my Government recommended 30 mins of exercise (not sure if you’re allowed it split into 2, but it’s better than nothing).
Cheeky pints after work are brilliant, and something I’ve not been able to do since being in Edinburgh city centre, and I am enjoying meeting the odd friend or two for a chat or bite to eat before heading home. It will all be so much better when I move nearer.
Update 07 June 2005: Found another negative to the commute – the wind over Waterloo bridge messes up my hair so badly that I wonder what the point of washing/brushing/drying/straightening it is. I also find it strange that my hair goes straight up in the air when the wind blows and no other girl has even a strand out of place.