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My day began just like any Dutch employee’s average day working in Holland – pedaling my
stolen recently purchased from a junkie bicycle from a legally licensed business ferociously in the freezing cold tundra Netherlands, trying as fast as humanly possible to get to the bicycle parking garage in order to score a free spot at the nearest train station.
I arrived just with enough time to grab a deliciously deep fried croquette from Febo (warm and squishy, yet with a questionable expiration date), followed by a equally appealing 1 euro kiosk coffee. The Dutch are kindred souls with their American counterparts in the fast food department.
For those unfamiliar with Eurail.com, they are the incredibly good looking folk who issue Europe train passes that can take you to the all of the countries around Europe (it’s a continent) that Rick Steve’s made you salivate over on PBS. It is the ideal way to get around Europe, as flying on budget airlines like Ryan Air is only for people who enjoy hidden fees and a robust corporate raping (check in fee, leg room fee, breathable air fee, seat beat fee, etc), and buses are only for those interested in spending their entire dream vacation sitting next to a peasant who smells like cabbage.
My first day working in Holland, Eurail decided to put me in several different departments to test my office skills and general work aptitude to see where I would be a good fit.
The Social Media Team
“Do you dream of getting drunk out of your mind while chasing German women in dirndls around a beer house? Visit Oktoberfest!”
“How much gluhvein can you drink without pissing yourself?!?! Find out at German Christmas markets!!!”
My task: to come up with Facebook status updates that would inspire those to see the wonders of Europe. After one and half hours I made 7 different inspiring slogans that will no doubt motivate the masses to take a dream vacation by rail. I was a natural.
So what do you think? Pretty good huh?[pause] Yeah…Let’s have you move over to our web team for a bit.
The Web Content Team
Things were moving along well. I hadn’t been in an office environment for awhile, so I was a bit cautious on my first day. But once I moved over to web development, I buckled down and remembered my skills I had learned working at Vodafone in Europe.
[whisper amongst co-workers] Does he have narcolepsy? What is he doing?
My task: go through Eurail’s database of photos for the aforementioned social media team and label them so we can match them with the correct Facebook status update. However, my condition, Attention Deficit Disorder (it’s a disease, my doctor who I pay says so) meant that I needed a constant influx of coffee to keep me overly stimulated. Anything less and I risk getting off task and playing minesweeper or instant messaging co-workers the same question 3 times over.
So what are you doing this weekend? You want to go grab a coffee or a happy hour or something? What are you doing?
It’s only 2 o’clock and you have already had 5 coffees.
So what are you doing later?
The Customer Service Department
“So we would like to ask you some questions to get into the psyche of the American consumer to see how we can better serve them.”
“Oh – I haven’t been back there for like 5 years and don’t watch the news anymore. Do you have any coffee?”
My task: to provide a general opinion of what American’s know about Europe’s rail system.
“So you haven’t been back in 5 years and don’t know talk to them about your travels?”
“No – not really.”
“Well – what do you think American’s know about Eurail?”
“Eh, I don’t know. You guys have trains and stuff. Hey, I will be right back. I just need to grab another coffee. You guys want a coffee? We need to be charged up for happy hour later.”
As the day went on my colleagues I think finally found the area where I could be most effective.
Away from others.
So in the end, working in Holland at Eurail.com was an eye opening experience, 1) because I had about 12 coffees in a six hour window, and 2.) it was humbling to work with people who were so dedicated to make a positive, and memorable European travel experience for their customers, and they did all of this without 12 coffees, 3 games of minesweeper, 13 personal Facebook status updates, stealing office supplies, sending sexually suggestive instant messages to co-workers, copy machining miscellaneous body parts and accidentally leaving a copy in the loading tray, loitering in the smokers exile area in order to mingle with attractive colleagues with nicotine addiction.
I guess I accidentally left those skill sets off my resume.