4th of August 2008 I have started to work as a Technical System Analyst in the company Agresso R&D AS in Oslo. The company provides services in the development of the main product Agresso Busines World (shorty Agresso or ABW), Implementation, Consulting, Training, Support services.
Agresso was a Norwegian brainchild but was sold to Dutch company Unit4 which was further sold to the American investment fund. The company has changed a name to Unit4 and the main product name to Unit4 Business World.
After an easy and slow ride of about roughly two hours by bus, transfer to train, transfer to the subway from little place Svelvik where I have temporarily settled until I find an apartment in Oslo finally I have arrived around 09 o’clock as agreed.
Registration – On your mark, get set, go!
The first task upon arrival was of course to register at the desk and I was waiting for my team leader to arrive so we can move on. The same register procedure I had in April when I was on a Job interview so I was familiar with registration.
Immediately I have received an entry card and it was not just an entry card to enter the building but much more and I will figure that out during the day.
I was waiting for my team leader next to the refreshment area for the guests. After a short wait, my team leader has arrived. We have greeted each other and from here starts my first-day escapades.
Facility Tour – First Round
First, we went to our department area to be more precise to the coffee machine and refreshment area see we can take some refreshments. To my big surprise, all the refreshments are for free and that includes Caffe, hot chocolate, Mocca, chocolate coffee, hot water for tea, water, gas water, etc.
Later I have found out that the biggest complaint among employees was a coffee machine in a yearly survey.
After taking refreshments we moved into the meeting room where I was introduced to the schedule and plan for the day. The briefing was really short and we went to pick my new laptop. I got HP 8501w with Samsonite sporty bag and Nokia E66 mobile phone. Really high-quality devices for the year 2008.
Nokia mobile phones
Imagine this just a decade ago in the year 2008 the whole company was equipped with Nokia phones. Nokia was at that time the most popular in the world of mobile phones. How the mobile phone market is cannibalistic shows the fact that already in the year 2011 all the employees got iPhone 3s as a Christmas present.
Finally, we have arrived at my desk. In Agresso like in many other Norwegian companies, open landscape is the standard seating deployment. There are no classic offices with separate rooms rather all are on the same floor and share the same space. However, there are panels that can give you privacy to some extent and separate each working desk.
My team leader has apologized since my desk was a little bit isolated and further away from the rest of our team due to the fact that there are some constriction works. But I was promised that I will get a new location closer to the team in near future. Personally did not bother me at all anyway everything was a few meter distance so no problem at all.
It was not like in the photo above but very close. All in all working area really cool, ergonomic chair, desk really big, and two TFT 19″ monitors with a docking station to plug in the laptop with mouse and keyboard connections. Next to the desk, there is a cabinet to keep your staff.
In the Samsonite bag that I got with my laptop were several sheets of paper with basic instructions on how to log on, install network printer, printing procedure, and few more pieces of information.
Just to mention that in my second company in Norway when I have changed my first job there were no dedicated working places since this is a consultancy company and the business philosophy is to spend more time with clients in the field.
I got a pot with flower with the explanation that this is in Norwegian tradition to get the plant on the first day as a sign of growing professionally as a plant grows and take care of both your career and plant growth. Flowers are not my thing but really nice tradition and gesture.
Next, I docked my laptop and turned it on, logged on, and changed the password. Finally, I opened Outlook and Internet Explorer just to make sure my network and internet connections are working. Suddenly, a hail of meeting invitations popped up on my screen for the next few days.
There was not much time to go through all the invitations because it was a time for my first meeting. In the meeting room, I was introduced to a new Norwegian colleague who started the same day as me. His name is Torbjørn and I forget it immediately as he probably forgot my name as well so we were on equal terms.
Torbjørn (meaning of the name)
When I arrived in Norway I did not speak not a single word of Norwegian and I did not know too much about Norway either. In a meantime, I have learned some Norwegian. Now I know the meaning of the name Torbjørn. Bjørn means bear and Tor comes from the Nordic god Thor. So Torbjørn means Thor’s bear.
In the meeting, we have been introduced to the company’s intranet. A nice feature is to have a building layout and where each employee is seating with data about employee, title, phone number, email address, and etc. We have been introduced to Outlook calendars, how to send the meeting invitations, and check the calendars of other colleagues.
Colleagues Introduction & Photo Session
After the meeting, we have been introduced to the colleagues in the department and a small chat with each of them. Very international environment with predominantly Norwegians, but lots of Swedes as well, some American, South Africa, Singapore, etc. Many colleagues are on a summer vacation.
It is time for taking the photos for companies intranet. Later we got the photos in an email and we can pick one that we like. If do not like any we can go back and take another shot.
Facility Tour – Second Round
Let’s stretch our legs and take a tour of the building since several floors are occupied by our employees. It is very interesting that counting the floors is different. There is no such thing as the ground floor. The ground floor is the first floor and what is for me first floor is the second floor in the Norwegian floor’s counting system.
We have checked the garage where employees can park their cars. This privilege of having company’s parking is not very common in Oslo but since I have recently arrived I believe it will take some time before considering buying the car.
We have ended our tour in the company’s canteen. The offer in the canteen is diverse to say at least. There are boiled eggs, fish, pate, soups, cooked and fried meals, salad bar, spreads, salad dressings, etc. Bread and milk are for free. Salads are sold by weight other dishes and food have prices. To pay of course we use the card that we have obtained when we arrived.
Entry card is used for the elevator, entering different floors and special rooms, printing.
To print virtual network printer is used and that enables printing on any printer in the company. Only on first use of the printer’s PUK code is necessary and later just swipe the card and print.
At the end of the day, I was feeling like Alice in Wonderland. Too many new faces, company policies to remember, English language but I was aware that every beginning is hard.
This was one of my biggest challenges but I was thrilled with the given opportunity and I know that this will improve my life and career tremendously.
Who Dares Wins.
What Happened Next
In the first few months, we have attended many interesting courses related to the ERP system. That is a super useful and fantastic approach to get as much knowledge as possible in the shortest amount of time. Although I had previous ERP system experience I did not know anything about Agresso so courses have helped me enormously.
All in all, I have spent three years in the company and learned a lot about Agresso.
What To Do Next
Job is just one step in the process of integrating into Norwegian society. My priorities were to try to accomplish as many as possible tasks prior arrival of my wife and my son since I preferred to spent time with family when they arrive rather than being occupied with something else. In addition, I knew that my wife and my son will need support in their process of integrating so it would be better to focus on their integration rather than my own.
I have been focused on all the requirements for permanent residence in Norway imposed by the bureaucracy.
Here are the steps that I have followed:
- Rent Apartment (personal necessity rather than bureaucracy demand)
- Norwegian Language Course
- Recognition of Diploma
- Obtaining a Norwegian Driving License
- Family Visit Visa
- Gathering documentation for Family Reunion application
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Author: Dejan Mladenovic
I moved my family of 3 to Norway in 2008 and created this website so that I can share what I’ve learned with anyone that’s thinking of moving or traveling to Norway. It’s such an awesome place, and I want you to get the most out of it!