April 2004
Living in America...
Whenever I hear that it always reminds me of the film Rocky. Now that song will be in my head all day long... A while ago, I was asked to write an article because last year I relocated with my job to Connecticut, USA. The newsletter team thought it would be of interest to others so here goes!
I'd worked at Pfizer in Sandwich (UK) for nearly 6 years when early last year an opportunity came up for me to work in Pfizer New London (USA). Initially I thought it may be a secondment but quickly realized that only a permanent move was available. I was apprehensive at first because a permanent job sounded so final. I'd also enjoyed working in Sandwich – the people were fantastic and the work I'd been doing was great. It's quite difficult to leave everything and everyone you know.
After a lot of discussion with my manager and of course with my husband, we decided to give it a go. From that moment it was non-stop. The relocation process was extremely well organized with a number of people helping me do everything I needed to. I imagine the company wanted to move my family and I as painlessly as possible. The visa approval process is more stringent since the 9/11 tragedy and it was unclear how long the process may take. At the time it felt like we were being swept along and before I knew it I was working in New London. From when we first discussed the opportunity, it was only 5 months before I was working in the US.
Having sold our house and shipped our belongings over, we rented a house on the beach for the first 3 months (paradise!). I arrived alone and began working, whilst my husband tied up loose ends back in the UK. The weather was still hot at that time and it felt extremely strange, but it didn't feel like I was living here permanently at all, more of just a long work trip. Everyone at work was friendly, but as you know when joining another company it takes time to settle in. I say another company, even though it was still Pfizer, it was a different place, different people, different culture and of course lots of eating establishments. (My husband and I had this incredible urge to try every restaurant and new type of food going, which did not do much good for my waistline I can tell you!).
I was always under the impression that we worked slightly differently to our colleagues in the US. Yes we have global processes but there were local issues taken into account. On settling down and working with different people I started to notice that we were working more similarly than I had realized. It is invaluable having the UK experience to contrast how things are done here and also assess the communication of information across the sites. I still communicate regularly with my colleagues in the UK and exchange information. It seems that everyone is so relaxed here, and a firm balance between work and home life is obvious.
Having been here for nearly 14 months, my husband and I have settled in extremely well. We are looking forward to seeing lot's of new places and really living life to the full. There are so many opportunities here for different activities all within the Connecticut vicinity. From skiing in the winter to sailing in the summer, there really is something for everyone and Connecticut is so picturesque. I can see this being a popular holiday location for my friends and family.
Belinda Field
Clinical Study Operations Manager
Pfizer Global Research and Development
New London, Ct, USA