I have a meeting with the mayor and the aldermen this morning. That sounds so much more important than it is, because actually it’s a meeting with all of us new folks in the city hall, so it’s not like I’m having a one on one with them :-).
I like to think of myself as not being status sensitive, but unfortunately that is not the case. Meeting the mayor makes me nervous, because he is the mayor after all! And I have a big problem with knowing what “protocol” I should be using. Dutch language has two ways of adressing people, the polite form and the informal form. Having grown up speaking lots of english, my tendency is to be informal with everyone. My formal form creaks and groans from lack of use. And I’m always unsure as to what is “done” in a situation like this. May I or may I not use first names? Shake hands with everybody? Wear slippers (which I am, because they match my shirt, and it’s going to be a sunny day) In the city hall, I see a big difference in what people use as far as adressing people. Some are relatively informal and others are formal, leaving me in a muddle of insecurity. Sometimes I end up using both forms mixed up together which makes me sound slightly ridiculous.
On Thursday there’s lunch with the director, also with my other new colleagues. I appreciate the effort that’s being made to get to know us! Makes for a much nicer work atmosphere. So far, as a place of work, this is turning out to be a really good place, belaying all my fears of coming into an organisation of pencil pushing government officials.