Losing my zeds.

The Rogue Zed

I fought, I really did. One year of living in the UK, and I managed to maintain my z’s. Organization had one. Realize had one. Hell, ‘z’ was even called ‘zee’ rather than ‘zed.’

Two and a half weeks of working as a copywriter/editor in Glasgow will change one’s spelling.

The ‘u’ in ‘humour’ and ‘behaviour’ and ‘colour’ were easy, I had used them since moving over here and had, in an experimental turn in high school, managed to tick off several of my teachers who pleaded with me to spell like an American. I eventually acquiesced when my creative writing teacher got annoyed with my use of ‘whilst.’

Since coming over to the UK, I’ve embraced the previously taboo spelling. I assimilated ‘whilst’ into my vocabulary. Pants became trousers immediately (and well, undies remained undies or became pants or knickers). Favourite pub discussions became discussing language differences with my British friends and sometimes in the company of another American, one who wasn’t trying to assimilate as much as I.

Theater became theatre. Center became centre. Rotaries turned to roundabouts. Wrench became spanner. As a joke my mum sent me a British-American dictionary, which I haven’t really opened because I’ve committed a lot of the differences to memory..

I held onto my precious ‘z’s. That is, until my boss was reading what I had edited and pointed out, ‘There’s a zed there.’

‘Oops,’ I replied and promptly changed it.

‘There’s a rogue zed there,’ he said a few minutes later. ‘And another one.’

Since then, I’ve become hyper aware of zeds. And calling them zeds. I’ve renounced the ‘zee’…oh blast.

10 things I’ve learned about life during my first week at work

The Rogue Zed

I started work last week–a full time, temporary position, but I have employment nonetheless. And it’s at a great company, I really enjoy working there. Anyways, over the course of the last ten days, I have learned a great deal.

10. If you need to know something, ask.

It could be simple, or complex. You only look like an idiot if you don’t ask and make a mistake. Also, ask if you’re a newbie. You’re expected to asked silly questions.

9. Take advantage of down time.

Commuting by train like me? Bring a book. A notebook. A shopping list. Anything to make time pass productively. I wrote this article on my commute. Putting time aside to do what you enjoy is easy when you’re stuck on a train.

8. Smile.

Say hello to people you see everyday, even if you don’t know them. Being acknowledged makes people feel good about themselves.

7. Own up to your mistakes and do your best to correct them.

This may mean taking an out-of-pocket expense that results in your needing to avoid the pub for two weeks (I don’t drink that much, but beer is price and so are train tickets); this could also mean taking a working lunch to make up for lost time.

6. Oggling the cute guys (or girls) on your commute is completely acceptable.

You admire the landscape passing outside the train (especially if you’re like me and commute from Edinburgh to Glasgow, lovely views), might as well enjoy the view inside the train as well. Sometimes seeing a cute guy is all the motivation you need to make that 7.37 train.

5. Pay attention to social cues.

If you’re asked to drop an email, don’t continue your book pitch.

4. Refer/spell things as they are in the country you’re living in.

For example, the typical ‘u’s. Also, it isn’t ‘organize’ it is ‘organise.’ Avoid the Rogue Zed!

3. Always do your research.

Could be about a company, a specific product…always best to be prepared and have some preliminary knowledge before you launch into a discussion or pitch.

2. Sudden changes in plans have knockdown effects you may not expect.

It may not be something big, like having to post something originally supposed to be hand-delivered, or it could end up being a massive time waster (see point 1).

1. Always check your mobile for messages about plans.

Otherwise you may pull a Beth and find yourself stranded in Bridge of Allan for an hour waiting for the next train back to Glasgow because your meeting was cancelled and you didn’t see the text explaining that.

And bonus:

Always carry an umbrella.