Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads

“Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?” – Marty McFly

It was the summer of 1985 and I was in the USA staying with my dad. We watched Back to the Future in the movie theatre and it became a film that stayed with me forever.

In the UK, it was a time when people met up more, a time when consumerism of goods hadn’t become so throw away, and a time when shops closed every Wednesday afternoon.

“If my calculations are correct when this baby hits 88MPH, you’re gonna see some serious s***”

Living in Denmark in 2019 can be like living back in 1985.

A life with one car families. People spending a lot more time outside. Social skills are highly valued, and TV watching well balanced. Oh, and high street shopping is very much alive and kicking too.

Honestly, Ferrero Rocher and Lion Bar are hugely popular as well.

It’s not all white t-shirts and Levi’s however, Denmark is a mix of old and new. It’s a country whose population is made up of tech-savvy people who love early adoption of devices and technology.

The key difference between 2019 in the UK & USA and 2019 in Denmark is mostly a mindset.

Technology compliments Danish life, it doesn’t drive it.

Take me back to the future

Going back in time isn’t all good.

I love the calm, I love simplicity. I don’t love Sunday with not much is open and very little going on outside of the city.

During the week, local shops and post offices close for lunch. They really do! The busiest time in a UK post office (if you’re lucky enough to have a post office) is lunchtime. I honestly don’t know how Danes can do personal chores outside of working hours. It’s increasingly obvious they do it in their workday and employers are sympathetic to it.

Our doctor’s surgery doesn’t even have a website. It’s so old school there’s a piece of paper sellotaped to the front door with the phone number and opening hours (which are 9-5, Mon – Frid btw).

Back to mindset

The 1980s felt like the last decade of calm. Busy lives were left to the bankers, CEO’s and fast-paced white-collar workers. It all started to change towards the end of the decade when Thatcherism pivoted society towards less community and more ‘what’s in it for me’?

Thankfully not so in Denmark, where it’s poor taste to think you’re better than the next person just because you have more money. The villains in Danish movies will often be rich people and it feels like being successful is more about living a happy life than the car you drive and money you make.

White poo all over again…

So I’ll take going back in time, as it comes with calm, simple and unselfish living.

I’m not sure about the white dog poo though? Remember that? It was everywhere in 1985, and it’s all over the place in my local neighbourhood right now in 2019.

Where’s my DeLorean?…

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I hope you enjoyed episode 4 of Notes from a Small Country? Please give me feedback directly or in the comments. Which part was your favourite? What do you want to see more or less of? Other suggestions? Let me know!

See you next week for Episode 5.

Don’t miss a thing and subscribe using your email below, that way you’ll get a notification each week when I publish my latest adventure.

Marcus Purvis leads software engineering teams at Unity Technologies, the realtime development platform of choice for video games, movies and more. He’s also learning to write inspiring content on LinkedInMedium and here at marcuspurvis.com

Originally published as part of LinkedIn newsletters here: Marcus Purvis Newsletters

5 Share Friday 16 August 2019

Quote I’m pondering“It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” – Harry S. Truman

Music for focus – I’m still trying out various music to work to and have used up 3 of my 5 free sessions at Brain FM. It’s so good I’m signing up for a year ($47) after my trial. Try it for yourself, they have focus & productivity, relaxing and sleep modes, it’s fantastic!

Favourite new app – 1.1.1.1 is a free privacy app for your iPhone or Android. It replaces the connection between your phone and the Internet, ensuring your connection is private. Basically like a VPN, though with speed on your side.

Does the truth matter anymore? – A recent post of a photograph showing wolves trekking through the snow, described as demonstrating excellent leadership led me to an insightful article about how our news media are no longer trusted to filter the real facts from the fake facts.

It’s a terrific read and gives many real-life examples around Facebook, newspapers and digital journalism.

Best LinkedIn articles ever! – Shameless plug, I’ve been writing about living and working in Denmark. It’s a humorous look at being an expat in the land of happy. Check it out and see what you think.

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I hope you have a fantastic weekend doing the things you enjoy with the people you love.

Missed last weeks 5 Share? Find it here.

If you like this 5 share, please share with others. You can also get notified by email every Friday, simply sign up using the signup box on this page.

For other blog posts on work and life go here: https://www.marcuspurvis.com/category/posts/

Now that goat is shaved

“Now that goat is shaved!” said one of my colleagues as he glanced towards me, looking over his monitor.

“Er what?!” I replied.

I was exclaiming happiness at the chance a conversation might begin, more than I was about trying to understand what shaving a goat meant.

Culture shock

When I moved from the UK to Denmark, I wasn’t prepared for quite how lonely work would be in the first 6 months.

My wife also wasn’t prepared for how lonely life would be as a stay at home parent.

In the first week in our new home, we had neighbours popping around with flowers and greetings.

Then nothing…just nods from afar and their fully booked calendar for the foreseeable future.

What we hadn’t realised when relocating to Denmark was that Danes are laser-focused on their time in and out of work.

Don’t forget the goat

Hang on, what about that shaved goat? – Turns out it’s a Danish idiom about getting the job done.

All cultures have idioms. In the UK we like to say things like ‘Bob’s your Uncle’, does anyone know what that means? (Congrats to the first person who can explain what that means in the comments).

Back to loneliness…For Danes, it’s not unusual for social time to be booked up weeks or months in advance.

For us, that meant no more ‘Fancy meeting up for lunch tomorrow?’

It’s now more like ‘Let’s meet for lunch, how does next month look?’

Cloudy with some sunshine

In the UK we chat about the weather, what TV shows we’re watching and complain about the traffic jam that made us late for work.

This could be with a person in the elevator, at the coffee machine or a colleague we sit next to.

It doesn’t matter who, what matters is there isn’t an awkward silence.

As a Brit, I don’t do well with awkward silences.

What I’m learning is in Denmark work means work. There’s no time for chinwagging (bonus points again for anyone willing to translate that in the comments).

Outside of work, it’s similar and not uncommon for a closed network of just 5 or 6 close friends, no room for additions.

Binary

‘How’s your week been? I hope the travel went well with no delays like last time? Wanna meet & walk the dogs tomorrow morning?’ – Me

‘Yes’ – my neighbour

‘How is Bertie? Is he ok with the other dogs? Did he eat his food and enjoy his walk?’ – my wife

‘Yes’ – our new dog sitter

Those are real text messages from our first few months in Denmark.

I look back now with a smile, though at the time we were amazed at the lack of response and wondered if we’d somehow upset them.

We hadn’t.

It’s not that Danish culture is rude or unsociable, quite the opposite.

It’s just that unlike the USA or UK, the culture is more exclusive and purposeful.

Machines are productive, people are effective

I used to work to the above statement.

Not anymore.

In Denmark people aren’t just effective, they’re productive too.

I pride myself on focus and the ability to get things done. Yet I’m still learning from my Danish colleagues on how to get more out of my day.

Like anywhere else, not everyone is effective & productive, though the Danes who are can easily fit an 8-hour workday into 6 hours. They do this through focus and cutting out ‘unnecessary’ interaction.

Greg McKeown wrote a book called Essentialism, I wonder if he spent any time in Denmark?

I’ve never seen such essentialism at work by default, by so many people, it’s admirable.

1 year on

I’m still a sociable introvert. The work environment hasn’t changed me, in fact, it feels slightly changed, as in a little more sociable since I started.

I’m silently watching people as they focus, talk and get things done.

I’m seeing things getting done in a way that my UK and US colleagues can only read about in books.

My wife and I have a small group of friends including socialising with a small number of terrific people from in and out of work.

Machine or human?

Have you thought about how productive and effective you are? What do you do in your day that can be cut so that you achieve more?

Achieving more is great at work and it also gets you more time outside of the workplace with friends.

I’m still learning this art, yet I know one thing for sure…

..It’s possible, some of the happiest people on earth have it nailed.

I hope you enjoyed episode 3 of Notes from a Small Country? Please give me feedback directly or in the comments. Which part was your favourite? What do you want to see more or less of? Other suggestions? Let me know!

See you next week for Episode 4.

Don’t miss a thing and subscribe using your email below, that way you’ll get a notification each week when I publish my latest adventure.

Marcus Purvis leads software engineering teams at Unity Technologies, the realtime development platform of choice for video games, movies and more. He’s also learning to write inspiring content on LinkedInMedium and here at marcuspurvis.com

Originally published as part of LinkedIn newsletters here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/enjoyable-commute-marcus-purvis/

5 Share Friday 9 August 2019

Quote I’ve been pondering – “This is an economy based on connection. Can you be heard, can you connect, can you be trusted?” – Seth Godin

Seriously / Personally – Staying with Seth Godin, he wrote a blog post this week that’s stuck with me. He basically says you can take it seriously but you don’t have to take it personally. You can read it here. It’s only a couple of paragraphs yet its power is incredible if you make it a part of your day.

On parenting – Brené Brown shared some thoughts on a lesson in parenting that have stuck with her since having children. It’s actually a lesson any of us can be put into practice across all areas of life, from working with others to spending time out with close friends.

It really resonates with me as my wife and I already try hard to act in this way. What I hadn’t done is frame it in the way  Brené does. Now I can really work at it! It’s priceless, go take a look.

Career advice I’m readingGary Vaynerchuk merged and published 5 pieces of career advice on LinkedIn last week. I particularly like No. 4 Chase the process, not just the end result.

Overall I’m mixed on Gary’s posts on LinkedIn at the moment. It’s pretty evident he’s not doing them himself, as many are sloppier than his more polished content on other networks. That aside, it’s the content message that counts and his always resonates.

Productivity tool I’ve gone all in on – Nick at Getonwithit.blog put me onto this one and now I’m fully in. I’ve converted all my Evernote to Notion and am even using it at work too.

It’s fantastic and if you follow my posts already you’ll notice I mention it quite a bit. If you aren’t using it then I think you’ll be surprised when giving it a go. Enjoy!

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I hope you have a fantastic weekend doing the things you enjoy with the people you love.

Missed last weeks 5 Share? Find it here.

If you like this 5 share, please share with others. You can also get notified by email every Friday, simply sign up using the sign up box on this page.

For other blog posts on work and life go here: https://www.marcuspurvis.com/category/posts/