Adrien Guguin, data operations analyst at the Aon Centre for Innovation and Analytics (ACIA), tells us why he chose Ireland as a place to live and work, and how he’s still getting used to the rhetorical ‘How are you?’.
Where are you from?
I am from Rouen in Normandy, France. It’s about 1.5 hours from Paris. The city centre is very nice; some houses were built in the 15th century and they give a nice atmosphere to the city centre.
A lot of visitors come to visit Rouen because there is a lot of history associated with this city. It is also famous for being the place where Joan of Arc was executed in 1431.
Something I like about my city as well is that, if you drive 15 minutes away, you are in the countryside. It’s very beautiful. Depending on your mood, you can either go for a walk in the forest, have a café at a terrace with friends, go to the sea (a 40-minute drive away) or go to Paris.
How long have you been in Ireland?
I have been in Ireland for over four and a half years.
Why did you move here?
I was working in France but did not enjoy my work. I had studied international business, and travelled to Austria and Germany during my studies. I could not see myself staying in France. I liked living abroad a lot so I looked for jobs with no specific location restriction. Something came up in Ireland, so I moved there.
What work do you do?
I just changed my position within the Aon Centre for Innovation and Analytics recently and am now working within the data operations team. My role is to ensure that the data get refreshed in one of the main data sources for 37 countries. That involves reviewing historical data, spotting irregular changes, investigating and fixing it if necessary, thus ensuring the data can be used by the different business units. I am also involved in projects to track and improve the quality of our data.
Prior to that I worked for the Broker & Account Executive Services Team where I contributed to the creation of an online platform that stores all the reports created by the ACIA. Over 1,000 reports are stored on this platform and business users globally can now go to one central location to access these reports.
How would you describe your working environment?
It is a very positive environment. There are a lot of discussions and, no matter what level you’re at within the company, your voice will be heard. What I like is the fact that it’s very challenging; the atmosphere is relaxed, but the people work hard.
What do you like most about your job?
There are so many things you can learn in the ACIA because a lot of people have some very specific expertise (SQL, Python, R, Tableau, IBM Cognos, VBA, Java, project management, etc). People are very willing to share their knowledge, so there is no limit really. The only limit is the sky, as they say!
Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?
No, not really. Coming from a European country, there is no massive difference between the way people live in France and here in Ireland. I just miss the ambiance of the French cafés sometimes.
Regarding work, I prefer it here in Ireland. People attach less importance to your diploma than in France. If you prove that you can do the job, that’s enough. Also, the market here is more dynamic; things happen more quickly.
What surprised you about moving to Ireland?
One thing surprised me and still does, in a way, is when people ask, ‘How are you?’, they don’t necessarily expect an answer. I am still confused with that, so sometimes I answer people who don’t care, or don’t reply to people who actually expect an answer!
How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?
ACIA is a good company in the way that they organise a lot of social events. It varies from trampoline dodgeball, to a night at the Science Gallery followed by food and drinks at the pub, to a golf afternoon, a spa day, a treasure hunt in the city centre or many other things. You get to know people you work with a bit more, which helps you feel good.
What do you like most about your adopted home?
Irish breakfast! And the countryside. I think Ireland is a beautiful country. When travelling around, you see so many different colours as the landscape is different from one place to the other – I love this.