The AOL Irish Mafia

Some of the Irish AOL crowd including yours truly are featured on today’s People Connection page in a post written by Joe Logon over at his work blog, Magic Smoke. There are more than the 4 featured Irish people working at AOL of course, but the request for info, thoughts and permission to use pictures went out a little late, so not everyone had a chance to respond. But, you will notice a common thread on the Patty Vs Paddy issue :)  I think I have ranted enough on that subject (apologies to I-66).  This blog even gets a link from Joe – woo!

Since I believe this is my first appearance on an actual AOL property, I took a screenshot (as usual, click for larger view):

Adam on People Connection

So, why the Mafia part of the title?

Well, several people have remarked to me recently that all the Irish working for AOL in the US appear to know each other. A lot of that has to do with the fact that we all originated from the same company in Ireland but we do make a bit of an effort too – several of the people I know now I never met when they were working for AOL in Dublin and a couple never worked for AOL in Ireland at all. It’s one of those things, you get to a new country and try to find something familiar to ground yourself and not feel completely freaked out.

For me, the Irish connection was extremely helpful when I got here. Brian, despite having met me a grand total of twice back home picked me up from the airport, got me to my company provided digs and made sure I was OK to get in on a weekend at 8 pm – if not, then I would have been sleeping on his couch. That safety net helps a lot – remember, when I got to the US I couldn’t drive, had never lived on my own before (let alone in a different country) and had no knowledge of the area I was moving to.

So, instead of being driven around by someone that knows the area and is willing to try to find the security office, help me with my luggage and offer me a place to stay if it doesn’t work out I would have had to get a cab, figure out where the place was, wander around looking for the guy who had my key, drag my bags up 3 flights of stairs solo……….you get the idea.

The “being Irish” thing (as in actually from Ireland) also gives you a great fat penguin in social situations. Brian does not agree, but that guy could make friends at a “we hate Irish people” rally. For the rest of us slightly more awkward social animals it gives us a nice fall back conversation topic in most scenarios – after all, everyone in America appears to fall into one or more of these categories:

  1. They are Irish or part Irish
  2. They’ve always wanted to go to Ireland
  3. They have been to Ireland and/or have family there
  4. They like Guinness/Irish Breakfast/Irish Whiskey etc.

It is rare to not get a friendly response, and people tend to remember you – even if it is only as the drunk Irish guy. So far, besides the whole visa thing there is not much of a downside to being Irish in America. That, of course was not always the case (just search for Irish on the page if you haven’t seen it).

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