While growing up traveling the world has always been a dream for me, and I think there are many who share the same dream. Growing up, reality starts to kick in, and sometimes you get to a point where you have to give up on certain dreams. How awesome is it, when you realize, you have the opportunity to bring an old dream back to life. This is exactly what happened to me, and I will take you with me on my journey.
Escaping my Comfort Zone
While on vacation in Malaga in February of 2017 I was discussing life with some friends, enjoying a nice glass of wine. At the time I had a nice job as a developer, knew everything about the system, was being well paid, just enjoying all the comforts I had built up in the past years. During our discussion, I told my friends I was thinking of bringing some excitement into my life, but I just did not have the courage. We talked and talked, and finally I realized that if you really want to chase your big dreams, you just have to go for it. Back from vacation, I decided to make big steps, starting with a new job. The last couple of years I did not use Social Media at all, I decided this should be my first step. I started bringing back my all my Social Media profiles, and it all started from there.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone — N.D. Walsch
What is Remote Year
During my Social Media escapade, while looking for a new job, I stumbled upon a post about Remote Year. This is a company which facilitates you in working remotely, with a lovely twist to it. The concept is that Remote Year will bring you, and 50 to 80 other remote workers, to twelve cities during twelve months, so a different city each month. They will take care of all travel, make sure you have an accommodation in every city, provide a nice and professional work space, and they organize a wide variety of events which are free to attend for Remote Year participants. They do not offer you a job, they just facilitate you in travel and accommodation, but you need to have your own job, with an option to work remotely. At this point in time, I was just looking for a job, it looked like a great idea, but I thought, this is not for me.
Now a few weeks later, we are currently in April of 2017, I was able to tell my manager (now previous manager) that it has been a wonderful six years I have working for the company, but I will say goodbye to all the security I have, because I found a new job at SIMgroep in Rotterdam. To be completely honest I was terrified. It is really scary to change environments completely and give up pretty much everything you know. It is about the same feeling you have when you are in line for the roller coaster. From that moment on I was in love with the feeling. I joined SIMgroep and had an amazing time from the moment I started. One thing I noticed while working is that the company is completely set up for working remotely, and some people also work remotely full time here. After seeing the ad from Remote Year once again in August I decided to take another chance and decided to just fill in an application. What is the worst that could happen, right?
From the moment I filled in my application, I went on an amazing ride and I am loving every minute of it. A few days after my application I got an email from Jeanette from Remote Year. She said I made a great case for joining Remote Year and she wanted to have a few video conferences with me. I agreed of course. The days after the email we had video conferences, emails back and forth, and even daily WhatsApp conversations, just to see if we make a good match. All of a sudden I got an email from Remote Year saying it is time to get the green light from my employer to send me abroad. Some basic information was sent to me by Remote Year, and this was enough information for me to create a nice presentation, this was my business case.
Getting the green light
At this point, three months at my new job, I was still in the process of getting to know everybody and already had a plan of taking off for a year. This was a major challenge, a big project, and I decided to handle this big too. Having a talk only with my manager would not be enough I assumed, so I made a list of all the people that would have a say in this project. The next morning I sent an email to the CEO, my manager, my HR manager, my PO and my Scrum master, saying I had a big plan, asking if they could make 30 mins time to hear me out. To be completely honest, everything worked out as planned. Everyone made time for me to listen, I did the presentation, and it was a great success. The next few weeks my HR manager and I worked on some minor practical issues, and Monday the 9th of October 2017 I got the green light for my project.
What is next
In February 2018 I will start my twelve-month experience, and the plan is to keep the blog up to date for this crazy adventure. It is just amazing to work for a company which is transparent, meaning the staff is easily accessible, and where projects like these are possible.