Hip hip hooray and congratulations to myself as today marks my fifth anniversary in my career in the extremely exciting and electric field of Business Intelligence! Well, not that I actually called it Business Intelligence back when I started. In all my inexperience and ignorance it was a term I hardly knew even existed in the first place, and so I used the much more modest and easy to understand moniker of Reporting Analyst instead. But whatever I called myself back then, 5 years ago I took my first baby steps on my career path, which has led me to where I am today, professionally speaking.
How much has changed in the last 5 years. You see, back then I was seriously worried that I would never be able to acquire a decent job. I never finished my thesis and thus did not possess an university diploma and I was already working in the Vodafone Back Office as a temp for 18 months. I even got fired once due to budgetary reasons. After that I had to go through many, many rejections, and for someone who is already plagued by feelings of insecurity and inadequacy it could have killed my hopes for a decent career before it even properly started. I think it was even becoming a vicious circle. Because of my insecurity I think I didn’t make the best impression of myself, and then when I got rejected I only became more insecure. I wasn’t able to get over the hump initially.
Thankfully, I was able to return to Vodafone almost two months later, again due to budgetary reasons. The timing was fortunate as my savings was almost depleted and I wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of relying on unemployment welfare (shudder!). Looking back I think the experience was something like a wake-up call for me. I was starting to get complacent and to feel a bit too comfortable with my current position, but I knew then I couldn’t continue relying on something as shaky as a temp job, and even if I could, surely such a position could not be the goal for – in all modesty – a young person with my qualities.
Fortunately, my pride (and probably fear for my future as well) managed to win out over my insecurity, fueled by the fact that according to Dutch law you are only allowed to work as a temp for the same company for 18 months, and I only had 5 months left. After that you either get a 1-year contract, or you have to leave. And so I kept applying for jobs and I kept getting rejected (or never got a response in the first place), until one happy day, about 5 or 6 weeks before my time was up, I came across a job opening for an analyst on the Intranet site. I didn’t have any experience whatsoever as an analyst or what it entailed to be a good analyst, but I always fancied myself being one for some reason. And so I applied for the job, and as it turned out, it wasn’t a tough interview at all. So a week later, I got the job, and the rest as they say is history (well, for me at least).
In the years since, I have often marvelled at how lucky I had truly been. How lucky? Let us count the ways:
- If I hadn’t been fired in the first place I might never have come across this job at all. As I mentioned, I saw the job opening 5 or 6 weeks before my period as a temp was to expire. Now remember that I was laid off for almost 2 months, or 7 weeks in fact if I remember it correctly, which obviously doesn’t count towards the period. A simple mathematical formula will demonstrate that my period would have been expired before I had the opportunity to see this job opening. Now, there was a good chance I would have gotten my one-year contract, but it depended on the budget, and we all know how shaky that can be, don’t we?
- And let’s not forget I applied and was rejected for many different jobs between the time I was fired and the time I got my current job. I lost count, but it must have been somewhere between 20 and 30. The jobs I applied for were not necessarily the most exciting ones. I was desperate enough to apply for jobs which were well below my qualifications. What would my life have looked like if I had gotten one of those jobs instead, where there was a good chance I wouldn’t have been happy in the end.
- I needed a miracle to have my application accepted, and it seemed to me like that was exactly what happened. First of all, I was the only applicant at that point. I am sure they would have gotten a lot more responses once the opening was published externally, but they were obliged to open it for internal candidates first, and it just happened that I was the only applicant. Lucky me! And then the interview itself. I don’t remember having gone through an easier one in my entire life. At times I felt the interviewer was trying to convince me more than I was trying to convince him, which was strange as I had no experience whatsoever. And he didn’t even ask me about my university education! Talk about miracles!
- As it turned out, this happened to be the exact dream job as I have envisioned it for myself for some strange reason. It may sound a bit revisionist, but I’m serious when I say that there is no other line of work I would have rather done than the one I’m currently doing now (except perhaps, maybe, conceivably and within the range of possibilities, for being a writer).
Amazing, isn’t it? It seemed as if the stars themselves have aligned themselves so that I was able to get the exact job I wanted.
Ok, let me shut up now. When I started writing this, I was planning to write about the 5 years I had worked in Business Intelligence, but I just kept rambling on and on about the past. Oh well, maybe something for the next post then.