In March 2014 I was a team lead for a small networking team in an Angolan ISP. After 5 years contributing the best I could to get the company of it’s feet, the time was coming for the progression many wished in their professional careers. I was invited to be the head of IT. Niiice!!!
Around the same time however, I was contacted by a “multinational” company to work with Angolan customers.
The interview and the contract were very interesting to say the least:
- No health insurance
- No office
- No car
- No phone
- No airtime
- No internet
- No benefits
- And to make it even better… A 1 year contract
Sometimes life throws us these difficult decisions. Throw away a leadership role in an time contracto for contract work? Still, against many people’s advice I went ahead. I left the company I was in to work for Cisco Systems.
Depending on what country you are in you might be thinking:
Contract work? What’s all the fuss about? Here where I live it’s perfectly “normal”.
But it was never like that in Angola. It’s a country where a stable job was always promoted, find a job in the government and stay there for life.
The fear of contract work has it’s reasons. I took the risk and the day of truth arrived.
Sincerely speaking, I was so conscious that one day I’d loose my job that when the news came I was ready. I accepted it and looked forward.
The 29 months working for Cisco were pretty interesting. I met new people, different and innovating ways to work both in and out of Angola. I reinforced the need to be humble, respectful e learned that many times knowing the bits and RFCs is just not enough.
We need to be humans before technicians or engineers.
But what now? Unemployed?
For starters a whole bunch of nothing! 2 weeks just staying still. The first one holidays with the family and the second scratching and refreshing that which physically makes me a man.
After that, I had a few plans before starting a new job hunt:
- Read 50 books
- Dedicate some time to my hobbies
- Sleep 8h a day (long time since I did it9
- CCNA DC certification
- MEF-CECP certification
- A few personal projects
- A few more professional projects
At the end of all this, nothing could be more true than the excerpt below:
It’s a page from the book “The joy of not working” by Emie J. Zelinksi, the only book I managed to read in that period. But what it says it’s true. In “unemployment” I felt freedom and relaxation in such a way that my mind started bubbling, magnificent ideas just popped up, I did a few freelance jobs here and there which took me again to meet new people and technologies (posts to come) and managed to collaborate with the brilliant minds behind the Appy Saude mobile app.
Do you want to follow the same path?
Before you do the same calm down! Especially if you have a family to support. Choosing “unemployment” is not a joke:
- I was working for 7 years straight and had some buffer which allowed me to support myself and the family for a few months
- I wasn’t the only one doing it and the choice was well thought out between me and my wife.
Am I still unemployed?
Not really. After 10 months of “unemployment”, a few interviews here and there and a curious “click”:
- A new job
- New challenges
- More questions
- A new place…
2018 will be a very interesting year…
Note: As you may have noticed, this post was published quite late. I started writing it in December 2017 and it’s one of many I have pending and that I plan to publish in the coming days. Given the time that has passed, some of them may not make a lot of sense… but I will still publish them anyway.