Thursday 25 March 2010

My first day back at work

The night before and off to work
The night passed with a bit of tossing and turning and the alarm set to 7:15 AM in preparation for my first day at work, I cannot say that I slept that well.
Here I was after I returned from the interview the day before trying hard to keep alert in the afternoon and finally succumbing to the draw of a lie down.
I got a bit concerned that I might not be able to hold out for a full day at work, almost 7 weeks after chemotherapy there was still I lot to be gained in strength, weight and ability.
When the alarm went off, I got up but I do not think I have as much as 2 hours in every stretch of sleep all night starting from about an hour before midnight.
I did the essentials and got out just a few minutes after 8:00 AM with the plan to catch the 8:29 AM from Amsterdam Central Station to Schiphol, I am working for a daughter company of a larger airline.
Arriving on time, I was picked up from reception, introduced to a number of people and then linked up with the man who would be my main colleague throughout the term of the contract.
A working man
We whizzed through that the task was to be done and the issues or risks that might arise whilst double-checking tracks and assumptions that are associated with projects like this.
As much as possible, I tried to keep from yawning as my accounts and badge were ordered, the day accumulated in hours and I felt strong and able all through to lunch.
At lunch I had a salad of eggs, ham, cheese, greens and olives as one of my colleagues grew interested in the treatments I had had over the last 6 months.
Indeed, it was 6 months ago that I was lain in hospital about to informed of some seriously life-changing news and here I was at my first day back at work.
After lunch, we went through a few more documents and tried to close the matters concerning my contract or payroll options, on reflection, using my company would be best for this role.
Soon afterwards, it is 5 O’Clock and a few minutes after, I closed down my computer and bid everyone goodbye as I returned home, quite tired, definitely happy, got some foodstuff and was home just before half six.
Thank you all for supporting and believing in me all this while.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Taking a big chance on me

Email out – phone call in
The email went out yesterday evening and within 10 minutes I had a phone call, a job prospect from an ex-colleague who I worked with on a project almost 5 years ago.
Someone had pulled out of a contract and that opening became an offer if I was found suitable for the role.
We chatted about rates, I was looking down the barrel of up to a 40% cut from the last time I was on the market – beggars just cannot be choosers, you need to get in the race to be assured of the possibility of winning.
The project manager also happened to know me and even my eccentricities, you make impressions you never really realise you have made until you are told.
So we planned for a rendezvous at the Schiphol Airport meeting point for 10:00 AM the next morning and I visited my neighbours to share the news.
Boy! You’re slim
I got up early enough, shave and showered then got to dress up, my suit trousers left me looking like a Weight Watchers protagonist selected for a before-after photo-shoot.
I looked down the slack of my trousers to see my feet, my waistline was quite trimmed for the want of another word – I must put on some but not too much.
We met as planned, my ex-colleague, the project manager and the technical lead, exchanged pleasantries and some talk about my illness and recovery then sought a comfortable café to settle down for a chat.
A chance
I was given a basic picture of the project at hand, then more technical detail with included reading the plans laid out in Dutch – I quipped, I might well fail the interview on account of that.
The job looked deceptively easy enough but it could get complicated, nothing I could not rise to as a challenge and I do hope I can really excel at it.
The prospect looks good and the project manager intimated if I was feeling a bit exhausted by reason of the process of recuperation, I should let him know.
What can I say? They are taking a big chance on me and for that, I am both thankful and grateful with the hope that I really do well despite the possibility of yawning in the morning.
After all formalities are completed, I will be at work tomorrow morning.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Tapping my network for work

Tapping my network
Over 20 years of work experience, I have done many things and worked with people. Today, I decided to tap on the network of people I have met in my working life and ask for their assistance in finding a job.
Some of them I have not spoken to in a very long time, but somehow, I felt seeing my message might remind them of their experiences of my expertise, work ethic and abilities and hopefully, they might just rekindle that with offering me a job or recommending me to other recruiters in their network.
The text of the letter follows and I just thought, if I could not use my professional contacts, my blog, my social networks and any other connections to find work too, what are those networks for if they are not also part of life itself?
The letter
I have overcome adversity and now I seek opportunity, opportunities I hope and believe you all as ex-colleagues at work or at school, who I have worked for, worked with or helped at work can offer – I address you all.
I do have an extensive curriculum vitae but that only contains some basic truths of my work experience and maybe what I have achieved before, I definitely cannot put in another section talking about how I fought cancer or how you liked or hated working with me, those are life experiences of a different significance.
However, having come out of that situation, I need to get back to work and want to get back to work – I am speculating and hoping that with the recall of experiences you have had working with me you can help me with assignments or know people who have assignments that you believe I can tackle with the ability, expertise and professionalism you remember me for.
I know this is an unusual message to send to you all but if I cannot tap on the wonderful experiences and network I have had in the last 20 years in this critical but necessary time, then I might have failed to have any impact in all the workplaces where I have been given the opportunity to work, serve and maybe change for the better, all with your help.
I have attached my resume [My LinkedIn Profile here] for your perusal and hope that very soon occasion will warrant being at your service again, I can also be contacted on number provided.
Thank you and the very kindest of regards,
Yours faithfully,
Akin Akintayo
So, all I have to do now is wait and I will keep you posted as to how it all turned out.

Monday 22 March 2010

Are you ready for Facebook?

Afraid to suck
For years, I had a public presence on the Internet in professional forums and through a blog that has been running for over 6 years.
In fact, I dabbled at creating a personal homepage which went online with Compuserve in 1994 but in the process of designing the page I came across a website which was titled “Web pages that suck” with the byline of teaching you good page design from looking at bad examples.
It did not take long for me to realise that I was not some quintessential artist and my dabbling was on for a great mockery – I pulled down everything despite my long acquaintance with professional desktop publishing.
Facing the book
In all that time, I heard of the social networking sites as they evolved, but never thought much of those connections, I dared to join Twitter early last year as a micro-blogging forum but Facebook was off my radar.
It was one of my ex-colleagues who persuaded me to look into Facebook in December and since then it has been an experience.
Memories are recalled, histories replayed and long lost contacts and relationships are getting restored, some too sudden and others just about comfortable with the rush of emotions it entails.
The past revived
At the risk of becoming an emotional wreck, just one message came through and one link lead to another and my life 20 years ago was being reconstructed with ever brick falling in place, every aspiration rekindled anew, every old thought almost becoming a haunting and every smell recreating the atmosphere that had almost become a fossil of memory.
There is no telling that the kids of those days are now well into parenting whilst the parents might soon be great-grandparents – time changes, time transforms, time ages and the observer of time appears to stand still looking through the hub to the circle of timely and untimely milestones.
Are you ready?
Facebook becomes more than facing the book, you are facing the facts, facing the truths, facing the lies, facing the realities and facing the mirages – castles with moats and castles in the air – can one really assimilate all that information and remain anything like sane?
Has anyone really stopped to consider where their Facebook will take them today and are they ready to go on that journey of undiscovered connections which might well unearth things that should have been left buried if we dared to resist the peer pressure of having the book thrown in our faces?
Mixed emotions all, happy and sad, grateful and rueful, considered and inconsiderate, glad and envious – a turmoil of butterflies in the stomach and excited anticipation – you really do wonder – are you really ready for the force of Facebook?