Originally published for my exclusive Monthly Email List.
(Guess this photo is taken – Landmark, City, Country – and I’ll send you a postcard next week **)
Much happened in April. I’ve a new job (more on that, below) and I’m right now on my way to India for my #100 Country. In this email, a few reflections, interview tips and a bit of perspective.
On The Way to #100
I’ll probably be in New Delhi by the time you open this email. #100!
I’m incredibly happy and grateful – a life-long dream, and a big (and costly!) objective is done!
It feels like a huge deal. To me, #100 a testament that if you’ve a big, driving goal and systematically work yourself towards it over the long-term, you have a good shot to achieve it, no matter how hard it appears.
I was raised a normal person in a middle class family in out-of-the-way Argentina, and, though I had a fair share things going for me (good school in Argentina, double citizenship), there was no way I could’ve done this without some serious sacrifice and heavy lifting. But here we are 🙂
I take this lesson at heart for my next big objective. In all cases, whatever that objective will be, when people will tell me it’s impossible (and they will), I’ll just go through my memories of Aruba, Rovaniemi, Kyoto and the Serengeti and remember the magic words: someone is always doing something someone else said was impossible.
It might be hard, and the odds could well be against me – but if I really want it, and I’m really ready to give it all, I now know I’ve what it takes to give it a very good shot.
So, What’s Next?
I’m not sure. I know my next major goal in broad strokes, but I’m not certain of the details yet. I’ll take some time to figure that out.
Travel-wise, I still have the following in my bucket-list: Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, the Transiberian (via Mongolia), Ethiopia, Galapagos, Australia, Antarctica, Madagascar… I’ll keep traveling, but might take the feet off the pedal for a little bit.
Postcards from India
If you buy my book (either Kindle, or paperback) I’ll send you a postcard from India. You need to be fast, though – I’m flying out of Delhi April 26th, so you better do it quickly!
If you do, forwarded me the Amazon receipt and your address and you’ll get the postcard. I might chip in a small bonus too 🙂
23 Interviews in 11 Companies, Five Offers
Incredibly, I’ve managed to keep and grow a ‘normal’ career along with all this globe-trotting. There’s news from that front: I left Carlsberg and, after 20+ interviews (seriously!) and multiple offers, I decided to join again my old employer Maersk in Copenhagen.
There are a couple of things I would like share about this move:
1) Before You Say I’m Lucky, A Short Story
I left Carlsberg in January, traveled a bit, and in only a couple of months I had on my plate four solid offers to choose from – all cool jobs in great companies. I’m incredibly grateful for it.
But if you think I’m lucky, you are dead wrong! The following picture is a good summary of my past couple of months:
– I’d 23 (!) interviews in 11 companies in a bit less than three months. I prepared like crazy for every single one – I’d around 15-20 pages of notes for eachcompany, and for some jobs much more.
– That’s not counting the case interviews (they need a lot of extra prep) and the countless silly numerical and personality tests all companies asked me to do.
– I was fully on it and quickly got a good offer – Consultant for IBM Nordics, and promptly celebrated. But it was not to be. IBM announced a hiring freeze in Europe the exact same day they were planning to send me the contract. It all went down the water, and, naturally, I wanted to break everything. Big FML moment.
– It feels horrible when you’re that close to sealing the deal everything goes to hell. But I pressed on – “It’s just a minor setback in a quest for ultimate success”, I told myself. I kept waking up at 6.00 every day and following my morning routine to keep strong.
– Then, just after I come back from Myanmar, I received my first offer – and then, a day after, another one, and a few days later, two more.
So… Behind every success there are countless hours of toil and hard work. It’s enticing to believe someone’s ‘lucky’ when they succeed, but remember that, every time, there’s a big hustle behind the scenes.
Some Unconventional Interview Tips
– I’ve a few Evernote files with personalized, concise and pitch-perfect answers for over 100 interview questions. After 23 interviews, I knew all answers by heart – that definitely helped.
– (This might not be entirely legal – try at your own risk!) If you’re struggling with your interviews, try recording a couple of them with your phone. Then hear the records and analyze your performance, specifically the delivery (should be short, concise, to the point) and to spot potential improvement points. It can help you immensely.
2) Prioritizing Learning vs. Money
I’d four good offers, yet I picked the one that offered me (by far) the less money. Why?
I’m not a kid anymore, but I still value a) learning, and b) network more than money. In Maersk I’ll get paid substantially less than in the three other places, but I’ll have more complex projects (many internationally, probably) and a learning-driven team with a strong suit of potential mentors and a strong internal network.
Naturally, the other jobs also offered good learning and networking opportunities, but on a different scale.
Do you think I made the right choice? I’m interested to see other people’s perspectives on this too.
Odds & Ends
– Argentineans, along with Uruguayans and people from some small island countries don’t need to pay for the Indian e-visa. The rest of the world, including the US and all of Europe, needs to do. How cool is that? 🙂
– I send just one email a month. If you received this email from a friend, you can sign up to receive the next one in May here.
** – I’ll send up to five postcards this time. It’s first-come, first-served, but if I’ve multiple correct guesses I’ll go with those who guess more specifically (landmark, city, etc.) If you’re curious, last month’s photo was in San Marino.