The year 2013 just started. I was working for an e-commerce company. Not a day at the office felt like work. We had so much fun in the team and me and my peers soon became close friends. It all seemed to only get better. Until…
A surprise visit from the CEO. An impressive business woman, entirely selfmade, had flow in from the German headquarter. I’d never met her before. Being the daughter company in Amsterdam of the German firm there was never any need to meet in person. She walked in, shook hands and said: “So shall we sit down? I only have an hour before heading off to France.”
She immediately dropped the bom. We are moving this office to Berlin, in three weeks, she told us. And we can’t take the whole team with us. A collective gasp for air followed. Say what? 3 weeks, 21 days from that moment on, we’d all be out of a job. “But we have one spot in our offices in Berlin. You are of course all welcome to apply.”
Now what to do? All options ran through my mind. Should I apply for this job and ‘risk’ the possibility of having to move to Berlin together with my boyfriend? For a couple of years already we were playing around with the idea of moving to China, to start our lives there. Or maybe we’d want to move to a nice southern European country. Never in my live would I have come up with the idea of moving to Berlin. But sometimes life throws you a bone. Take it. Such a chance may never occur again. I decided to dive in head first.
And so we all did. Weirdest 3 weeks of my professional life. The colleagues-turned-friends relationship quickly developed in an entirely different relationship. We all wanted that one job. Survival of the fittest, almost literally. We were flown in to the headquarter and had talks, interviews, assessments and case studies for 3 full days in a row.
Mixed feelings filled all of us once the tests were done. We were anxiously awaiting the verdict whilst sharing what would become our last cup of coffee together. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you landed the job”, I told a colleague. “Are you kidding me? S did great and has exactly the right experience this job requires.” We tried to make nice and dig up some of the almost-lost friendly feelings. It was difficult. It IS difficult to forget about others and strive for your own success in a professional setting, to beat your friends to it.
One by one we were called in a meeting room. They’d made a decision. I was last to set foot in that room. “We were very impressed and would like to offer you the job.” How weird it may sound, how dramaqueen-like this might make me look, I honestly couldn’t believe it. Having been the underdog for all this time, being surrounded by wonderful and very capable colleagues. But I did what I came for. I got the job.
In 3 weeks I turned from having a nice job, to losing my job, to landing a super awesome new job at the same company which gave me the opportunity to move to a new city. The quote ‘life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans’ truly applied here.
So here’s some advice for you. All opportunities thrown your way, jump in, see where they take you and what they bring to the table. Remember, you’ll always get something out of it. Maybe not what you hoped for or counted on. But taking a chance always teaches you valuable lessons. You wouldn’t want to miss out on that, now would you?