It’s my SimpliBirthday! Reflections on my first year with SimpliFlying
On the 15th of November 2011, after a short transition period from my former job I joined SimpliFlying as a full time employee and, following the company’s tradition it is now my turn to tell the world what it’s like to work for this amazing company.
As my colleague Shubhodeep wrote before me, the biggest problem with working for SimpliFlying is really explaining to friends and family what exactly you do for a living, and trying to stay calm after the 10th time they ask you “so what exactly do you do again?”
So far people’s understanding of my mysterious job ranges from my lovely grandmother’s belief that I work “for the internet” to some close friends who understand that I work for some sort of consulting company that has (somehow) something to do with marketing and planes, and I work from home…or wherever I like.
But really I’m an Engagement Executive
Or in other words a person that spends his time researching, developing and consulting on engagement strategies for airlines and airports around the world. I’m also a normal 25 years old that while working as a marketing director in a country with 25% unemployment happened to spot a job offer on Twitter and decided to give it a shot (yes, I found this job from Twitter!)
That shot turned out to be a lucky one and I quickly found myself with a job that does not require me to live anywhere in particular, as long as I have an internet connection. A job where it is perfectly normal to communicate with your colleagues almost exclusively trough Skype, sometimes not seeing them for six months or more, and yet feel like you’ve been sitting at the same desk every day. And also a job where I know I’ll never get bored.
Long distance workplace
In my first year with SimpliFlying the biggest challenge has been adapting to my new working environment, getting used to do my work remotely, have company meetings on Skype and keeping a constant eye on where your colleagues are and what time zone they’re in.
It may sound bizarre to some but, especially when talking about our CEO, it is not unusual for us to have conversation like this one:
Do you know where Shashank is?
He’s not on Skype. – hmm yes..
I think he’s at the airport – ah ok. I thought he was on a plane.
Wait… in which country? – Qatar
Oh… how did he get there? I thought he was in Hong Kong!
Another challenge was also being able to express my personality in an environment where most of the conversations are typed into our “virtual water cooler “ (Skype) or e-mailed. Writing removes emotions and body language disappears, so I had to learn to be very careful with what I write.
Once I had mastered that however, I was able to develop my own, very special, writing style and my colleagues got used to receiving the occasional meme in place of a normal e-mail , being randomly called SIR, and being spoken to in an extremely formal, medieval or star trek-ish English, for no apparent reason.
Over time I’ve also watched how our team developed its own lingo often composed of words that begin with “Simpli” as a prefix. The most famous is “SimpliSurprises”, a word that we use to describe the many unpredictable events that make our job so interesting, and sometimes drive us close to insanity. But it was also through SimpliSurprises that I ended up writing some of the best articles, got featured on Tnooz, traveled half-way across the globe to deliver a MasterClass and spoke at a major conference in London!
The Best Moment
Throughout this year I have had to work hard and, especially at the beginning, faced a steep learning curve, but it wasn’t until I got one message on LinkedIn that I stopped to think at what I had achieved.
It was a message from an intern who worked at a major airline who was asking me for advice to become like me…
At first I could hardly believe it, but then other little things came: from airline executives wishing me happy birthday on Twitter to the impressed comments I received after my presentation at the world low cost congress in London.
It was also very special to receive message from a customer who said me, and my colleague Li-Guen that we were quickly becoming their favorite people to work with.
I guess I’ve achieved something after all… and I’m glad to work with such an exceptional team of people who manage to do all this work without hardly ever seeing each other. One thing I know for sure, I’m really looking forward to the next company retreat where our team will come together again. SimpliRetreat, we call it 🙂