There wasn’t enough money to go around.
I come from a middle class family.
We had a house, a car and a computer at home.
Life was good for us until it wasn’t.
The family business didn’t do too well when I got older and there were days I came home to candlelight. This wouldn’t be so bad except that these were days when all our other neighbors actually had electricity.
But my parents gave me and my sisters plenty of opportunities to succeed by giving us a very good education. I was also very lucky to get into the state university’s laboratory school and then into college.
This made my education very affordable. How affordable?
In high school, we paid a dollar per semester. When I got into college, it went up to two hundred dollars. That’s four hundred dollars a year in the country’s best school.
Leowell also went to the same school. He had it worse than I did so he paid even less. Here’s his story.
Here Comes the Obligatory College Dropout Story
I blew my chance at early success by flunking out of Engineering. I was a cocky student who knew everything there was to know about the world except that most of what I knew was WRONG.
I skipped classes thinking I would come in at the last minute and ace my exams.
But I didn’t.
I spent half a year in a pool hall thinking I would always bounce back with some incredible feat of academic excellence.
That didn’t happen either.
So with a semester where I dropped out or failed all my classes, the college of Engineering threw me out and the librarians (God bless them all) picked me up.
It took me nine years to get my degree and I finished with a bachelor’s degree in Library and Information Science. Unfortunately, I am still unlicensed and cannot practice librarianship.
Interning at Beer Company
I spent about a year hanging out at a friend’s computer shop. It was a sweet life. I got to play video games all day, spent very little and quietly threw away my early 20s.
That’s when my father suggested that I intern at a food company where he know someone who would take me in. I was promised about 400 dollars a month to do that and I jumped at this chance to make some easy money.
I was actually only paid about 200 dollars. Spent 40 dollars a month on my commute. 80 dollars a month on lunch. The rest went to the government and my social life.
But it wasn’t a bad gig. This is when I learned about this career path that me and my friend are trying to spread to the entire world. (<—- link out)
ABAP is for pansies. HR is for dummies.
I joined a group an HR consulting group.
They were implementing this weird and ugly looking piece of software called SAP.
They were hilarious but very good at their job. This was the time I started to learn all about this thing called ERP. And they used a programming language called ABAP.
And I hated them all. I thought the work was stupid, simplistic, and ugly. My twenty one year old self thought he could do a better job than all of them combined. He wanted to fix all of their computers, do all of their presentations and finish all of their programs.
What a stupid and naive kid, huh?
I wanted to quit so bad.
I wanted to start my own consulting business with this other fabulous thing called Visual Basic.
I wanted to run off and double my 200 dollar a month salary by doing customer support at night.
It was a good thing I didn’t. Because my life was about to change.
I started to do small programs for the HR department. Birthday lists. Telephone directories. Then I went on to do more serious things like programming retirement packages and more complicated payroll reports.
But just as I was getting good at what I was doing, after two years, I was moved from the food company to a utility company. I stayed there six months before they decided they didn’t want me and a different client picked me up.
Oil and Gas and Banking and Retail
By this time, I had a feeling that life as an SAP consultant was a lot more interesting than I thought. People at this petrol company used to tease me about being one. They insisted I was making a lot of money. I wasn’t. At the time, I was making a whopping 300 dollars a month.
But I started to see all of these consultants walk in and out of the project. One lady couldn’t stay in one country for more than a week before she had to fly off again. She was in Shanghai one day, and the next week we would be calling her in Greece where she was teaching a class. Then we couldn’t get her at all because she had a gig in Germany.
That’s when I started to believe that there was something to this career path I was on.
Lots of travel, getting paid lots of money, working for lots of very large companies.
This is SAP.
SAP recruited me after my gig with the petroleum company. They offered me almost ten times what I was making. My mind went nuts and my life changed.
I worked with them for three years in what is probably one of the most learning intensive periods of my life.
I worked an average of sixty hours a week and loved every minute of it.
I met a lot of people. Worked in different companies. Screwed up plenty of times. And I hardly ever slept.
But I had a girlfriend and she lived in a different country. So I quit and followed her there.
Healthcare is a great industry to be in
When I moved to this healthcare company, I did not know much about it except that I’ve seen it’s logo a few times so I was surprised when they called me back after some interviews to offer me a job.
The job survived the great recession of 2009 and brought me to many places around the world. I met a lot of great people and learned plenty of things.
But I think it’s the exposure to the top quality kind of global experience that really showed me what I was missing back at home. And this was something I was truly thankful for.
Leowell joined our company a few years later. After plenty of coffee days talking about our dreams, we realized we shared a lot of opinions on how life should be lived.
And between him and me, we agreed that we can do more for this world.
And so we’re here.