Traveling to France… doing business in Paris… dealing with taxi strikes… connecting with transatlantic colleagues… and the zen of it all. It’s all there in Chapter 2, and it’s bringing back memories.
Thinking back on that wild ride I took in Paris, last spring, it’s like I was in a completely different place and time. Actually, I was. I had a very different job at a very different company than where I’m working now. I was back and forth to Paris on a regular basis… I was back and forth to a lot of places, actually.
What a change from today.
My life these days is pretty staid and mellow. Plenty of time to reflect, contemplate… and think back on how my past experiences changed me. The changes were almost all for the better. They usually are, if we know where to look for the good.
Just thinking about how tightly wound and regimented I was, back then– I had to be — is certainly interesting. Working for one of Europe’s top 10 technology companies was no small deal, even if most folks in the United States had never heard of them. They’ll remain nameless, to protect both the innocent and the guilty, but suffice it to say, working for them was … transformational. I had some fantastic working relationships with folks in France (and throughout Europe and Asia), and I miss my former co-workers very much.
A funny thing happens when you work for an impossible corporation. Everybody develops a sort of corporate Stockholm Syndrome, where we’re put through the wringer by our “captor” (the company that pays us every two weeks and makes it possible for us to live to see another day) and are forced to do more with less. We develop these strong ties with one another, forged from shared suffering and commiseration over injustice, unrealistic expectations, and the constant threat of being pushed out of the way or tossed aside as “excess” human resources.
It’s all part of living and working in the First World — maybe all the world, for that matter. It’s how things go, and when you sign up for the gig, you agree to go along with it and take the bad with the good. Of course, there’s a lot of good. A decent standard of living, the opportunity to travel and see the world, structure and order in your daily life, and the chance (not guarantee) to move ahead and advance in your career.
So, yeah – it wasn’t easy, but I’ve got no regrets. I got a lot out of my time at that company. Including some kick-ass experiences that will stay with my all my life. And a few of those experiences are making it onto the printed page at a pretty decent clip.
I’m well into editing Chapter 3, and I expect that to be done in a few days.
Swimming right along…