As you might have figured, this was a process that developed over time and I must admit that it also had to do with AIESEC – amongst others. Due to several steps (see headlines) this post is also a bit longer than the others – I hope you enjoy the time until getting there! I surely did living it! 🙂
If have to give it a start it would be during my time as member of the Scouts (where I have been active for 17 years, but specifically) after coming back from my time as a High School Exchange Student in Texas, USA. I came back to a group that was like family to me, but had diminished by 1/3 – imagine 1/3 of your family taking off at once! This was due to a lack of communication – people felt like the last ones to be informed of things and looking back this is what set the stage for my path (although I did not realize it back then).
After 17 years in the Scouts and enjoying to work with youngsters I thought of
job in teaching and developing kids. Before I went to Togo for my civil service I tried out for 4 weeks to work in a youth house – helping them with their homework and playing with them until their parents picked them up or the house closed (for the older ones). I noticed that I still enjoyed working with kids and giving 120% – but there had to be an end in sight! Working in Scout camps for 3 weeks at a time on 18 hours days was ok – since I knew when I could replenish my energy and have some longer time off and for me again! So I figured this would not be for me.
So in Togo I learned some PHP and Programming – just from the internet! I was also organizing e.g. the Cultural Center (giving language courses, helping to build up the orphanary, doing HIV education soccer tournaments with 6 different villages on a larger scale, …). I was also spokes person for the other interns for the year. In the end that came to a hard test during the uprising situation when we had to flee the country, but still I enjoyed this social work a lot but figured that I wanted to go for computer science in university (due to the reasons mentioned in the last paragraph).
So I studied computer science in Hamburg, Germany. It was a university that has about 39.000 students so you did not get pampered but rather had to find your own way in the masses. We were the first generation of the new Bachelor course, so it was even less was defined (less structured, but more freedom!). During this time I was also still active in ICJA/ICYE which which I had been to Togo. There I was a trainer / facilitator for new international interns coming to Germany and Germans going abroad. We gave them cultural education, reflection and a warm welcome in about a week each time. This was my first insight into the area of training! For the orientation week for new students I wanted to show what possibilities they have to go abroad also as students (and have an intense experience such as I had one) and so I also found AIESEC and joined 2 months later! 🙂
So the majority of time in AIESEC has already been described in another post so I keep it short here. I was working in teams again but on a more professional level than before. I was working with people with a global mindset again, challenging themselves to develop themselves as well as others by providing opportunities to experience different aspects of yourself – be it an international internship or going out of your comfort zone in other ways.
I also did a programming internship in Brazil– and figured out that I do not only want to work with computers either but people again as well! I found this again – in AIESEC – and changed my path once again.
Summing up the Experience
I got practical experience in leading a team, starting a movement for things from scratch (like Information Management (IM) in AIESEC Brazil and the area of Communications in AIESEC Germany), shifting from existing structures to a focus and processes (like IM in AIESEC Germany) but also figured that I wanted provide people the opportunity to see and grasp all the opportunities they have in the current system, challenge and develop themselves by going where they have never gone before as a trainer, facilitator and chair.
Parts of my Future Job
To let people know what options and knowledge there are in a company they need a good information flow – hence Information Management and Social Media! I focused on this during my time in the support teams in AIESEC on national and global level. To get and apply the knowledge and develop themselves they need good Knowledge Management! This means the technical systems, programs & techniques to support it but also personal trainings & feedback – so I want to act as a trainer & facilitator and maybe even coach & mentor.
These are also essential parts to Change Management (supporting the introduction of new systems and processes by also focusing on the people and their problems – not just system itself). When I asked some company representatives at a job fair what kind of job they would have in that area they all said “we do not really have a position for that – we rather get a consultant for the job“.
So I went for an internship in “Developing Web2.0 / Social Media Strategies for the Support of Change Management” at a consulting company where I still work as a student job now. This also supports my idea for my Master thesis for my Master Sc. in Information Systems at the University of Münster that I am doing right now!
So now I know what my future job should comprise and what my current steps are to get there. The content of the current job and my studies blend together perfectly (I know what I want and go for it – e.g. a seminar on cracking case studies at my university – also providing me another side of consulting). So as strange as it might seem to some people – I am not in consulting for the money but for an ulterior motive of developing and inspiring people to live up to their potential (btw also the mission statement of AIESEC ;))!
The ideal case would be to develop systems that facilitate seamless communication between cultures – that a programmer in Latin America can join his Arab colleagues virtually in mid-conversation and have the conversation translated live (and all cultural specifics explained on the spot). All expressions and technical explanations would be auto-annotated live with knowledge already stored in the system or in the public domain. This would really enable people to get the most out of themselves and the network! But this is still some time ahead I think … well, maybe not all THAT far!
Now I just still have to find out if I still want to have more the part of facilitation and inspiring people in my job – as e.g. Dey Dos does. But more on Living your dream coming soon! The post is already in the making! I hope you already enjoyed this (rather long – sorry) one! 🙂 As usual – any questions and comments – the comments section waits for your input! 🙂 Thank you!
First Picture by Brian Scott, others own