Opportunity knocks and puts you on an aeroplane

About two years ago now, I embarked upon a new career in IT. I had no previous experience of working in IT and a completely unrelated Undergraduate Degree. I won through the interview process on my demonstrated ability to learn and work hard. Now, I am managing an online system deployed into 11 Countries. It’s been a steep leaning curve which has frequently left me wishing for a zero responsibility role based mainly around pulling pints of beer for happy revellers and with the distinct feeling that cutting my nose off to spite my face wouldn’t actually be that bad of an idea.

I have had many opportunities presented to me during those 2 years. I have travelled a little inCentral Eastern Europefor work, been to good restaurants, drunk cocktails in very nice bars and generally been able to live my life exactly as I please. I am incredibly fortunate to have earned my job and the opportunities that come along with it.

Most recently, I was asked to visit our sister Company inHyderabad,India, in order to carry out staff training. I have never really trained anyone before and am very used to working and managing my work alone. Therefore, the prospect of being responsible for delivering two weeks worth of training content, designed by myself, was, frankly, terrifying.

After quite a lot of faffing and asking for friends opinions, I accepted. Flights were scheduled and my bosses agreed that I could take some holiday on the route back and spend a few days inDubaiwith a friend. This all helped to soften the hard and cold fear I was feeling about the whole trip. For around 4 weeks before my flight out from Heathrow, I don’t think I really slept. When I did sleep, I dreamt about work and therefore resolved it was probably more productive to be awake and working than to sleep, dreaming about working.

I worked pretty solidly up until I got onto the plane at London Heathrow. Once I was onboard the flight, I resolved that, if I wasn’t ready by then, 15 more hours of feverish typing and emailing was not going to rectify the problem.

The flight was with Emirates so I had a quick change inDubai. I could have kissed the man on the check in desk who upgraded me to business class for the last 4 hours of my journey. I landed inHyderabadat around9amon a Monday morning. I was collected form the airport, whisked to the hotel in order to drop my luggage and then straight to the office to get stuck in.

The hours I worked absolutely kicked my a** but what made it all bearable was the unwavering friendliness and hospitality from everyone I met. I had expected to be looked after to a certain degree. For example, I knew I had a driver to fetch and carry me around wherever I wanted to go and I had the telephone number of fluent English speakers if I got into a pickle at any point. What I had not expected was just how much would be done for me. I had fresh coconut delivered to my desk. My lunch was also delivered to my desk. I was accompanied everywhere, chatted to, befriended, shopped with and, in general, just spoiled rotten.

It was a complete shock to my system being taken into the fold so quickly. I’ve gotten so used to the anonymity afforded to a person inLondon, andEnglandin general, that I had almost forgotten completely what an actual community feels like. A group of people who will do anything for one another for no other reason than they are able to. Not to get anything out of it. Not to be owed a favour. Not to get their name in a good book somewhere. Not even for someone they know particularly well but, just because, they can. Above everything else I saw, ate and experienced during my (all to short) time inHyderabad, the Community there and the friends I made are the things I will always cherish the most.

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