Two years before I finished university, recruiters from an international company visited our campus. I had never heard of the company and had never planned to join any such firm. Instead, I learned toward government-run companies in my own country. By chance, however, a friend and I attended the company’s presentation. We weren’t especially excited about what the firm had to offer, but we submitted our résumés on a lark. Even then I had the nagging feeling that working in such a company would be an attractive prospect indeed.
The next day we sat for an interview, but we never heard back from the company. A year later, in 1998, a world economic crisis hit. A year after that, I graduated and took a job with a government company in my home city; I planned to stay with my parents and the love of my life, whom I had met in university. Everything looked as I had envisioned it—a predictable future with no room for change.
One day, after I had graduated university but before I had taken my new job, I received a call from the International Company. Unexpectedly, I was asked to hire on with the company, which wanted me to work on a rotation basis. I would alternate 4 weeks working, including on weekends, in different parts of the country, and 4 weeks off. I had never been in my country’s capital before—indeed I had hardly even traveled—but now I was being asked to set out for the capital, with all expenses paid by the company. I struggled with the decision: giving up a stable, predictable future in exchange for spending 4 weeks at a time far from my parents and love—but for a salary twice as high as that offered by the government company. Once I again I thought that “real living” would start with the decision to join the company—so I flew to the capital.
In retrospect, that decision, that leap into the unknown, was the stepping-stone to the rest of my life. And it taught me that nothing new can be built in the known.