Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In a full circle

I joined back one of my favorite clients recently, in a contracting mandate. I left them sometime in 2008. Things were going quite well. I was working as a contractor, making reasonable money. I liked the environment, very international with people who spoke much thicker English than I did, making me feel quite a bit superior – something that rarely comes while you make money. Anyway, like all good things my days here had come to an end abruptly. My contract extension was all set for another six months however the Director who managed the group got promoted and sent to take care of bigger and better things while we got stuck with a new MBA graduate (was already an employee) who unilaterally decided not to extend any contracts for the time being. Three days from contract ending I learned this and was quite disturbed. Usually it takes couple of weeks to find a new contract. Manager was a Srilankan gentleman, much younger than me, and tried his best to push the contract through. That didn’t go too far.
Anyway, since I left I went through several other jobs – contracts and full time, from downtown Toronto to uptown, had a very stressful stint in management, made many friends, most much younger than me, quit twice as I felt the jobs weren’t going to lead me to anywhere – not to money, not to position, and finally after some stroke of luck came back here for another short contract to start with. They love me, I love them. I just don’t want to settle in a full time position for less money and more work. There’s high hope in my mind that this time getting extensions won’t be an issue – there’s plenty of work. I have expertise in two different areas; one of them should hit the target.
This new episode with my old company started this Fall. Noticed several changes. Some of my colleagues have opted for working from home and were only allowed to come to the building twice a week. There are many cubes with two nametags, time shared. I don’t see them most of the time. I did not get a cube either. The company is running short of cubes as two different floors were merged into one. I got a desk on a side corridor, one of many in the spread out floor, near the main passage. This is unusual but not totally out of the world. Has happened to me before once in my 17 years carrier in North America. Like most things this seemingly oblique situation came with something good as well. I got to meet Nam (not his real name) who was sharing the same desk with me. He is here since June and settled in the corridor. Originally from Kazakhstan, he is a mild mannered man. Possibly of my age or little younger he wears a short beard, dresses nicely in office cloths, speaks softly and receives constant phone calls on his cell phone. I am one of those unfortunates who start any acquaintance with doubt, dislike and suspicion. Trust is a very late addition in my dictionary. But Nam seems to be a likable guy. I have particularly become soft when he explained how Russians generally segregated Turkish born compatriots when Kazakhstan was part of Soviet Union. His last name was Hajiev – something that I found curious and inquired about his religion which I found to be Islam - as I guessed. He mentioned something interesting. In Soviet Union the government was forcing Muslims to add -ev at the end of their last name to make them sound more Russian. After separation many were changing their last name to –me from –ev  (like Hajiyev to Hajime).

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