See You Soon, Or How I Need To Look Forward

One of the big advantages of being in a consultancy type of job, or working for a consultancy type of company, is that you get to meet a lot of interesting people. Whether it is colleagues you work with on a project or are in a training with, the clients you work for, or simply people whose paths you cross. Two of the traits you need for this is being able to quickly establish a relationship, and move on when the time to do so has come. For me, the last trait means that you keep your distance a bit, and fire off the occasional phone call, e-mail, text message or facebook friends invite long after you’ve left a certain team, project or assignment. And you just don’t look back too much.

In fact, this has become some sort of second nature, to the extent that also outside of work, I am not the guy with that birthday calendar on the restroom wall. You might sometimes get a birthday message, and sometimes you might not. I’ll call you, but not every day. Whether you are a former colleague, a friend, or a relative. I became that guy, that you might never hear of again, but when you meet, he’s buying you a drink for old times sake.

In the almost eleven years that I’ve been doing this, it worked for me pretty well and I came to rely on my strongly developped ability to keep looking forward. Only recently I realised, that sometimes it just doesn’t work that way always. In quick succession, some people I got close to (mistake number 1?) went on to a new challenge. And yes, there were some moments that I even felt sad about not seeing them as often as I got used to. I got reintroduced to the notion that you can get to miss people, especially in the little things, like the short talks over coffee. Fortunately, the job territory comes with not only a lot of new people to meet, but also the chance of working together, or crossing paths, another time in another place. And modern technology – mobile phones, e-mail, facebook, yammer, twitter, trains, planes and automobiles – definitely help making it easy to make your paths cross again. So to those that have left the building: see you soon.

The Island At The Center Of The World

Apparently, some of the sayings in the English language that are dismissive of the Dutch and their culture stem from the time we fought the English over Manhattan. Not only did the English in the end win that battle, and the power over the first American colonies, but they erased the influence of the Dutch from official history, and tried to ridicule them as much as they could. Russel Shorto tries to set the record straight with his excellent book The Island at the Center of the World, in which he traces a big part of modern Manhattanite culture to the original New Amsterdam colony, and rewrites history in the process. Not only for the Dutch, but also for all New Yorkers and history buffs, this is a very interesting and fun read.

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