I owe you this ThoughtWorks: Thank You.
Thank you for bringing me back to who I once was. Someone who believed in herself and in what she did, who is passionate, joyful and full of energy.
I came to ThoughtWorks (TW) because of a good friend’s recommendation. He said “Pinar I know you are going on a sabbatical and jobs are the last thing you want to hear about. Still, when you start looking for jobs again one day consider TW, it is a great company and I think you two would fit nicely”. I said thank you and moved to Barcelona, where there was no TW office. After almost a year of sabbatical, indeed I wanted to start working again, and working on what I used to be passionate about: innovative digital technology. Not on something else as I had initially assumed. Magically, during that one year TW did open an office in Barcelona and they were looking for project managers.
I applied to TW. They made me go through 5 interviews, as they always do, including logic tests, live presentations and a dedicated interview to social matters, ethics and individual values to assess the culture fit. It was an adventure. I did all five of them in the same week, the final 3 being on the same day and a few hours before I boarded my plane to Buenos Aires. They gave me the answer on that very evening, so that I could happily fly to my vacation.
I started in March, worked for 6 months and left TW on my own will. I left also my heart with them. I had a team of the youngest, most diverse, most passionate, sweetest and smartest group of people, who were not only colleagues but friends, families (literally, as there were a few married couples in my team) and comrades of each other.
I am professionally reborn with TW Spain and I will always remain grateful to them for that. They cared for me to the point that they brought food without me asking when I worked too long. They literally ran into my arms to hug me, when I had been away too long on my projects. They praised me at every opportunity and never let me down when I needed help.
In my first month, the research director Erik, came to the Barcelona office, announcing the dates of their annual conference the XConf. I told him I wanted to give a talk on AI topics at the conference. Without much discussion and him not knowing me at all, he welcomed me warmly to XConf and said that I could speak as I pleased.
He didn’t know how much this meant to me. I had been off the business scene for a year, I hadn’t been presenting at conferences for many years. I used to be passionate about presenting my research and ideas. Before, during and after my PhD I had taken every opportunity to present things. I love to share what I know and I am the happiest person if someone finds value in what I share and can be inspired. A long break intimidates you. I had asked for this opportunity to challenge myself and to prove myself that I still can do it. I am up and alive. I have my passion and capabilities still. Erik didn’t know what was going on in me. Of course not, how could he? He simply trusted me. That’s it.
I talked about Natural Language Processing and Conversational Agents twice at XConf, which happened once in Hamburg Germany and once in Manchester UK. I had some of the most emotional, inspiring, fulfilling two hours of the last few years of my life. I was one with my audience. I felt I was contributing my little contribution to this community. I felt happy, alive and creating something meaningful.
Thank you TW for the past six months with you. It was a wonderful ride. I hope I could return some of what I got from you personally and professionally. I left my heart in Barcelona and TW to sail off again to discover new shores. I know this is want to do at this stage of my life and I am excited about what will come across my way. I don’t want to say I am not looking back though. Because I do. And I feel grateful and I feel content. Thank you lovely people of TW Spain. Muchas gracias para todo.