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Thomas Spoelstra speaking: From big too small

On December 31, 2019, I walked out the door at Stater, the last day of employment for just over 5 years. I had mixed feelings; a lump in my throat on the one hand and butterflies in my stomach on the other. The craziest thing is that this move wasn’t really planned either.

I wasn’t like, “in 5 years I’m going to be looking for a new job.” I am (was?) more like: if I’m having a good time and the work is fun (and challenging), then time doesn’t matter.

How it started

Actually, this story starts 14 years back … I was working at Worldpay with some nice DBA colleagues. Got on well with them, and even after my time at Worldpay we stayed in touch. From time to time Martijn and I would call each other, or we’d have a cup of coffee somewhere in the neighborhood.

Just catching up, what are we doing, what do we see happening around us, where are we going. Martijn told me about the company he set up and somewhere along the way I wanted to be a part of that too.

At the end of 2019 I got an app from Martijn if I had time and interest to visit the business, and get acquainted with Gerard and Edco, the two other founders.

A cup of coffee is always possible of course It was a more than nice conversation and shortly after Martijn called if we could meet again. So the ball started rolling and I decided to take the big step of leaving a company with 1000 employees and going to a company with a fraction of the number of employees.

“Ik ben in een stroomversnelling terechtgekomen – snel leren, veel tot mij nemen. Iedere dag iets nieuws. Dit geeft voldoening, energie – en aan de eind van de week voel ik ook dat ik toe ben aan weekend.”

Thomas Spoelstra

Teamlead en Senior DBA Consultant

The Big Picture

That’s how I officially started at OptimaData on January 1, 2020. Really different from a big company. It took some getting used to the freedom – “specify what kind of laptop you want”, “No Windows, no point” – but for me a relief. Self in control, self choice and on the upside, 2 ex-Worldpay colleagues who have now become direct colleagues again.

I was vice president of the OR at the previous employer and I found the work at the OR super. Great to switch gears in all areas. That experience comes in handy now because I now often have to consult with customers and prospects. Answering customer questions, advising customers and thinking with customers about appropriate solutions. Gaining insight into “The big picture,” the question behind the question. For me as a techie this remains a challenge not to get into all the small technical details right away, but to get an overview first.

I was often asked if this wasn’t scary for me to change jobs at my age – I am, after all, a 50-something. Of course this was scary but less scary than the feeling of not really being in control of my own future. I also often heard about security, and the uncertainty of a new job. For me, security was also only a false security, nothing more than notice.

In the Clouds

Thomas aan het werkMy previous employer has a big Cloud ambition, to bring a substantial part of its systems to the cloud and they are very slowly starting it step by step.

Here I am almost just in the Cloud, so to speak. I’m on a fast track – learning fast, taking in a lot. Something new every day. This gives satisfaction, energy – and at the end of the week I also feel that I am ready for a weekend.

From small to big

I can hardly believe that when I write this now, 6 weeks after I started . Maybe it is because I feel so at home here.

If someone were to ask me today if I would do this again, I can only answer with a resounding “yes.” Do I have any regrets? Yes, but only because I didn’t take this step much sooner.

In conclusion, I went from small to big….

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