In my previous post I wrote about my Adventure in Consultancy and Personal Growth 2022. The story is not complete yet. I mentioned Xpirit | Part of Xebia in both of those blog posts and it is a post worthy to write on how I joined Xpirit | Part of Xebia. In a later post, I will write how I experience Xpirit | Part of Xebia from the beginning till now.
Why did I want to leave?
My previous employer asked me to teach and preach about more testing and better documentation in the company. Although I first declined that job, my project manager partnered up with me... and I did want to taste the challenge to make change happen... I learned much from a Udemy course called Life Coaching, but that subject is again a post on its own. (Spoiler alert, I need to finish that course actually).
Together with management and believers under my peers, I started preaching, teaching about writing tests, documenting, talking to each other, fewer silos, escalating, help people transition from Net Framework to .Net core 3.1. I also wrote a framework that helped people test and made the “It is not possible” to “okay, it seems possible”. I also talked a lot about how to apply SOLID principles in code, Dependency Injection, DevOps and automation, taking responsibility, and accountability... I took initiative to help spread knowledge among people and made meetings happen concisely and to the point with action items at the end of meeting, with a question if the meeting mattered and if not, how to address the problem then.
However, I ended up not knowing anymore what I could and wanted to do. I was giving advice, and energy but was not gaining energy back from it. I did gain experience in how to coach people and apply insights. I recognized what I learned from that Udemy course and Syntra`s course, Coaching for not-management ... Technology-wise, there seemed to be no room anymore at the company because the coaching/teaching will keep haunting me...
Enter Xpirit | Part of Xebia
During my job coaching, I searched for other work to see what should spark me more.
A recruiter informed me that Xpirit | Part of Xebia was hiring. They mentioned the name Pieter Gheysens. That made me curious. The recruiter told me it was a company with expertise that is looking for a new headquarters that should be close to me.
I was happy to meet Pieter. I have a mantra with the following sentence: If the interview is not a match, at least you can network a little bit. Annemie was also in the Microsoft Teams call. It was a conversation like you did not expect from most solicitations.
They sold their company to me, not the history, not the unit, not the kind of work. Xpirit | Part of Xebia hires people that they believe in. Pieter said that there will always be work available for good people.
They talked about their mission and vision. Fate should have something to do with it. I learned from my previous CTO Cedric a lot of why mission and vision also matter. In my "personal growth"-blog post, I wrote about discovering my mission and values in what I seek. Three of the four of their values just matched mine: people first, knowledge and quality. A part of their mission "Authority" is also one that I carry in my heart. I want to be known as a genuine person. He is transparent in what he says and does.
What was also mentioned was they do four innovation days a year. That is whole day that you can work together to gain knowledge. There is also a weekly Xpirit tuesdays in the Netherlands. In Belgium it happens once a month for now. There you do on knowledge sharing.
Although it was consultancy, I could keep my anxiety about it low by keep telling myself Einsteins quote about insanity. I review the conversation with some of my close friends.
My second conversation was going to be more technical with Gill Cleeren. Normally Marcel De Vries, should be there as well. He had other priorities at that time. Gill`s enthusiasm was flying over the wire when he talked about Xpirit | Part of Xebia. He told me about his backstory. We found an agreement in the following life lesson: "In IT, it is always the same shit".
Little did I know that I learned at the end of the whole story that they love doing “Epic shit”. After the interview, Gill told me that Xpirit | Part of Xebia always takes an assessment. I never pass an opportunity to gain experience. Due to the nature of the assessment, I can`t spoil the fun when you would want to join Xpirit | Part of Xebia. You get the assignment in your mailbox with a nice phone call that gives guidance.
The extra conversation was with Marcel. He made a genuinely nice impression on me. He told how Xpirit | Part of Xebia started in the Netherlands. We made conversation about his backstory and mine also. Xebia wanted to have a Microsoft branch. A unit part specialises in people with authority. People that you know from, ok, he knows his stuff. It is of no surprise a lot if MVP's are working for Xpirit | Part of Xebia. I especially took an interest in why he started this journey. Ask him when you got the chance.
Magazines and Books
At that time, it did not strike me that I already read the famous magazines from Xpirit | Part of Xebia. They also send me the book Getting Naked. Annemie informed me that this is all just free. However, they recommended to me the book Getting Naked to read, because that is the way how they want to do business. With the magazines, I should get a better overview of what the culture is like.
I can not say a lot about the assessment, except that you need to prepare an exercise, and a PowerPoint and present that. There will be questions and persons before you will assess what you deliver to see if you are a good fit for the company but most important of all if you are a good fit for the company.
The whole assessment felt very personal to me. The assessmentfor me was not seeing if I was a good fit but more in sense of where I stand in the IT-sector. For me, it was not about the job anymore, but more about the direction I need to take.
The advice that I got from the assessment was that I need not pursue Scrum Master and there is still a future for working with technologies, but I will have to work for it. They made the comparison with a plant in a pot. It is time for the plant to take root in another bigger pot, so the root can feed again. That will be important for that personal growth as well. For me, that comparison felt very “spot on“. But I already felt the fear of making this big of a change in my career ( link personal growth ).
When Xpirit | Part of Xebia wants to move forward with you, they will suggest an agreement. But first, you can have an awesome T-Shirt that you passed the assessment. You can see a lot of Xpirit`s swag here.
They offered me a contract and the fear was keeping me from signing. But I managed to go for it. I had nothing left to lose. After a conversation with my previous employer, the door kept being open for me. That helped enormously in my ability not to do something that I regret. I am searching for myself, but the colleagues and other aspects were great.
After signing the contract, I will still oblige to work for my previous employer for 7 weeks. That is a long time when you fall in doubt from. They say, do not look back. That is quite difficult when you still live in the past. Literally. I explained my situation to Annemie and they send me an invitation to the Xpirit Tuesday, that are held monthly in Belgium in Vandervalk conference rooms. When the headquarters in Belgium is finished, the goal is also to have Xpirit tuesday on a weekly base.
Although I know that everything is in the context of time and will not last forever. Although Xpirit | Part of Xebia is a company that will take care of its employees. For me, it is an opportunity to see if I can fetch my personal goals with Xpirit | Part of Xebia. If you want to know if you have what it takes, just say hello to them and do small talk. If that leads ultimately to an assessment, you will gain experience and lessons from it. Even if you or they do not want to proceed forward (yet). The yet is an important addendum. If you feel like you followed the growth path you can apply again and Xpirit | Part of Xebia will assses you again.
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