It was in August 2014 when I suddenly received an email if I could be interested in a role as SAP Project Manager for a complex project in Qatar. The sheik of Qatar had invested in a brand new company in solar technology and an international team was going to implement an SAP project with many modules in scope: FICO, MM, SD, PP, QM, PM, WM, DMS, EHSM, HR, Solution Manager.
If I could be interested … ?
Just for kidding and to tease my wife I forwarded this email to her. In the evening we started discussing this topic and one thing led to another.
I started evaluating seriously this opportunity. Highly interesting job content :-), very solid financial remuneration :-), far away from home :-(.
I got the luxury from my wife that I was allowed to choose in absolute freedom without having to feel constrained about the difficult situation this would create for our family. Focusing on the opportunities (for me) instead of focusing on the problems, what a woman …
Giving up part of your own freedom to allow your partner to fulfill his potential is a sign of true unconditional love.
After discussing thoroughly all aspects of this opportunity with my future employer and after some nights sleeping over it I was convinced and made a firm decision to embark for this adventure.
So I started working on this challenging project and it turned out indeed to be a big adventure.
First of all the positive elements: my project management skills were strongly strengthened, I got to learn better multiple other cultures and I was rewarded with a very solid remuneration.
But (of course) it was not only a bed of roses. I was confronted with many severe challenges. Some examples:
- just before the start of the project the client started substantially interchanging the scope of the first phase and the second phase
- scope change requests were almost impossible (read: implementation of extra scope had to be possible, getting budget for it was impossible)
As a consequence I had to work 7/7 days for many months and many nights were too short. It took me blood, sweat and tears (yes, all 3).
Before you start getting worried too much: I survived and let me reassure you, after we forced some miracles, we have delivered the project (just) on time and with great quality.
Not only on professional level did I grow a lot, also on personal level this project was a real eye-opener.
My wife Charlotte and our 3 kids Marthe, Lonne and Amon have missed me tremendously much. And me I have missed them enormously much.
On average there was a rhythm of working 4 weeks in Qatar and then working 1 week from Belgium. Believe me, that is many moments to miss each other’s company, love, hugs and many moments of saying goodbye.
I had worked already multiple times abroad (United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Mexico, US-Texas, US-North Carolina, Italy, Czech Republic and Slovakia) but this was always for trips of maximum 2 weeks.
Via this Qatar experience I have come to the insight that my family is what’s most precious to me. Just being together with Charlotte, Marthe, Lonne and Amon and doing stuff together is my main source of happiness.
Unbelievable how I can enjoy now the very little things of life, only because I can do them together with my loved ones.
I feel so rich … only it cannot be expressed in Qatar Riyals or in US Dollars.
And that way I have become unexpectedly multi-millionaire in Qatar.