Discover more from All Remote - with Mark Wormgoor
It's a small world after all...
When I was 18, I spent a year in the United States as a senior in high school on a student exchange program.
During the year, I made a lot of friends, some from the US but others from all over the world: Finland, Sweden, Ecuador, Austria, Russia, Thailand, Germany and many others. Very recently, I caught up in Helsinki with one of them - and it seemed as no time had passed for either of us (in all honesty - it’s been 30 years).
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The world is a small place - people are the same wherever you go
For the next 10 years, my life was very much focused on the Netherlands - I studied and worked with Dutch people and for Dutch companies. In 2005, I became involved in one of the first large outsourcing deals in the Netherlands, handing over my work to an Indian company. Ever since then, my work has changed. English is now my “work” language. I’ve worked closely with people from every continent and from dozens of countries. Quite a few of these people have become friends and I’ve visited their cities, their offices and their homes.
Working closely with someone on the other side of the world can be a life-changing experience. On the one hand, you’re both from very different backgrounds. You live in different places, with different cultures, different foods, and a different climates. On the other hand, working for the same organization with a shared culture, shared values and shared goals creates a very strong personal connection.
My first visit to the Philippines was in 2016, visiting one of the outsourcing centers we worked with in Manila. After a day of mandatory presentations, we went to dinner. Jenny (who’s responsible for the contract) and I walk down to the parking garage in the office building and she drives me to the restaurant in her personal car. Together with part of the local team, we spend most of the night discussing personal lives, how they combine work with taking care of their families, how important their middle class income is to support their families, but also how tough it can be when their work is in Manila and their parents live further away. In the Philippines, there is little to no organized care for elders, and children are expected to care for their parents as they age.
It’s these moments, when I got a glimpse of people’s personal lives, their struggles and their ambitions, that I realize we’re all really not that different.
Building one world
All of these interactions have lead to my passion for remote work. Not only do I want to spend more time working with people all across the globe, I also want to help bring them more opportunities.
Sometimes it’s easy to limit ourselves to what we know or what we’ve seen, to look for opportunities or solutions close to home. I’m sharing my story to reiterate what a small world this really is, that people on the other side live their lives not too different from ours, with similar struggles and ambitions.
Let’s build our businesses, our lives and the future of this world as if this really is one world.