It came as quite a surprise to ourselves when the idea first popped up: me working for and with RJ.
For ten years, I have been working in the point of sale hardware industry, and I liked my job, my customers, (most of) my colleagues and (some of) my bosses. I was not planning on quitting the job I told you about here and on some other posts; and yet the idea to start something entirely new so strongly appealed to me that we went through with it.
And here I am, with my first week on the new job already under my belt!
But let me tell you how this began:
RJ has (or is!) his own company. He works in data protection and IT security. When he started his own business a bit more than two years ago, he had of course no idea whether he was going to be successful or not, and where it was all headed. When we first met, he was still looking for customers. Only a few months later, he had so much work that he had to turn down inquiries from potential customers, and often had to work on weekends in order to finish tasks for his existing customers.
This meant that I got a glimpse of what his work was like more than once; sometimes I was able to help him a bit, and sometimes we both worked from my home, I in my regular office (i.e. the living room) and he in the Third Room, which has a desk and internet connection ready to use as well.
It is RJ's habit to ring me when he is in the car on his way home from work; we talk about how his day has been, what I've been doing, and so on.
One late afternoon in August, he rang as usual, and told me of a conversation he'd had with his biggest customer. The man had suggested to him that they get another external consultant in addition to him, so that all the work could be done without overloading him; he also said something like "Don't you think it is time for you to expand your business?".
RJ then went on to think aloud and started listing the kind of skills and characteristics he'd be looking for in a potential employee; all of a sudden, we were both quiet for a second, and then exclaimed at the same time "That sounds like you!" (RJ) and "That sounds like me!" (I). Thus the idea was born - but we laughed it off at first. After all, I had a job and was not looking for anything else, plus I came from a different industry and had no expertise in what RJ was working on.
But the more we thought about and talked about it, the more logical it seemed.
When we spent a week together on Majorca in September, we had plenty of time to think and talk things through - of course not neglecting the factor "business v. private", either.
After much deliberation and soul-searching on both sides, we went ahead with it, and made a proper contract in October. I handed in my notice - much to the shock of my boss, who truly had not seen it coming. And then I said good-bye to those of my customers I had come closest with over the past ten years, my boss came to pick up the company's laptop and had one last coffee with me, and next thing I knew, I was dressed in a new business outfit and all ready to go to work on my first day!
At our biggest customer's, we have our own office. With our smaller customers where we are not expected to be present for most of the week, we usually go there for a day or half a day, have our meetings with them, and then do the actual work from the home office.
Most weeks, I will have at least one day working from home. Right now, these home office days mean studying the relevant laws and other information about our particular subjects of data protection and IT security. It is a lot to learn and take in, but I am very much ready for it and truly enjoy learning all those new things.
Of course, it is still early days, but after our first week of working together, RJ and I have not yet had any reason to regret our decision :-)