The years I spent at CGS Romania were among the happiest of my life, career-related. As many young people, I had had numerous jobs and went to University at the same time; jobs which were big or small, interesting or boring… With CGS, things were very different.
I had just graduated the National University of Music in Bucharest and the only things I knew how to do were to compose music and play the clarinet and the piano – therefore, I was not into any of those high-paying skills which get you to land a job that would immediately pay well and get you on the mid-level stages of career quite quickly. I did not know how to be a good manager, or a sales-person, or a marketing agent. I knew some computer-science, because volens-nolens, at the University of Music you get to study electronic music as well, and that involves complicate software and mastering of good technical skills.
I did not want a musical job, for many reasons which were logical for me, as well as personal choices. I wanted a technical job which would allow me to develop the fairly good technical skills (I knew the various versions of Windows, where everything was and what it did, a bit of Linux, the complicated musical tools and even a bit of PhP that I was proud of) – and, at the same time, that would allow my mind to focus solely on music when at home, with no second thought to unfinished projects at work or deadlines or meetings.
But who hires a musician on a computer-science position? No one did, of course, except CGS Romania. They said – look, if you pass the technical test and the language test, you shall be fine, we’ll teach you the rest and we are confident that if you learnt Bach’s compositional technique, you’ll quite surely be able to learn hardware troubleshooting.
Did they say hardware?
I accepted their offer happily and I never, not even once, regretted it. The interview was beautifully conducted by Simona; I got to meet the project manager, Dora, who welcomed me into the team and explained to me that I will be dealing with very delicate computer parts and I must be careful to identify the correct references. I was clueless as to what she was saying, but very soon everything fell into place. I was proud! I was working in a highly prestigious department and that was important and enriching at so many levels.
The training was very thorough and organized – at that time, it was held by Cornel. I will always remember Cornel, one of the calmest persons I ever got the chance to meet. But my best memory from the training was meeting Mihaela, who would be one of my closest co-workers and friends; we worked side by side for 6 years, we got pregnant at the same time, gave birth one month apart and returned from maternity leave altogether. It was beautiful and heart-warming!
The work was hard, but extremely well organized and my mind loved the technical aspects of it, the direct contact with customers, the technical trainings which I underwent with the technical engineers – back then, there was Raluca (to this day I remember her passion for artificial intelligence!) and later on, there was Alexandru – also one of my closest friends to this day, endowed with remarkable intelligence and a healthy passion for martial arts😊; and much later, after having returned from maternity leave, I collaborated with Lucian, who, along with the high proficiency in information technology, also possessed great pedagogical skills and I learnt a lot from him.
Colleagues came and left; but a few people stayed and I believe I was very lucky to be there, because those people who stayed were those in command functions, those who ensured the fluency and smoothness of our work and that is important for a team. When a team replaces its team-leader twice a year of more often, you know there may be a problem there. But in my team, those people stayed for years – and I believe that this is one of the main reasons for which I also stayed. Those reasons have names: Adina (who would later become Project Manager), Simona, Alina (my good Faby) and later on, Ianula. Also, the highest in command and one of the best and kindest people I have known – Cristina, the Project Manager who succeeded Adina She did not lead over “employees” – she coordinated a team of people which were, for her, friends. It mattered a lot. All those wonderful people remained my friends and this is more important than any other accomplishment; each of them made my life richer.
During this 6-year time period, I gave birth to my daughter Irina – just as Mihaela gave birth to Vlad. What a joy to have our children arrive about at the same time! I still remember how we would come to work in the late stages of the pregnancy, how we would take 40-50 calls and nibble on various foods and daydream about the names our children would have. And when Irina arrived, I was humbled by the love everyone showed her! To this day, Irina asks when may we go see Faby and she loves her as if she were her aunt (and nothing would make me happier than Faby to consider Irina her niece!)
Many wonderful things happened all the while. I developed the gift of visualising computers just by hearing their machine type and serial number; I got to solve technical issues that used to scare the hell out of me; I got to conduct complicated “computer surgeries” via phone. I befriended field engineers the face of whom I never saw, but the voice of whom was as familiar to me as that of my father. Bernard! And unavoidably, I became friends with some of the regular customers. Farid!
Colleagues got married, gave birth to children; our family grew larger and sometimes it grew apart, but we continued to nurture our friendships. Adina and my little Irina write letters; Bogdan Whatsapps me interesting bits of information related to old cases I treated (Bogdan is a somewhat unbelievable person and I do not have words to describe this good, hardworking man); Simona’s smile transcends all distances (it is forever engraved in my soul) and I believe her little daughter inherited it; Alex is my gossip genius buddy (did I say how proud I am of him?); Patricia transformed work into a spiritual practice (and she is an inspiration to me, despite having completely different spiritual paths – perhaps that is what brought us together); Faby is my good fairy which knows the deep corners of my soul no one else knows, because she was there in the hardest day of my life – and that cannot be forgotten.
There are many other good people that I love and cherish; it is only the lack of space which prevents me from mentioning every single one of them.
I learned, learned, learned from everyone I could. I learnt much more than technical skills. I learnt soft skills, patience (one needs it when customers call, upset that their computer no longer powers on), meticulosity, consistency and endurance. My soul became richer every day as I walked from home to work on Popovat street and crossed the bridge over Dambovita river. Each day I stopped on that bridge and took a picture, to remind myself that there are things which remain, despite the passage of time. I love the five-floored building; the ladies which did housekeeping; I loved my hyper-early shifts which, at some point, started at 7:30 AM and allowed me to see the sunrise. I love the view over the still-dormant Bucharest, from the 5th floor.
Unalterable circumstances made me choose another path one day. But if that path crossed my way and I was able to walk on it, it was only because I had worked at CGS. It was where I learnt what it took and if today it says “software engineer” on my badge, it is because the foundation was build there. I will be forever grateful.