26/01/1998 – 26/01/2018
No, nobody died.
Today it’s completing 20 years since I started my SAP career. The first day of my Abap Academy. What a journey! In fact I would be more fair (or fairer) if I counted since the day I answered that phone call in my first ever job in a Software house, just 6 months after my graduation in Computer Science. The call was from my great friend and University colleague Waldir Rodrigues Jr., in which he said: “come and join me here, this SAP stuff is a great opportunity”. It was December 1997, no idea of the exact date. I just remember to have thought: “SAP? What a … is this? But if he says it will be good, I will give it a try.” I also remember to have talked to my colleague Elaine immediately after I hang up and said: come with me!
And here I am now, thanks to him and to myself. It’s choice-not chance-that determines our destiny. And thanks to many others who helped me, trusted in me or shared this journey with me. Elaine is currently working for SAP Brazil, and she is a reference for me and for many.
I won’t talk too much about my journey because it’s not easy to put in few paragraphs 20 years of experiences in so many different places with so many different people and cultures, and so many different things I had to work with. And what may be so interesting for me may be tedious for others. I will follow the suggestion of this article: “I’m going to keep this brief, because you’re not going to stick around for long.” Farhad Manjoo says in this article that we are in the age of skimming.
(BTW there is a Brazilian app called 12 minutos that tells you a summary of a book in 12 minutes, so that you don’t even have to read it all).
My Abap Academy was the cradle of a friendship that lasts for the same 20 years. We were a group who really had fun together during 4 weeks. Some of us had the chance to work together in the same project, some didn’t, but the meetings for a beer or dinner kept us close for many years. Always having so much fun and laughing for hours. We still try to keep in touch, some meet more often, and every meeting feels like those days. I always remember my ABAP Academy days as some of the best I had in my career. And I really wanted to register this feeling somehow. Now I did it. :p
After finishing my training I immediately went to a customer ( a very small one.. hehe..one of the biggest Banks of Brazil) as an experienced ABAP consultant! Yep… Since 20 years ago these things have been happening. And I was not alone. I went with other colleagues with the same experience or a little more (some months more than us). And besides thinking at that time that it was so wrong (well, I still do) it was the best thing that the company could have done to me (even not really caring about me at all). Because I had to face challenges since the beginning and fight to survive, in a time where documentation was rare or none, SCN or SDN didn’t exist, not even sapfans.com, when Print Files (remember those? Oh, maybe you were not even born) were hundreds of pages and I had to print them in the customer and bring home to study at night. That was what happened for instance with the IDOC development that was given to me by my dear friend who was team lead. It’s not sarcastic, she is my dear friend until today and she trusted a lot in me. She said: this ‘IDoc’stuff.. nobody knows it. I am sure you can do it.” I think I had 6 months experience at that time, a senior!
At the end everything went well. And I made new friends that I also have until today. Note: in that project we were 6 women and 1 man. All ABAP developers. #GirlsWhoCode
That project was just the start of my 20 years journey and teached me many of the things I use until today. It was a great school. Maybe the greatest school. School is meant to prepare you for life. And it surely did.
After that year (I spent 1 year there) I had many other projects for other 2 years in that consulting company, where I learnt also how to lead a team and how is important to do things the best you can, with quality. And I learnt how people can be good and how people can be evil (sometimes the same person). And how you have to take care of yourself, of your education and your career, and not expect your company or anyone else to do it for you. Remember: it’s choice… And when I felt I was ready to fly and follow my dream, and of course when I had an opportunity knocking on my door, I quit. My dream was to travel, to work abroad. And for that I spent years studying English, then Spanish, then Italian (for 2 years I had Spanish and English one after the other, from 6:30pm to 10:30pm, as IT consulting spends a lot of our time, you know, so I had to use my time the best way I could).
And then from that moment until today I worked in 7 countries besides mine, visited many more, including beautiful Iceland, made a lot of new friends and took thousands of pictures, and hope it continues like that for many more years.
In these 20 years working with SAP I lived so many amazing experiences, some very challenging, some sad, but most of them very positive and unforgettable. So much reading, so much teaching, so much learning. Specially learning with others. I was nominated an SAP Mentor, I met nice people who I admire, some of them since many years, I spoke in panels about my journey, I was interviewee and interviewer, I wrote articles to an international magazine, I wrote blogs, I worked in different areas of SAP, I learnt how to organize events, I am learning how to speak in public. I think I did a lot of different things.
I started to write more details about my journey but as it was becoming too long, and we are in the age of skimming, I stopped. The most important and best thing of all is: I had fun. And still have.
“Life is a journey, not a destination”.
”Life is what happens to you while you are busy making plans.”
I intended to post this blog on 26th, but as I once told Tammy, it takes a lot of time for me to put on words my feelings and story. The hours fly and it’s now 27th 1:52am now (in Brazil).