Thank you Collabora
My interview with Collabora was cool and relaxed. It was over video conference, and I did it from the comfort of my sofa at home. The first call was with Neil, the engineering manager at the time, who was sitting somewhere outdoors in the UK. The second was with Sjoerd who is the core domain lead, and was calling from his place in the Netherlands. This looks very 2020, right? But these interviews took place in 2015, the year I started working from home.
I was a PhD student in Paris when I did the interviews, and working for Collabora meant that I could choose where to live. I returned to Switzerland after my grand parents decided to leave Basel and Aargau to the excitement and adventures that Brazil offered in the 1950s. My father was born in Brazil, I was born in Brazil, but I moved back to Zug in 2016.
While being able to choose where to live is powerful, this is not the best part of working for Collabora. Collabora is an open company, meaning that we have access to all information about the company, including commercial information. The access to information is only limited by our own privacy and by customer confidentiality. The openness empowers each of us to shape the future of the company, but most importantly, the openness enable each of us to do our own evaluation about the company health, so that we can decide, on our own terms, if Collabora is ready to weather the storms.
And what a storm took us by surprise in the first quarter of 2020! While we watched the world collapse, with all sorts of human drama unfolding, Collabora was ready to take care of us. While we know of countless cases of salary cuts, people being fired, and companies going into the void, Collabora gave us a generous bonus. Mine came with the attached message:
“Dear Peter, thank you for helping making 2019 a strong year! I would like to offer you our unconditional help, so take care of your health, and take care of the health of those around you first. Then adapt your environment to our new reality. This will go away, but will take some time”.
And so I did. On March 30, less than 2 weeks after my gym closed, I was back to my main hobby. While I don’t really enjoy working out alone from my garage, if feels great to be doing it again. An unexpected outcome of my garage gym was getting closer to my neighbors. Sascha gave me the boxing bag, which is something I always wanted. Now I am helping him getting along with computers, and after this mess is over he will teach me martial arts and self defense. The lovely Fassbind couple liked the initiative and besides words of incentive, they started to do more exercise themselves. Miro was also very friendly and lent me some professional equipment to install a bar that is screwed to the ceiling.
So while the tragedy is immense, I am doing an effort to find a positive side of all this mess. I learned the value of being at Collabora, and I got more integrated with my local community.