“Τα πάντα ρει και ουδέν μένει.”
“Everything flows and nothing abides, everything gives way and nothing stays fixed” Heraclitus
“This chapter started in 2014. At that time, with a good position in the biggest FMCG company, a broad social network, my own music group, numerous other activities and no binding obligations, life rolled out good. At least it should. But something has been bugging me for quite some time… Borders!”
So, Konstantinos decided to become a man of the world.
“The final destination wasn’t important. Neither was the scope; paid or volunteer work. Priority was to change the scenery. Live with other people, learn different cultures, and see new landscapes.” Konstantinos visited a friend in Belgium for a week and during that time he started working on his action plan. Job positions were unlimited throughout the globe. He sent out five resumes, one landed in Belgium. During a night out in Antwerp, he met his girlfriend. “We talked and decided to meet again. In New Year’s Eve ’14 she flew to Greece to celebrate together. The exact same day I received a voice mail from Telenet for an interview. Hard to forget that date.” And in July 2015 Konstantinos stepped through the Telenet gate to start his Belgian career.
“Nope, I never doubted my move to Belgium. It was a big step, but if you keep the internal sunshine and the positive attitude, there is nothing to worry about. My family, my friends are still there to visit when I get homesick. Gave up a career? Well, a career is a marathon, not a sprint. Each has his own pace and goal. Music? I do miss the band though…hmm.” Until now, Konstantinos never regretted his relocation: “Only the fact that you set a goal and achieve it, gives you a lot of energy. I feel like I can go on and on.”
His attitude seems to be contagious. “Working in a collaborative team, surrounded by a positive, productive atmosphere is as important to me as for everyone. But to get there, everyone needs to contribute. So I decided to introduce ‘Friday Vitamins’. On sporadic Fridays, I share inspirational articles and interactive assessments within the procurement team.” He also supported raising further awareness for the blood donation cause, by posting content on the company screens like ‘Sharing life saves lives’.
Konstantinos gradually integrates in the Belgian way of living: “I am currently following Dutch courses. Not the easiest language but… I shouldn’t be talking! The food is good, but my heart goes to the beers! I try a different brand every time and take a photograph for my album. I’m also visiting many beautiful places, as I join trail races across the country!” And what about music? “Yes! Music is the universal language, I can’t live without it. We created a music band with colleagues from procurement, IT and Technology. We rehearse and jam bi-monthly. Eventually we will perform in an event, but having fun is the primary scope. We welcome any colleague who would like to join.”
Explore the world – an epilogue
“I’m not the first nor last ‘nieuwkomer’. Whether it’s by choice or forced it is a leap of faith. At first, coping with the new cocktail (country, job, people, way of living, etc.) may be challenging, but I would bear the brunt as living in a foreign country is one of those things that everyone should try, at least once. It contributes to one’s completion, expanding the narrow local borders and molding you into a citizen of the world.”