I am a 28-year-old Telecommunications Engineer from Venezuela, and I would like to begin this letter with an explanation of why I am
looking to work and grow as a professional in a different country than the one I’m living right now.
In 2012 I received my degree as a Telecommunications Engineer in Venezuela. At that time I had already been working approximately 8
months with the first contractor who opened their doors and allowed me to be in their internship program (Qspan). This contractor was one
of the biggest contractors with Ericsson in Venezuela. They also had business with companies like Huawei, and service providers like
Movistar and Digitel.
My first experience was reviewing a big stock of Site surveys for RBS which needed to be delivered to our customer (Ericsson) (after the
deadline). This was an awesome experience because I had to learn so much about the 2G network and building a relationship with the
customer. My boss at that time tried to teach me in the best way possible from the basics, including how to create a formal e-mail, through
standard protocols, and a lot of other things that were new for me. I was just finishing university and this was extremely awesome to me. This
was literally an everyday learning process, and I really enjoyed receiving all this knowledge.
After a few months, my responsibilities inside the company started to grow. I was no longer the young intern, and I was promoted to Field
supervisor. This beginning was probably one of the best things that could ever happen to me. This process showed me a lot of things. I had to
deal with our installers as well as the customer, and this kind of experience was a big jump in my life. I always tried to treat everyone in the
way I would like to be treated, with my family values at the top. In this new stage of my professional life, I had a deal with the
Implementation manager in Ericsson and their supervisors. I had an awesome relationship with the IM’s in Ericsson, and this was probably
the reason why I ended up working with this company, but let’s continue with this story.
After a few months, the contractor owner saw something in me and offered me a new position, this time as a Project Coordinator for a big
wave of public phones which needed to be installed nationwide. I took this opportunity as a new challenge to prove myself in the managing
area with everything I learned from my mentor. This new position included client meetings (Movistar Telefonica), Government paperwork,
installation supervision, creating installation standard protocols, and being the mentor for new interns. My professional career plan was
going the right way, beginning as an Intern with a contractor, then moving to Supervisor, and then Coordinator. I had to start thinking
ahead. I wanted to be an employee of the client (Ericsson, NSN) and finally arrive to meet with the service provider with all this knowledge in
my back pocket. At the moment, everything was running great.
My first opportunity with a “Big” company was with ZTE. I received a proposal to be part of their field supervisors team with a government
project. This was my first “real interview”. After the recruiter asked the typical questions, she asked me if I speak English, and I said, “Sure, I
know how to speak English.” But to be honest, this was the first time in my life I would have a conversation with somebody in this language.
All my knowledge of English I had learned due to videogames, TV series and movies, so I was very afraid at that time. Thankfully everything
went well and I ended up with this new position.
Now my 3 step career plan was at the second stage. Working with the client was totally different. I was no longer the last link in the chain. I
was in the middle this time. This new learning process was overwhelming. I had to learn about Chinese culture, perform longer trips, drove
almost nationwide with this project, and learned great things every day. Everything was going great for me. This time I was working with a
microwave project and telecommunications tower erection. Knowledge is power, and I felt powerful at that time.
My life project was starting to grow. I wanted to be part of this big organization, and grow inside the company like I did with the contractor.
The sky was my limit… but suddenly my country started to collapse. I remember my monthly salary was 7000Bsf, (the local currency), and I
had the opportunity to have my first vacation trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. At that time the plane ticket was only 4980Bsf, so it
was really comfortable to have a regular lifestyle. But while in Punta Cana I saw a lot of chaos through TV coverage, and I knew at this time
everything was starting to change.
2013 was the year everything started to change. After my return to Venezuela we had a meeting in ZTE Headquarters and they were offering
us to resign our contracts and sign with one of their contractors to continue working in the project. This was mind-blowing for me, I was here
to start my career at a big company, and signing with a contractor was the opposite of my plan. After a long conversation with my project
manager, he explained to me that due to government reasons they were not able to keep us in the company, so this was the best way to
continue our careers. I was not in favor of that decision so I picked up my phone and called one of the IM’s of Ericsson to see if she could help
me and send my resume to Ericsson to start all over again.
My professional Career at ZTE was ending, and thankfully this former Implementation Manager at Ericsson was now a Project Manager. She
was very pleased with my job as a contractor 1 year prior, so she asked for my resume. I received the phone call I was waiting for. They were
offering me a job at Ericsson as a field supervisor.
2 months after resigning with ZTE, I was signing a 1 year contract in Ericsson. This time was totally different. No interview, and directly to
the point. They provided me with safety equipment, a laptop, and showed me the way to the service delivery manager who was in charge at
that moment. I was excited. This was my time to learn about 3G and RBS6000. Prior to this experience I only had the opportunity to work in
2G with NSNS with Ericsson, so this was another big step for me. But suddenly reality struck back. After the meeting with the service delivery
manager, he assigned me to a 2g project with NSN equipment. I was going backward in a big way.
From Field Supervisor to Implementation Manager: This was a little awkward, due to the political and economic situation in my country. I
was working in Ericsson installing NSN Equipment. At that moment I was like an outsider. It was a strange situation but wait… this was part
of my career plan, remember? Stage 2, “supervisor with the client”. In this opportunity, I used my previous contractor experience with NSN
equipment and started on this small team (IM and me) of NSN installation. After a few months, the IM of this project was not doing all of his
tasks, to be honest. He was making a mess with the project. He had all this field experience but he did not feel comfortable at the office, I
used to have experienced managers before, but this felt like a train wreck. Thankfully, I was not the only one who noticed it. The service
delivery manager was aware of the situation, and suddenly after a few incidents he decided to put me in charge and he had the former IM
agree to be a field supervisor. The former IM was ok with this decision, and I was surprised but happy.
Stage 2 completed: After a 3 years’ journey, my 2nd step of the career plan was completed. I always dreamed about it. I was now an
implementation manager at Ericsson. As you should suppose, the former IM only lasted like 3 weeks and suddenly I was alone as IM and FS
because nobody knew how to configure NSN equipment at Ericsson. So they provided me a new resource and I had to train him in 2G
network and NSN equipment. Thankfully he was a proactive person, and it wasn’t difficult to teach him about this project. After a few
months, the situation in my country was a mess. My salary was now 11600Bsf, but the same plane ticket to Punta Cana was now 80.000BsF.
The economy In Venezuela was dying every single day.
At the beginning of 2015, we were supposed to install 75 RBS with NSN technology but suddenly the service provider cut those numbers to
only 5, and my journey as an IM was coming to an end. After a few meetings, I was ordered to give the handover to the Ericsson 3G IM
because it was senseless to have an IM of only 5 sites in the year.
I spent 2 months learning about RBS 6000 and 3G Ericsson Technology by myself, and with the friends I had made in the time inside the
company. I was doing courses and workshops of different things inside Ericsson, but this was another breakdown for me. I had no future
assured. I was practically in limbo now.
May of 2015 was probably the worst time for Ericsson in Venezuela. At least 50% of the company had to resign due to a new political law that
forced all the companies in the country to directly hire all their employees. Sadly, at this time there were no projects to keep all the staff and
it was time to say goodbye.
I was back at the beginning of stage 2, but this time it was 10 times worse. The economy did not allow me to have a decent salary working in
my profession and there were no new projects to work on. It was a difficult time for me. My career plan was stopped by the government, and
yet I still had to eat and support my family.
As you may know, in my country we do not have access to foreign currency due to Government regulations, so the best way to have a decent
life style was to earn your salary In USD$. So I begin my search on how to improve my economic situation. At this time I knew a had decent
English skills and I was a tech guy, so I started to look for freelance jobs and I found the perfect job for me. It was an 8 hours a day: IT
helpdesk campaign. It was completely different from my previous jobs, but it was the only alternative to this awful economic situation.
After a few months, I became the Senior representative for this campaign. I was working sometimes a 04:00am to 04:00pm shift due to
inconveniences with my colleagues and internet issues etc. Unfortunately this adventure came to an end. The company who hired us, decided
to replace the IT remote with local staff in their office and I had to start all over again.
Due to my good relationship with this Philippine company they offered me a new campaign, this time it was as a customer service agent. I’ve
got to be honest. This was not what I was looking for, but it was an opportunity to keep my income, and this is how I became a Customer
service Freelancer. My career plan was dying, and sometimes we have to adapt ourselves to the environment to survive, but it is not easy to
make these changes.
After 3 months in this campaign, they started to release people and unfortunately, I was one of them. Now I was with no Freelance income
and no possibility to keep working in what I was passionate about. If you see my Gmail Sent Emails tray, I believe that there must be at least
200 resumes I’ve sent out, looking for an opportunity.
In July of 2016, I received a WhatsApp message offering me a job opportunity in Mexico to work with Ericsson. After almost 2 months
without income, the biggest opportunity of my life arrived. This was a 1 month contract with option to be extended to work with 3G and LTE
technology so I grabbed my pack, and enjoyed the best trip of my life. I tried my best in Mexico, and as a result I was the last deployment
supervisor to be released from the project with the consulting company that hired me.
Now I am back in Venezuela, again as a freelancer with my Filipino friends. I just want an opportunity to keep my dream, and make my
family and myself proud.