It is now more than a year ago, that my manager remarked during my yearly performance appraisal: “you did not submit any patent this year, how about your creativity, don’t you need a change in your job?” With this question in mind, it started an internal process which lead me to the development of my own future plans. I realized that after 28 years of service to my employer NXP, I was ready for a new challenge. My job has become in the past years more one-sided and developed to a narrow view. In the years before, I visited customers on a regular base, traveled between the concern and customers, tested our products, or the products I designed myself, in the lab. Furthermore I participated in the development of IC-technology processes. Most of those jobs are now done by specialists. Looking back at the last five to ten years, I found myself most times behind my desk and computer screen, for the design and verification of electronic circuits. Furthermore I have hardly any affinity with the products my department is designing and producing. The main application is for use in mobile telephones and personally I hate mobile phones. If I would not take any action then I should be still behind that same computer screen for the next ten years, until the normal retirement age of 67.
In a dialogue with a pension consultant I found out that if I should retire early, let’s assume starting from January 2015, I would receive a considerable pension benefit for the rest of my life. The amount was so much higher than expected that I was asking myself, ‘what I am still doing at NXP?’ That day in the spring of the year 2014 was a beautiful day and the sun was shining and the birds were singing outside. I was looking at a bright and sunny future. However that future still had to be filled in. If I would stop working for my employer, then I don’t want to sit home, but I should have some kind of voluntary job. Indeed I am working now for more than fifteen years as a volunteer in my free time for a local radio station and spent there many hours a week. But I dislike the idea of spending there more hours than I do now, there in that basement in Groesbeek. I was looking for a nice combination of travelling and work.
In January of the year 2014 I had already booked a holiday trip for three weeks to Suriname, including a tracking through the jungle, with scheduled leave in October 2014. Ten years before I was already in Suriname for a holiday and I had the impression that it is a nice a beautiful country. So Suriname could be a country to stay for a longer time. During my visit there in 2004, I noticed that there are a lot of radio stations, in the capital Paramaribo and even more small stations deeper into the jungle, along the main rivers. One of the dealers of software for the local radio station in Groesbeek works on projects for a radio station in Paramaribo on a regular base. This dealer arranged for me a contact at ‘Sky Radio & TV – Suriname’. An e-mail to the management wherein I offered my services resulted very soon in a positive response. After a period of mailing and conversations using Skype with one of the members of the management team it became to an impression of the outlook of a job at Sky Radio & TV. The practical experience in my job as main engineer at the local radio station was the starting point. We agreed that we would call this project a voluntary job while the housing should be paid by Sky Radio as a reimbursement of expenses. The agreement should last a year with a desired starting date in the first days of January 2015.
In the meantime the plan became more robust and was developed further. Now I am busy with the arrangement around all formalities, for example the request for a permit for staying and working in Suriname. It might be considered as a big change in my life, but I see the work in a foreign country for about a year as an important step in my own development. It is the step from a small local radio station to a more professional broadcasting company with national coverage. When I return somewhere in the end of 2015, I will try to find some work in The Netherlands which builds on the experiences from Suriname. This might be some freelance job or work for only some days in the week. This plan can worked out in more detail later on.
The real implementation of my plan is almost for certain, there seems to be now already no return. What could hamper my plan or delay it, might be a problem in the request for a staying permit for Suriname in time. The throughput time of that request is about three months, so it might be time critical for my wish to take a flight in January 2015. The outsiders might consider it as a big and risky step, but for myself I can’t find any reasons for not taking that step.
On September 10, 2014 I took the first big step to announce my plan to the human resource manager of my employer. As said before, in October I will travel to Suriname, at first for the booked group tour, mainly through the jungle, but also for visiting Sky Radio & TV in Paramaribo to meet the people and the company. Therefore I decided to travel alone two days ahead for having enough time for the acquaintance. I will be important for me that we put the verbal arrangements on paper and have a look at the promised apartment which should be available. When I am back in The Netherlands in the first week of November I will announce the final go/no-go decision to my managers. From then on all necessary formalities should be started..
Because I will be leaving for only a year, or somewhat less, I keep my house in the Netherlands. For the habitation and taking care, I have the choice of some possible candidates. After the return in The Netherlands after my holiday trip in October of this year, a very busy time will start with all the necessary preparations before my leave. For a year I have to quit with my work for the local radio station in Groesbeek and I also have to quit or freeze my membership of the Nijmegen Athletics. I hope to find some kind of running track in Paramaribo instead.
The intention of this website is to keep friends in The Netherlands informed about my experiences in a world at a distance of nine flying hours.
This music was my source of inspiration for my plans; it is from a ‘flexi disk’ single freely distributed at a well-known grocery when you bought a special kind of coffee when I was about five years old. This year I found it back on a CD.
Thanks to Max Woiski – Junior
A common asked question was: “when do you leave?” That was not easy to say, because the moment of the approval for the request of the staying permit seemed rather unpredictable. In the last days of January I got the message that my request was approved. That same day I bought a ticket to Suriname for the departure date of Feb. 19, 2015.
For reading more about the preparation of this adventures, press “before”.
For reading about where I live in Suriname and how my apartment looks, pres “stay”.
For reading about my experiences and adventures in Suriname, pres “daily blog”, in Dutch.
For reading about myfurther plans after the Suriname experience, press “afterwards”.