Meet Wouter Hofman. He is a QA from Purmerend in The Netherlands, and today he lives in Amsterdam. 8 years ago, he joined Visma Nmbrs by a happy accident, something both us and the Visma Nmbrs veteran couldn’t be happier about! Let’s find out more about his story in our "It’s all about the journey": a three-part blog series where we will meet Visma Nmbrs employees who decided that it was time for a new adventure. Let's uncover more about the exciting event of switching career paths together, and perhaps you’ll find some inspiration for your next life adventure?
Navigating this vast sea of work-life can be one big, fantastic adventure for sure, but as most of us know, it is many times exhausting, challenging and confusing. Questions ranging from “Am I on the right path” to “Will all the effort be worth it in the end”, ruffle the feathers of the mind just as much as the sails of our career boat, and it can be tough staying on course. Especially when we head into new uncharted territory. But sometimes, as we know from history, even if we have a specific destination in mind, it’s also possible to find out a bit too late that you set foot on an entirely wrong continent. Now, this month's story in the “It’s all about the journey”-series might not be of the same epic proportions as some historical mishappenings, but it’s fair to say that sometimes… Well, sometimes things just work out phenomenally through a happy accident!
Let’s go back in time
“To start laying out the foundation for my Visma Nmbrs journey, we have to go back to the very beginning: After high school, to be exact. I studied history and archaeology, and I even worked in archaeology and went into the field a few times.
I chose to study this because I simply love history. I still do. For the archeological part, I got interested in the pre-Roman history of Italy and how mythology and landscape go hand in hand. It’s fascinating how the landscape and geography of a country can help a country grow and form a sense of cohesion in society.
After I finished my studies I tried to make a proper living out of this profession. But in the end, I didn’t manage to find a job regularly. It was time for a new plan, so I decided that I wanted to become a history teacher. I thought it would be fun as I love talking about it. I started applying for the course. I still needed to bridge the gap between March and September when the course started. So I started my hunt for a side job, which led to that one key moment that changed everything. I had two tabs open: One tab for one position at a payrolling company, why would I want to apply for that, and the other one for a spot at a pasta place. And since I’m quite a good cook I naturally applied for the latter one.”
The Cristopher Columbus move
“A few days later, I got a very confusing response. They were interested in my application but wanted to know more about my education. I was a little confused by the response, and after a little investigation, I found out what happened; I’d accidentally mixed up the email addresses between the payroll company and the pasta restaurant. For a second, I wasn’t sure what to do, but I quickly decided that I would respond, and half an hour later, they called me and asked me to come over for an interview.
We held the interview on the same day, and near the end, I couldn’t help but feel that it was pretty great that things moved along so smoothly. That is when an enormous blonde guy rushed into the small interviewing room and started welcoming me in the most enthusiastic and loudest fashion: ‘Ah, you must be the new contact center guy! Welcome to Nmbrs. It’s very nice to see you! I hope you’ll be happy here.’
Heading back home, I was a bit confused and uncertain if I would get the job or not. A few days later, I got a phone call that they’d love to hire me. That is how I started my journey at Visma Nmbrs.”
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The most adventurous course isn’t always the clearest
“I started as a temp on the contact center on the 10th of April, having been interviewed at the end of March. I was honest with the Visma Nmbrs about my intention to leave later that year to study, and they were very understanding about my plans and goals. Nonetheless, Visma Nmbrs, being an employer supporting career growth, moved me in a couple of months from the contact center to a support consultant role. It felt great to be treated with so much respect and that they trusted me to give me more and more responsibilities. Also, having job security for the first time felt very good. And all this made me wonder if I should stay at this fun and energetic company a little longer than intended.
During my first months, I had a couple of meetings about how I was progressing and how they could help me grow. I always felt a bit awkward during these meetings because first, it felt wrong because I only would be with Visma Nmbrs for a year, and later because I was struggling with the idea of staying longer. During the second of these meetings, I had with Marieke Pepers. At one point, she got a bit annoyed and said: ‘I know you're not planning to be here for the long term, but please let us help you develop while you're still here! We want to help you excel!’ It was then when I spilled the beans and told her I was thinking about staying at Nmbrs just a bit longer.
It still took some time for me to make the final decision. But I truly enjoyed working at Visma Nmbrs. It felt great to be cared for by an employer and have the autonomy to explore the role myself, without others telling me how I should do it. It took me until December to decide to stay, and when I informed Marieke about my decision, I could feel she was delighted. It took only a few minutes before Michiel congratulated me in the most enthusiastic way possible. I then knew surely, if there had been even a shadow of a doubt. That was the right decision. And now, eight years later, I’m still here.”
A big growth spurt
“During these eight years, I got more than I asked for regarding career growth, which is marvelous. First, I was a Product Analyst for three months, then I progressed to agile work with the Product Owners and QA. I worked for 1.5 - 2 years as a Product Owner and 2 - 2.5 years as a Product Specialist. I started in QA a year ago and couldn’t be happier. It also confirmed that it was the right decision to stay at Visma Nmbrs. This kind of progression is possible here! Some people have to train a lot and apply for plenty of jobs to get this kind of progression, so learning all this on the job is incredible!
When I started, it was a time of change in the company as Visma Nmbrs was just beginning to grow from a small company to a larger company. That was 2014. Then it already felt like we were a family at Visma Nmbrs, and that very same honest and open core culture has been kept until this day, even as we continue to grow.
Visma Nmbrs is a supportive company, and I think our CEO Michael and CTO Louis are very helpful and trusting. I was afraid of making mistakes early on, but people quickly told me it was OK and not to be scared. They help you improve and give you room to grow and do everything at your own pace. That helped me as I started out and still does.”
An employer to back you up
“Working at Visma Nmbrs, I also got more technical as I went along, and the company always made sure to nurture and support that choice. A great example was when I was in my Product Owner role. I felt like I was going in the wrong direction. When it became clear that it wasn’t the most favorable role for me, Visma Nmbrs helped me move into the role of a Product Specialist. I feel much happier in the technical part, being part of improving things, and being deeply involved in the code.
Years later, when I found myself at yet another crossroad in my career, I reached out to my personal Visma Nmbrs coach Anna. I told her that I wanted to go for a QA role. She started the process, and my choice, once more, was greeted with so much enthusiasm. It felt good to know that this enthusiasm to help people grow and find their unique career paths is still there, and that’s why I’ll still stay on this brilliant ship and continue to cruise towards big adventures!”
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