Vandana Raja


For all of us, there are multiple things that make up our identity-the many roles that we play in our personal lives, our passion or hobby, our job, etc. But what happens when we have to give up on one of these roles to honour another? A humungous conflict- one where no matter what you choose, you are going to be wondering if you chose right- definitely not a good place to be in.


When my spouse moved to the Netherlands, we almost immediately started looking for opportunities for me. In fact, that I would be able to work in the Netherlands without visa restrictions, was one of the main reasons for my spouse to take up the opportunity without a second thought. But easier said than done! By the time my husband met Kavitha from ESI (He was in Eindhoven and I was in India), I was having doubts about moving and leaving behind a flourishing career and possible international assignments. Both my husband and I instantly connected with the idea behind ESI since we were in the same situation as many expat families.


Soon afterwards, the ESI live event was being planned and I got to interact more with the ESI team. I was still in India and the team shared details with me and interacted regularly and even looked at the possibility of me joining the workshops/sessions via Skype. When I got to Eindhoven, there was a ‘crash course’ set up for candidates who joined late and I got to attend!

It was a tremendously useful session with information on the ESI live event, what to expect and what we needed to do as candidates to make the most of it. Participants also did an impromptu pitch and got feedback from Kate, Anne and Christine. We had a rehearsal planned few days before the event. I think this was very important since many of us were trying to restart careers and even for those of us who had left jobs recently, public speaking wasn’t a part of our day to day work in our IT careers. There was a sense of community and support from the ESI team and all participants as we all rehearsed our pitches. All the practice and support helped us to truly prepare and give our 100%.


This brings us to the second part- the opportunity. Kudos to the ESI team for having a well-planned and organised event. It was wonderful to hear all the pitches and different ideas/perspectives from the various speakers/panellists. As participants, we got to meet companies doing interesting work in various fields. At the end of the day, there was a feeling of contentment and renewed hope for many of us hoping to find a job. As I write this, I am about to attend a meet up of ESI community members to discuss our experience and learnings from the day. Over the last couple of weeks, we have received updates from the ESI team on companies which have expressed interest in possibly hiring us. We can achieve great results when we look at obstacles as opportunities and truly challenge ourselves to think out of the box. This is the spirit of everyone involved in this story. The ESI live event is a novel concept- where instead of being a resume in a recruiter’s mailbox, you get a chance to tell your story, talk about your passion and paint a unique picture. It’s a win-win situation for everyone- candidates, companies, communities, families and businesses. What’s not to love. 🙂