Three Time’s The Charm—A Company So Nice, I Came Back Twice

21 Mar, 2022
Xebia Background Header Wave

When I left Xebia for the first time, it was because I felt like I had failed the company. I was young and inexperienced, and I botched a project that was important to the team. It was a hard lesson learned, but it was also the point where I started to grow up and become a better leader.

A few years later, when I left again, it was because I felt that Xebia had failed me. After being a part of the company for a decade, I realized that my personal growth wasn’t keeping pace with my professional development. I needed a new challenge, and Xebia couldn’t give me that.
But now, after taking some time away to figure out what I really want, I’ve come back to Xebia for the third time. And this time, it feels right.

There are five main reasons why I decided to come back to Xebia.

The Work

The first reason is the work. At Xebia, I’m able to work on a wide variety of projects with clients from all over the world. I’m constantly challenged and learning new things, which keeps me engaged and excited about my work. Also, it is a better mix of work. As a consultant, I found it hard to do enough training on the side to keep me happy without it becoming a problem for my clients and unit. Similarly, as a trainer, I found it hard to do enough consulting on the side. Working as a trainer and consultant at Xebia Academy, I can combine both in close collaboration with other units. To make it so, I don’t have to beg permission. I just do it. That is awesome!

This brings me to the next reason to come back.

The People

The second reason is the people. Over the years, I’ve kept in touch with many of my former colleagues at Xebia. They’re some of the smartest, most talented people I know, and it’s always a pleasure to work with them again. Working with Evelien Roos, Robbin Schuurman, Jesse Houwing, Marianne Pot, Iryna Kotyk, Rachèl van der Wal, Maira Camu, and of course Serge Beaumont, is a reward in itself. And those are just the people who came to mind without thinking. I could easily create a longer list of over 20 people I love to work with. And they all work at Xebia.

This brings me to the third reason to come back.

The Collaboration

The third reason is the way we collaborate at Xebia. We often work solo, yet we are never alone. When you ask for help, it is given freely and immediately. Even when we are busy, we make time to help each other succeed. We are a team, and we act like it. It can take months to get someone to collaborate with you at other companies. At Xebia, it takes minutes. Collaborating at the speed of trust is one thing. The general intensity of that collaboration is another.

This brings me to the fourth reason to come back.

Geeking Out

The fourth reason is that at Xebia, being a geek is good. We all love to geek out on anything and everything we find interesting. Of course, that can be the work, but most Xebians I know, geek out over absolutely everything. From drawing to sailing to photography to audio engineering to videography to writing to board gaming to whatever you can think of, we have people who love to get after it and who don’t mind taking it to “are you kidding me” levels. Case in point, the month I rejoined, a large group of Xebians sat outside in ice-baths, Wim Hoff style, just because they like to try cold therapy. Compared to that, taking cold showers every morning because I think it makes me more energetic and effective is a perfectly normal thing to do for a Xebian. I can assure you it’s not in other companies.

This brings me to the fifth and final reason to come back.


Being Unapologetically Me

The fifth reason is that it is OK to be me here. I don’t have to waste even a single second of energy being anyone other than myself. I can be silly, I can be serious, I can be emotional, I can be rational. I can ask for help, and I can give help. I am accepted for who I am. I’ve been told often that I’m not forceful or assertive enough and that perhaps because I’m sensitive, it means I’m weak. That absolutely infuriates me. I refuse to accept the notion that you can’t be both kind and powerful. At Xebia, it is perfectly OK for me to say that out loud, even to people who completely disagree with it, without it turning into a shouting match or it hurting my career.

And that’s why Xebia is the best place to work for me!

Laurens Bonnema
Agile Trainer, Management Consultant, and Graphic Facilitator. Mentor to leaders creating resilient organizations at any scale. I make boring business notes fun!

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