When Chetan moved to Copenhagen
Our life is basically a series of choices we make when faced with opportunities. A few months back, the opportunity arose for Chetan to leave Delhi and move to Denmark and work with Relink. Here's the story of his journey (and newfound love for hygge) in his words.
In August last year, I left my job in Delhi hoping to join a university for a post graduate program. Today, I’m in Copenhagen working for Relink, and this is the story of how my life took a turn that I never saw coming.
July 2016: I was 21 years old, and I had lived almost my entire life in the same city. This is when an early life crisis hit me and I realised that my comfy job and cosy home weren't giving me the happiness I needed. To top it all off, my job had taken me down the rabbit hole of the warm and fuzzy world of academia, which is where I wanted to return. This is when I started applying for grad schools.
The thing about universities and colleges though is that you can almost never afford them at the age when you need them. So I decided to do something that I could have afforded at 21 years of age — I started looking for a new job. By this time I had already notified my ex-employer about leaving, so I had one month’s time to ensure that the month after doesn’t end up giving me having-nothing-to-do syndrome.
"I was 21 years old, and I had lived almost my entire life in the same city"
After a thoughtless spree of job applications, I got a call from Ståle from Relink, and when he asked me how I felt about moving to Copenhagen at the end of it all, I was more or less clueless. The truth is that I had completely forgotten that Relink operated out of Denmark and taken the idea of a new job a bit more lightly than most people would expect.
5th September 2016: Few emails and calls back-and-forth, and I had an offer from Relink. I signed the contract, applied for a Danish residence permit and relaxed in my bed while nobody from my friends or family knew about my decision. This is where an excruciating (and rather exciting) journey of catching having-nothing-to-do syndrome began.
The thing that you need to know about applying for a Danish work permit is that if you don’t do it right the first time, you’ll end up trying to do it right too many times. It turned out that some of the data I sent the immigration services was not in the acceptable format, and they began asking me for one document at a time every month for the next five months. While they were taking their own sweet time giving me a bitter time, I was suffering from having-nothing-to-do syndrome.
"The truth is that I had completely forgotten that Relink operated out of Denmark and taken the idea of a new job a bit more lightly than most people would expect"
Most of my friends were either overworked and busy with their job, or had left the city already. This was also the point when I had given up my old apartment in hopes of not needing it any more. I was wrong. I have spent those six months sleeping at my parents’ place, at an airport, on a railway station, on a hilltop, on a stranger’s bed, and in a bus.
The good thing about having to wait is that it gives you a lot of time to think about your life and take the break that you always needed, but never accepted. Having come out of a busy city life, I got a chance to travel around India, explore and fall in love with my own country again. Needless to say, I had mixed feelings, when my permit was approved, about leaving home and going to a new country.
Coming to Relink, however, was an experience that changed those feelings. I had no idea what to do after landing in Copenhagen so I dropped my bags at an Airbnb and came directly to the office where I was welcomed with handshakes, hugs, free sandwiches (thanks Greg) and sodas.
As for my work, I do not regret not going back to academia again. I might do that too — someday — but that’s another story. What I was unsatisfied was the fact that most small companies take the work done by the community, package it, and label it as their own. At Relink, we follow provable design and methodologies that have stood the test of time to reach from nothing to a usable product.
It is, indeed, different from what I am used to in many ways — and that is particularly what makes me happy about being here. It’s only about a month ago that we published a sneak peak into our engineering team’s work style that you can read here.
"I was welcomed with handshakes, hugs, free sandwiches (thanks Greg) and sodas."
I have been in Copenhagen now for over two months, and wow has it been an exciting journey. That’s how I see it — a journey. A lot has changed, but the only thing that remains the same is that I’m still exploring, and still learning, and still very excited about new possibilities. If you’re reading this, maybe come say hi at our office, and have a coffee with Relink’s team. We don’t bite, and we give free hugs. What else do you need in life?