#11 My skills are my future

10 questions to a cosmopolitan in Amsterdam

Camellia Xueyi YANG is 29 years old. She grew up in China and studied in Nice. In France, she worked as an analyst with Accenture, in Germany she worked for a company specializing in travel technology called Amadeus. Today she is a UX Developer at Booking.com in Amsterdam. We asked this globetrotting professional 10 questions about the topic of work.

We meet Camillia in a fashion bar in Amsterdam – a place where she meets her friends often.

1. What does work mean to you?

In a best case scenario, it is something that I enjoy doing. It is something that challenges me and in which I can try new things. That is the reason I have already tried challenging myself with several different types of tasks. But the most important thing of all for me is good collaboration within the team. I want to work with exciting people with whom I also share private interests and with who I enjoy exchanging ideas.

2. How important is security for you?

In my industry, I don´t think the employer will be the one to ensure my job security in the future. Rather, it will be my skills and education. If these are good, I will have the security of getting a job anytime and anywhere.

3. How important is your wage?

What is most important to me is that it is a fair wage. I don´t need a stellar career and I don´t desire an expensive car. I do, however, expect that my wage represents an appropriate acknowledgement of my education and the services I provide.

4. How flexibly do you want to be able to work?

I like it when I can choose to sometimes work from my home office. In the end, the important thing is completing the tasks at hand. The place and time in which the work gets done should not matter.

Camillia can work from everywhere. Most important: the tasks have to get done.

5. What type of leadership do you expect?

It is too rare an occasion in which clear goals are formulated by leadership. But that is something I need, in order to measure my own progress. How to get there is something I´d like to be able to determine myself, or with my team. But a good supervisor will tell me where we are heading.

6. With which country´s citizens do you like working the most?

That is difficult to say, as I believe the origin of the company (Booking.com is American today) probably has more of an impact on the company´s culture than does its location. And we work with people from all over the world here in Amsterdam – so I´m actually not able to say what a typically Dutch co-worker is like. Maybe the Germans are closest to me in some way. Similar to Asians, they are very hardworking, structured and goal-oriented. These are the classical stereotypes, but I have often experienced them to be true.

7. What effect does working with all these different cultures have on your day-to-day work life?

It is easy to have misunderstandings – which can have an effect on work results as well. It is important to know who to greet by a shake of the hand, who not to and who expects three kisses on the cheek.

8. How can these misunderstandings be avoided?

I would encourage everyone to have an open mind and be aware of the differences between people. In the end, we are all different individuals. It is difficult to really see through somebody else´s eyes, and so it is important to keep in mind that you might not always truly understand someone. Trying to leave others space is better than holding tight to your own beliefs or opinions.

To be open minded and respect people – these are Camillias intercultural tipps.

9. We would guess that is only possible if you talk a lot with each other. What percentage of your daily work is comprised of meetings?

In my opinion, the percentage is slightly too high. My dream ratio is 70:30 – that is, 70% of the time spent working on actual tasks, 30% on meetings and social aspects.

10. What is your professional dream?

I want to stay curious. I always enjoy getting to know new countries and areas of focus. For example, I could see myself as a game-developer in Canada one day.

Camellia´s answer to Michiel´s question: How can we still be really creative in this new agile way of working?

I would say: Keep learning, keep trying and always be curious. The world is big, there is always something you can learn from others or the rest of the world.

Camellia´s question for our next interview:

What keeps people motivated?

Read the answer in the interview with Edmonia #13