It’s been a year (and a week) since I moved from the small Israel to the huge Canada. I knew it wouldn’t be easy both personally and professionally, but until you actually do this you don’t know how strange it is.
I’d like to share with you some of the professional difficulties I’ve experienced in the last year. These difficulties are related to many areas, founding DBAces Canada, being an Oracle ACE and more.
In general, the problem is that you don’t know anybody and nobody knows you. This is the main issue that leads to everything else.
In Israel I was a board member of ilOUG, the Israeli Oracle User Group, for about 5 years. One of the first things I did when we decided to move is to look for the local OUG in Vancouver. There is one, but it was quite difficult to make the connections and get to know the people and become involved. Eventually I managed to talk to the right people and become an executive member of what is now called BCOUG (previously VanOUG). The people are very nice and I hope they think the same about me.
Being an ACE
Being an ACE means that you do stuff. One of the things is speaking at conferences, which I like a lot. ilOUG was part of the EOUC (EMEA Oracle User Community) and I know quite a lot of people there, but I didn’t only move to a different country, I move to an entire different continent, and I don’t know anyone here. I needed to do some work just to know which user groups exist in this part of the world and might be interested in hearing me talk. Now, a year later, I know some and have sent some papers to conferences (I hope they will be accepted), but it took time.
Being a Consultant
Here the problem is even bigger. I started a branch of DBAces here in Canada, and as a consulting company, I need customers. As I said above, nobody knows me, but the even greater problem is that I don’t know anybody. This means that I need to get to know the companies in the area before I try to get to know people there. I don’t know even the big corporation names since some are USA and Canada only and don’t have branches in Israel or even Europe.
Besides that, Israel is a tiny country, if you need to go to a customer, you just get into your car and drive. Canada, on the other hand is a huge global country, IT departments of companies might be located in the Toronto area (5 hours flight away) or even in the USA.
So the first step is to find names of companies in the area (those whose IT is here, not only an office), and only then try to get to relevant people in those companies.
One last thing is working with Oracle. As I said, Israel is a tiny country and everybody knows everybody (because it’s small and because this is our nature). But Canada is huge and global.
For me, one goal was to get to know people in Oracle Vancouver, and this got me to understand what a global country is. Some Oracle people responsible for various things in Vancouver (or Western Canada in general) are not located in Vancouver at all. Some are in Calgary (about 1.5 hours flight from here), some in Toronto (5 hours flight from here) and some are all over the USA. So it’s not only that I don’t know them, they don’t even know each other. If I meet an Oracle employee responsible for something and ask him to connect me to someone responsible for a different thing, they usually doesn’t know this person. This was very strange for me, but I managed to find the right people anyway.
It was very strange to move from a small country where people know you and you know many people to a large country where nobody knows you and you don’t even know which companies exist.
But that was an exciting challenge (and still is). It’s an interesting process and it was very satisfying to get my first Canadian customer, speak at my first North America OUG meeting, get to know people and much more. I hope it continues the same way.