Day 179 - Michael

Day 179 - Michael (2nd person I approached)
June 28, 2014 - Michael was sitting outside a coffee shop, sheltered from the rain by a large awning. He was reading. He asked me how long I would need when I asked him to chat. I told him five minutes, or ten if he was really interesting. I got the desired ice-breaking chuckle. He told me he liked the name of my project, and that it was a good concept.

 

Michael was born in the small town of Haderslev, in the Jutland area of southern Denmark.

“I have one baby sister and one baby brother. I felt a certain responsibility towards my brother. He’s ten years younger than I am and I knew he looked up to me. He often copied what I did,” he said.

“My father was a banker and we moved around a fair bit. He liked change. But I think of Haderslev as my home town.” Michael did all of his elementary and high school there.

“The education system is different in Denmark. After high school, I went to what I guess you’d call college, before going to university. I left Haderslev and studied software development for almost four years in university,” he said. Once he had finished university, Michael was finding it difficult to get a job.

“The tech industry was going through a downward trend and jobs weren’t that easy to come by. I decided to take a year long course that dealt specifically with software in an accounting and finance environment. It was a very specialized course. I worked hard and finished at the top of the class,” he said. 

 

The job offers came in and Michael moved to Copenhagen to start work.

“I was working in finance software and had been doing that for about a year. A friend and I decided to put our resumes out around the world and we got some incredible offers. I got one from Vancouver, but I knew practically nothing about the city. In the small bubble that is Denmark, when I thought of Canada, it was as being a land of igloo’s and snow all year round. My friend and I both got offers from a company in Malaysia. We accepted, and then just as I was getting ready to leave, I heard some discouraging information about the position. My friend took the job in Malaysia and I called the company here in Vancouver,” said Michael. When I was on the plane and we flew over Vancouver, I looked out the window and saw the water. I thought, excuse me but “Fuck yes!” I knew then that I would stay here,” said Michael. He worked for that company for two years before setting out on his own.

“I always had the intention of starting my own company, and I did it. I quit the job and started working for myself. I work in lead generation and online marketing. That’s why I know the name of your project is a very good one. That’s what I do for a living,” he said. Michael has been his own boss for eight years now and has six staff working for him.

“It’s going really well.”

 

His family have been to visit many times, Michael tells me.

“As a matter of fact, they’ll be arriving here again in fourteen days. My brother wants to move here. He’s into high level personal training and fitness. Vancouver is the perfect location for him to start his own business,” said Michael. An attractive woman came towards the table and Michael smiled at her.

“This is my wife,” he said. We shook hands and I explained why I was sitting with her husband. I asked how they had met and how long they’ve been married.

“We’ve got married about eight years ago,” his wife said, with Michael smiling in agreement.

“We met the second day after I arrived here in Vancouver,” Michael said.

“It was at a company picnic. We started as friends and then it grew from there,” he said. I asked if they had any children. In unison, once again they both responded.

“No. We have a parrot.” #notastranger