My background is not similar as most people I work with. My mother only finished primary school and my father was the eldest of seven and did not finish O-levels at secondary school. My mother worked in the factory of Gist-Brocades in Delft (now DSM), where she sterilised penicillin bottles in a machine. My father tested tyres at Shell in Delft and his next job was to replace coils with internationals information about oil exploration gathered in Rijswijk.
My family consist of many intelligent people, whose cleverness shows in witty humour, what I loved about my father as well. They often did not get or take the opportunity to maximise their potential at school. The quest for the quick buck was more important than a long education without pocket money. That my mother was smart showed at the age of 50 when she finished a short professional lab education to get used to a new machine. She was taught Chemistry and Mathematics at GCSE/AS level. She loved her job and wanted to keep it. So with her primary school education she studied hard and was rewarded: she passed with straight A’s!
As first of 70 cousins I started at the Gymnasium (A-levels / IB with Latin and Ancient Greek) and went on to study at University. I am happy I was given and took the opportunity to develop. That’s what I stimulate in people I coach: discover your talent and develop it! In the Netherlands people get an equal opportunity regardless their background. Of course it is nowhere ideal, there is bias everywhere. But there is more equal opportunity than in other countries. In the United Kingdom we had a different experience. If children did not live in the right area with quality schools and the parents did not have the funds for private education, it was very hard to end up at university as there was such a big gap in quality of education.
In my career I was not limited to one sector or one type of job. I worked in the private as well as in the public sector as in politics. The jobs I had (in random order) are as supervisory board member, regulator, MP, Treasurer, manager, political adviser, consultant and chair. I have traded online in e-commerce as well.
Now I still like to break away from broadly accepted standard. A few hours a week I work as a bike courier, in the outskirts of Amsterdam and in the Red Light district!
I love biking and meeting people I would never meet elsewhere. People approach me differently and I like it, it inspires me in my other work!