Back Home Again
timhahn 100000F0AC Visits (3345)
Today was my first day back at the IBM office in RTP, NC, USA after being on the Executive Service Corps assignment in Da Nang, Vietnam for almost four weeks. I have to say that it was nice to be back, getting into the rhythm of my “day job” - conference calls, e-mail, meetings, sametime chats. Still, I already miss the ESC team, the IBM Vietnam team, and working with the city departments of Da Nang. And I know that I'm going to get a craving for My Quang in the next couple of days!
Dave, Eileen, and I were the last to leave Da Nang. Our flight left Da Nang at 2200 on 26 May (Saturday). This gave us most of the day to enjoy the city one more time. We spent some time at the beach in the morning where a paragliding competition was underway.
Since our flight left late, Dave and I visited one of the local restaurants to have one last taste of local fare. We didn't quite know what we ordered, but somehow, we wound up with more food than we could eat, good company, and a great last meal to remember from Da Nang.
Getting home from Da Nang was a long journey – but all in all, uneventful. My flights took me through Incheon, South Korea, then to New York City, and on to Raleigh, NC. To get home, my first flight was a red-eye to Incheon, followed by a 13.5 hour flight back to the US. Even with that, I am convinced that getting over a 11 hour time difference (southeast Asia) is easier than getting over a 6 hour time difference (Europe). That said, I was happy to have Monday off for the US Memorial Day holiday. Others in the group had a bit of excitement – Eileen wound up spending most of her layover in Incheon re-booking on a different set of United Airlines flights back to Chicago. After all was done, her scheduled arrival time in Chicago was going to be about five hours sooner than her original schedule.
Peter and Dave made it back to San Francisco and Connecticut, respectively with no drama for them either. Though Dave was still battling a bit of a stomach bug even after he returned home. He's feeling better now. Bounty, Nancy, and Lex had relatively quick flights back to their families and all made it home safely.
Looking back on the ESC experience, I am very happy I was able to participate in the work. I learned so much about the culture, people, country, and the unique challenges IBM faces as it expands quickly into growth market areas. I found a new vacation destination – Da Nang in particular and southeast Asia in general. And I made a new set of friends both within IBM and outside of IBM. I learned about the challenges which the city of Da Nang faces – and these aren't so different from what many other cities around the world also face. I learned more about food safety than I ever thought I would – some of it good, some of it not so good – and I realized that just because we're used to food delivery in one form does not mean it's the best way to do things or the only way to do things.
I've already noticed a couple of possible connections between my regular job and potential follow-on projects to implement items in the roadmap we laid out for the City of Da Nang. I suspect that more of these connections will appear in coming months. And I do expect to continue interacting with the local IBM team in Da Nang, answering questions, clarifying what we intended, and finding other subject matter experts (SMEs) for the IBM Da Nang team to call upon.
I am grateful that IBM offers employees the chance to take part in these service corps assignments. I believe that they help the recipients, IBM, and the IBMers who take part. Everyone benefits in some way from the experience.
And now it's back to the task at hand – Enterprise Modernization!