Technical support engineer from Slovakia, whose luck changed nine years ago
Trading Places: Kemp's Slovak engineer whose luck changed nine years ago

Technical support engineer from Slovakia, whose luck changed nine years ago

14 Apr 2015

Stanislav Vasil, technical support engineer at Kemp, tells us why he chose Ireland as a place to live and work, and how the Cliffs of Moher make all the difference.

Where are you from?

I was born and lived in a small town called Michalovce. The population is about 40,000. It is a small and quiet town in the east of Slovakia, which is surrounded by beautiful nature, woods and hills.

Since it’s in the opposite side of the country to Bratislava (the capital and centre of all business), there are not too many opportunities for a good career where I’m from. That’s why you would find many people from east Slovakia traveling for work to Bratislava, or even abroad, like me.

How long have you been in Ireland?

I’ve been in Ireland for nine years now.

Why did you move here?

First when I came here, I actually came just for a couple of months – I was meant to head back to Israel, where I lived previously for four years. But then I didn’t have any luck getting a work permit in Israel, so had to stay in Ireland. Now I’m looking at it as a lucky moment in my life, that my destiny pulled me to Ireland, since I really love it here now.

And why Ireland, from all the countries in EU? Most of my friends, whom I knew from Slovakia or other Slovaks whom I knew from Israel, also moved to Ireland and were telling me what an amazing country Ireland is and how people are nice, and of course that there are many job opportunities here, so I came here. I had a room in an apartment waiting for me and found a job in about two weeks. All went pretty smoothly.

What work do you do?

I am a customer support engineer (for the US market) at KEMP Technologies, which means I’m working late shifts. Not too late though, which is fine. Since the company’s business is load balancing, I’m dealing with customers who have set-up or are troubleshooting our product issues. It’s mostly emails and phone calls.

If customers have an issue and can’t sort it out following instructions, we do a remote session and I fix the issue for them. It’s pretty amazing, since you have to have an engineering mind for fixing things and troubleshooting issues.

How would you describe your working environment?

I’m in the company just two months, but for now I’m very surprised and impressed with how everyone is friendly and helpful. Other guys are busy with their own customers, but they always find time to help me out and give me some hints. Even management, which let’s face it, isn’t friendly in every place. I’ve actually got two managers, one in Ireland and one in the US, and both of them are very approachable.

What do you like most about your job?

Since the company is dealing with load balancing, which means our devices sit between the clients and data centres, I have many opportunities to see issues from both sides. That means I can learn a lot in this job and every day is very different from the other. which is great because the job won’t get too stereotypical, which others could get after a while if a person does the same thing hour after hour, every day.

And since I’ve previously worked mostly in catering (hotels and restaurants), even weekends through my college years, I can really appreciate the clean and quiet office environment.

Was it difficult to adjust to living and working in Ireland?

It was difficult for the first year. As I’ve mentioned I’d lived in Israel for four years and the city I’d lived in (Eilat) was a tourist town beside the Red Sea. Beaches, palm trees, sunshine, about 40 to 45 degrees Celsius in summer time, and almost no rain. So the change of climate was very difficult, from sunglasses and flip-flops, to an umbrella. But this issue was sorted when I bought my first car.

What surprised you about moving to Ireland?

What really surprised me was the Irish people. I got used to them very fast. It has never happened to me before, walking to work in the morning and a random person saying “Good morning” or “How are you doing?”. I had to look back to see if someone was walking behind me. It was a very warm feeling, that a stranger would greet you in the street. And my opinion on the politeness of Irish people hasn’t changed since.

How does your working life help to make you feel at home here?

Well, our jobs play a big part of our lives, since we spend so much time there. That’s why it is crucial that a person does what he likes. And I love what I do – I love technology, troubleshooting and helping people, and if you are getting paid for it, that’s just brilliant.

I haven’t had any bad experiences with customers, either in my previous jobs or recently in Kemp.

People around me are very outgoing, which is important for now, since I’ve got many questions in my new job. But also customers, when you show them that you are doing the best to deal with their problems, they are polite too.

What do you like most about your adopted home?

The lovely Irish people, the green beautiful country, the opportunities. Ireland gave me a lot and I’m thankful for it. If you need an example, Cliffs of Moher always take my breath away – and I’ve seen them about six times now. I’m planning to visit them this summer again and walk them, completely. And not to forget, the mix of cultures here – I met my beautiful Brazilian girlfriend at the university I studied at.

The plan for this summer is to take my car and travel around Ireland for a couple of days – I’ve heard that the north of Ireland is amazing as well.

Gordon Hunt
By Gordon Hunt

Gordon Hunt joined Silicon Republic in October 2014 as a journalist. He spends most of his time avoiding conversations about music, appreciating even the least creative pun and rueing the day he panicked when meeting Paul McGrath. His favourite thing on the internet is the ‘Random Article’ link on Wikipedia.

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