Blog It Forward – Rick Bakker
This is my first-ever blog on SCN (or anywhere) so don’t be harsh! I was first BIFed about a year ago (by Susan Keohan ) but I’ve finally worked up the gumption to Blog It Forward myself after further encouragement and threats from others.
I was born in Australia, in the state of Queensland, which you may not have heard much about but it’s still bigger than Alaska (and 5x bigger than Germany).
Somehow I ended up attending high school in Amsterdam which suited me just fine as there were no school uniforms and not that many rules but a great education. After that came the University of Queensland where, unusually for someone who now works in IT, I did a Computer Science degree. For free – thanks, Australian Government!
All illustrations (except one) courtesy of Wikipedia. Sorry, I abhor a camera and I’ve only got a dumbphone.
Working for the Man
After various jobs in Europe (including Oracle Corp) I packed my bag and moved to Central Africa to work at an oil company for a few years. It was quite an experience – I had close encounters with elephants, hippos, a gorilla and my Significant Other. I became possibly the first and only contractor sent on a course on Shell’s dime, which was at SAP UK when it was still next to the runway at Heathrow. At 11am each morning the lessons would halt so we could watch the Concorde taking off. Back in Gabon I was fortunate enough to participate in one of the first SAP installations at a Shell company. Hello (SAP) World!
A varied work environment
(Fun fact: The gorillas in East Africa get all the press but West-Central Africa have plenty too. Spend some time in Gabon and you may well bump into one, even while playing golf or cycling to work.)
Following a year in Rio in a stupendously luxurious apartment (thanks S.!) we ended up in London where, for a while, I was working 12 hours a day including one 28-hour stint. No complaints from this hourly-rate contractor. Despite the long hours I got into pub quizzing, sometimes attending 3 a week. Eventually I drifted back to Australia where prolific SCN blogger Paul Bakker told me about this incredibly useful outer galaxy of the SAP Universe called Workflow. I have been working with it ever since and I’m currently gainfully employed in stunning Sydney.
(Note: Not the actual view from my office)
– What have been your best travel experiences?
As a member of the Australian SAP Workflow community I have of course been to Antarctica, where I experienced the memorable smell of 250,000 penguins packed together in one place. I can also highly recommend North Korea, it’s like stepping into an old war movie. I’ve also been in the same room as Lenin, Mao and Ho Chi Minh, though not all at the same time.
Beware the Leopard Seal / Hey, Taxi
– If you could be reincarnated as an ABAP keyword, which one would it be?
That’s a silly question so I’ll just say that I always snigger when I see the SAP transaction codes SCUM and SPAM, and that one of my hobbies is researching the – for SAP especially – dreaded
– Hey, haven’t I seen you on TV?
Unlikely, but I have appeared on several quiz shows in Australia, Holland and the UK. I managed to do equally badly on all of them, even dragging poor Paul all the way to London so we could both trip at the 8K hurdle on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in front of an audience of millions. That particular episode is still on heavy rotation on Challenge TV, I’m told. Also, a few strangers have told me I look like Matt Damon or Mark Wahlberg (until I take my shirt off).
– What would you be doing now if you weren’t in IT?
I’ll find out in 2014 when I take a year off! We hope to attend the NFL Super Bowl, the Eurovision Song Festival and the FIFA World Cup, amongst many other hopelessly over-optimistic plans. I’ll try to stay active on SCN, free WiFi in Third World hotels permitting.
I read their posts almost every day but I’ve never met either of them – so I’d like to “pop the bonnet”, as we say in Queensland. I’ll add some extra questions for them (feel free to ignore or pick your own):
– Where did you first encounter SAP? What did you think of it?
– If Bill Gates gave you $1M to start a website, what would you do with it?
For instructions: Blog It Forward Community Challenge
One Last Thing
I’ve been an SCN member for nearly 5 years now and somehow I’ve collected a number of badges and points along the way. That’s all very nice but the best thing about SCN – apart from all the remarkable and helpful people here, of course – is when you encounter a wholly unexpected problem at work, plug it into your favourite search engine with palms sweating and up pops the solution, courtesy of this very website. Keep making me look good, SCN!
But which is which?