Two years as part of #oSoc’s wolfpack

Hi, my name is Christophe, but people tend to call me Batteman (not to my dislike), and I’m working with team CultuurConnect along with Sander and Hanna (which you’ve already read about), and a whole bunch of people you’ll get to meet in the coming weeks.
You might remember me from last year posts (1 & 2).

This time, I’m actually gonna talk to you about the soft skills I learned here, and how I compare them to life in a wolfpack. In this (massive, sorry about that) monologue, you’ll learn how I went from being kind of a lone wolf to the occasional Alpha.

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Picture : Sonja Pauen

Last year, when I first arrived at oSoc, and despite what people might have thought, I was kind of a lone wolf. I hated group assignments at school because they tend to be counterproductive as you either wait on others to get their parts done or spend your time re-doing their work instead of helping them get better.

That was before knowing what a harmonious group oSoc was, though.

In just a few days, I was enjoying working as a group, and relying on others. I learned to admit what I was lacking and to rely on others when necessary to benefit everyone. But I also discovered what working with a cohesive group was like: no more splitting the work in equal parts and working alone on it, it was time to get everyone on the same page and to march together, with each of us using his strength to help others so that no one felt left out.

And here‘s where the parallel with wolves kicks in.

See, if you happen to browse certain websites on the interwebs, you might have seen the picture of a wolf pack with an “explanation” of how they travel. But contrary to now popular beliefs (at least mine before I read more about it to be sure it wasn’t bullcrap), the pack is not lead by the “old and sick”, but by one of the “alphas” (researchers prefer “parents” or “breeders“), male or female. The reason behind it is that going through thick snow is not an easy task, and you need the strong members of the pack to break off a trail so that the rest of the pack doesn’t have it too hard and are able to follow them.

Picture : Josh Felise

I wasn’t really one of the leading ones, but I was fine with it. Like I said, I used to hate relying on others and so always tried to get by on my own, but not anymore. oSoc had taught me my first important lesson: you’re only as good as you let others be, so trust them to be as great as you want to be (how flippin’ poetic!). You don’t have to carry everyone at all times, and you certainly don’t need to work on your own if you want to succeed. Communication is key, and even in a selfish way, you’ll need to tell people as soon as you hit a wall if you want them to help you get over it and to better yourself in the process.

Last week had some interesting moments though. There was one point when the whole team was having kind of a big meeting together, and as it often happens when there’s a lot of people working together on the same level, there wasn’t really any volunteer to get the discussion going and to keep things flowing. Now, I’m not usually the type of guy who’ll lead, and if I’m in a group, I’m quite happy to follow others rather than to be the one taking decisions. It had happened to me a few times this year, but not really because I had decided it (see the paradox there?). And though it’s not really my type of behavior, I tried to take it upon myself to organize the discussion, and I think I did a fairly good job (but that’s not for me to decide). And so, without realizing it, I had learned a new thing : even if it might be out of your comfort zone, you’ll sometimes need to assume “leadership” if it can benefit everyone. You don’t work for yourself, nor by yourself, and even if you may need others to stride forward, there will be times when others might need you to be the one helping them along the way.

Picture : Levi Saunders

To conclude this massive article (if you’re still with me, thank you <3), I’ll just put it like this:

oSoc is not just about code, IT or getting mad cash, it’s also one of the best opportunity to learn really important soft skills while you’re still studying, and those will help you during your professional life more than you may think.

+ there’s coffeecouques.

Featured image from pexels.com

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