Back to Bulgaria: The Story of Alexander Spasov

Alexander Spasov: Going to London to find your company

 

 

Alexander fell in love with computers and made his first steps towards and IT career shortly after making his first actual steps, with his father as the man behind them. The year was 1995 with Alexander barely at the age of 3, sitting in his father’s lap and playing “Prince of Persia” on his home computer. He would often accompany his father to work at “Borika”, where his father worked as an IT specialist, and would get to spend hours upon hours with access to all sorts of floppy discs, circuit boards and power supplies, stating that he felt like part of the team and ultimately getting the opportunity to work for the company for a month, while he was still just in 8th grade, as a sort of internship.

 

 

During his second year of study, enrolled in a “Tourism economics” degree at the UNWE in Sofia, Bulgaria, he started work as a junior system administrator, with the fact that his studies are in a completely different field not acting as a deterrent from him pursuing a career in the IT sector. The following 3 years for Alexander revolved around his next job at “Borika”, where he got the opportunity to hone and develop his skillset, meet a lot of new people and despite being the youngest company employee, to successfully fulfil his vocational duties, giving him a sense of confidence.

 

 

 

A hard but glamorous start in London

After finishing his university degree, Alexander and his girlfriend moved to London, where he would both get the chance to sharpen his IT skillset and polish up on his English.

What drove him and his girlfriend to London was the social diversity – a city brimming with different peoples and cultures, albeit landing that first IT job proved to be an issue, due to most company hosting their IT administration and support outside of London, making it difficult hence neither him or his girlfriend wanted to switch cities. Finding himself dealing with a lot of hardships at the start of his stay in London, and after a lot of effort and dedication, he managed to get a job at the Lidl head office.

 

After obtaining the aforementioned position, by his own words - his experience grew by multitudes in just a year’s time. One of the biggest challenges he faced there was based in the fact that the work revolved around people of different nationalities and cultures – Somalia, Iran, India, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Brazil and The Czech Republic amongst others, each having a different way of thinking and worldview as to the point where it took conscious active effort build a team and maintain the team solidarity.

A valuable lesson he learned during his time spent in London is that nothing is impossible if you have the will and willingness to achieve. Alexander says, he’ll never forget his last day at the Lidl head office in London. Smiling, he shares – “My colleagues sent me away with standing honors. They awaited my return from lunch break, and once I entered the office they applauded. They held a speech and gifted me a giant card, filled with wishes from all of the colleagues. This is how it feels to be part of the huge Schwarz IT family – the people make you feel as part of one whole, that you can’t go on without them and that they couldn’t go on without you”.

 

A happy continuation in Sofia

The decision to return back to Bulgaria didn’t come easy to Alexander, bearing in mind he would have to quit Lidl, where he managed to be part of the amazing team the office hosted, albeit with his need to be close to his family and friends winning out in the long run. Another driving factor behind the motivation for his decision was the foresight that there would be a new company opening doors in Bulgaria – namely Kaufland IT Hub. This to him was the perfect opportunity to continue his work for the company he found his place in, but this time on his home turf. “In thanks to my stubbornness and dedication, the CEO of Lidl in England offered me to move to the newly founded Kaufland IT Hub in Bulgaria, sadly there were no open positions at the time. I worked in a few different companies over the course of a year, but when they finally called – I gladly accepted, without giving it a second thought” – Alexander reminisces.

Something which pleasantly surprised him at first was that he could hardly note any differences between the vocational processes between the Lidl head office in London and Kaufland IT Hub in Sofia, Bulgaria. He shares – “At one point I was unsure whether I was in England or Bulgaria. The same policies are in place, the whole setting is genuinely pleasant, and my days tend to go by like a breeze”. He remarks that in his mind the Bulgarian office actually wins out due the having a separate workout zone and a large dining area.

Alexander started as an application support specialist in the IT Hub, a position virtually the same as the one he had back at Lidl, where within his first year in the company he attained a promotion in regard to his performance. As of now, his role is that of a consultant, which broadens his specter of responsibilities, opening up new fronts for career development.

 

Challenges and gratification

Alexander loves being faced with new issues to resolve alongside his colleagues from Germany and Bulgaria. He loves getting to interact with them and admits that the meetings of the two teams every Thursday are his favorite. He shares - “The larger team is divided in to two separate ones – a German and Bulgarian side, with the need mainly due to the large workload, after all we support the cashiers of Kaufland through the entirety of Europe”.

His main vocational challenges stem from the fact that in case of system failure, a whole Kaufland store unit would be forced to cease working operations, being up to him and his colleagues to determine how long the return to the system’s expected functionality would take. What helps him in such circumstances is, by his words – “The focus on work, peace and the inner confidence that sooner or later everything will find it’s solution”.

Alexander reminisces to the project, where they had to migrate the Bulgarian Kaufland stores’ software to the custom-made created for the task K-POS ( Kaufland point of sale). He was the one to bear the responsibility for the task and now shares – “This project really did make me grow as a person and despite the sleepless nights, we manage to complete the task perfectly. This again served to boost my confidence and as a reminder that work with people from different countries is completely feasible, even amidst the harshest Covid-19 reality”.

 

A look to the future

In regards to his future as a professional, to Alexander one thing is clear – even in 10 years’ time he will still remain a part of the Schwarz IT family.