The stories we tell to one another serve as explorations: an exploration of connections, of being brought together and closer; an exploration of ourselves and others, as well as the places we have lived in; an exploration of friendships, of people we stumble upon or keep; or an exploration of old and new—what we have learned from the past, what makes us grounded in the present, and what lies for us in the future.
Teleperformance is powered by thousands of stories—stories that are built on a framework of diversity and countless cultures, our people all coming together despite many differences and challenges. For Robin and Ahmed, whose lives and priorities were extremely different from each other before they met, Teleperformance in Greece became the setting of a new beginning.
Robin was born in Norway, and was ready to break away from it all and see the world. “Our daily lives are so strictly organized that rarely something happens out of the blue. There are no surprises. Everything seems like a predetermined routine,” shares Robin. Choosing to end the Norwegian monotony, Robin finished his studies and got a job right away. This led to traveling, and Robin found himself in many places as he broke free from predictability. “I wanted to break free from this predictable way of life, and honestly, I am glad I did,” Robin says. “I lived in the UK and in France, then I was in Mexico and Thailand for a certain time before ending up in South Africa, where I decided to stay.” Robin was able to live in South Africa for three years, until life and reality intervened: his visa was about to expire, and he had to go back to Norway for three months to renew the visa again. “As I was considering my options, I came across a job posting regarding an available position for people who speak Norwegian at Teleperformance in Greece, so I applied, and fortunately, I got hired,” he explains. “To be honest, I’ve always wanted to live in Greece, but I didn’t have the chance, and that was an ideal opportunity. When I started living in Athens, I adored the culture and lifestyle; therefore, I forgot all about South Africa, and I decided to stay permanently here. It goes without saying that the fact that I got promoted fast from agent to supervisor, and most importantly, that I met the woman I live now with played a catalytic role in my final decision.”
Ahmed’s story, on the other hand, started on a much darker path. Ahmed spent most of his life in Syria, a country that has long been battling the effects of war and strife. He was in college and was also working as a journalist for major global news networks. “I thought that everything was going fine, my life was an upward journey, and nothing could change. And then the war broke out, and the ISIS appeared. One of their first violent acts was to kidnap seven journalists; I was taken as a hostage as well. In fact, five people were executed next to me, and I haven’t understood yet how I managed to survive,” Ahmed gravely recalls. And then came the will to survive and adapt, and in Ahmed’s case—the will to do whatever it takes to live. “When they freed me, I tried to flee the country, but this was extremely difficult. I wore the burqa and dressed up as a woman because women are not allowed to show their faces in public, so I contrived to reach the borders and escape,” remembers Ahmed. “Just imagine that—I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my family, and I haven’t seen them ever since.”
Managing to get himself to the border between Syria and Turkey, Ahmed faced one major hurdle: his passport was not with him, making it impossible to flee Syria. “To my good luck, a cousin of mine that was living in Damascus applied to get me a new one, and after waiting there for two weeks, I was eligible to enter Turkey,” Ahmed says. But there is no escape in the time of war. Ahmed continues: “After a while, they started chasing those who left Syria. As journalists, we were seen as easy targets. When I returned home one day, I saw that all my friends had been killed and I immediately packed up my things and left. I had managed to escape death for the second time. After that, I reached a guy that transports refugees, I paid him and hopped on a boat, crossed the Aegean to get to Greece.”
Robin and Ahmed had lived two very different lives before coming to Greece, fueled by different desires, passions, and choices. Yet they are brought together by an opportunity to start anew, to be on their way on a new journey that is filled with hope, and for Ahmed—happiness, after a long period of pain and sorrow brought to him by the war in Syria.
“It’s tough to go on, but when life gives you second and third chances, you have to take them. In Greece, at first, I worked at the refugee hotspots, as I quickly managed to obtain a residence permit. I met my wife there, with whom we have been married for a year now, and we are expecting our first child. I found myself at Teleperformance in Greece through a friend who was working here, and luckily they hired me, and now I am happy,” Ahmed says. He yearns to see his family once more after all this time. “Someday, I’ll meet them again. I wish and believe that this will eventually happen. Someday, I’ll be ready to bring them here. In my new country. This is my dream. Greece is my homeland now,” concludes Ahmed.
For Robin, he sees Teleperformance in Greece as a company that can lead him to professional success in the future. “I am considering Greece my home and Teleperformance in Greece my company, and, given that my job title is ACM (Assistant Contact Center Manager), my future is here, too. The land in which I felt like home from the very first moment,” Robin notes. “I love Greece and the people here, and I think that Teleperformance in Greece is the company that will ensure my future professional success. You are always dreaming of your homeland, but now Greece is my country, my present and my future.”