Stories of WYWM - #Freetheknee by Pablo Quintana

Stories of WYWM - WYWM Story by Paul Kot

I don’t think my story is unique, interesting, or captivating. My story is common, in fact, far too common. 

I could talk about my neurodiversity and my experience in the military, but what I want to talk about are entry-level positions and the talent shortage. 

After completing my degree in Physics, I thought getting an entry-level position would be possible. I had eight months of experience doing neuroimaging research, which resulted in a publication. I also had ten months of experience in nuclear and particle physics, where I investigated the reactor antineutrino anomaly. I collaborated with some of the brightest individuals in that field; I even met two Nobel Prize winners.   

I think it is safe to say that the complexity of my experiences towers any “entry-level” position I was applying for. However, since my application did not check all the boxes, I was not considered. This was disheartening because I would keep on hearing about this "talent shortage,” and I was not talented enough for some reason.  

This talent shortage is not due to a talent shortage. As I said, my story is common. This talent shortage is due to companies unwilling to invest in their employees, train them and help them grow.  

WithYouWithMe is solving this talent shortage issue by creating real entry-level positions and hiring individuals based on their potential and not their experience. If more companies had this attitude, my story would not be so common. 

I am proud to say that my story is not finished; it is just getting started. If you’re sceptical of the WithYouWithMe hiring model. I can assure you that WithYouWithMe is filled with some of the brightest individuals I've ever met. The passion and motivation I see at WithYouWithMe is the same passion and motivation I saw with the scientists I interacted with during my research experience. So yes, these people are very bright.   

Stories of WYWM - The Origin Story by Dan Lafleur

We all have an origin story. Where we came from and what we were doing before we were here. It’s the back story to how we became who we are and the path that led us to where we are now. Many came from a military background. 

Each of us has a back story. What was it that attracted our attention or just made us trip over this WYWM company? My tripping point was about a year ago. 

To describe my military experience is to truly go back before the turn of the century. I was born into a military family, first served as reservist at 17 and made it a fulltime commitment at 19. It was like a duck taking to water. My first oath of allegiance was in 1975 and the last day of service was in 1993. It has been nearly three decades of searching civilian life for my tribe since then. 

I found my tribe. What a quirky bunch of individuals that all pull in the same direction for a common cause. This WYWM company has a mission that resonates with me. We have all been in a place where the path forward is confused and not many outside of military life understand our ability to learn difficult skills, perform under stress and adapt to changing situations. WYWM promotes the ability to learn and excel in new skills over hiring based on previous experience and education. 

This new adventure began about a year ago as I was engaging with people on LinkedIn that had something to do with WYWM. I didn’t understand it at first but found the topics and conversation interesting. I liked, commented on, shared posts and invited connections over the first few months. These people were veterans and had things to say. Sometimes just friendly chatter, thoughtful comments and insight that caught my attention. Thank you for all who accepted my connection requests and engaged in conversation. That helped me a lot at a time when I was seeking a foothold in what to do next. 

I’m here now as a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Instructor with WYWM. 


This isn’t the end of my story-telling. I will explore past and present thoughts with some speculation on the future. The power of social media is one of those thoughts that I’ll touch on. LinkedIn is one of those social media platforms that either pushed or pulled me along this new path. I can talk about how it led to new and renewed friendships, multiple offers for work and… OK, I need to save something for next time. 


Still a Long Way to go for Women in Defence Technology Filling Talent Shortfalls

On Friday 17 February 2022 I donned my WYWM Black T shirt with pride to attend the first annual Women In Defence Technology Conference at the Brisbane Convention Centre in Brisbane, Australia. I’d flown in from the farm the day before for my first business engagement representing the company face to face.  

When I left the Army I turned my back on everything to do with Defence for just on 20 years– people, industry, culture – the whole package. I went completely off the defence grid. I’ve been at WYWM for just on two years now so have put my toe back in the water on the Defence Industry and the people in it but this was the first time I had been direct “customer facing” on behalf of the company. I knew I’d be woefully out of date on a lot of the topics of discussion. I attended with the intention of doing a lot of networking but kind of froze on the day (cut me a break – I’ve barely left the farm during COVID). I shut my mouth, kept my eyes open and listened – took a lot of notes. I really wanted to see how much had changed since I discharged.  

Scarlett, Sophie, Jo, Cia and I found our seats and settled in to listen to the first speech of the day from the Minister for Defence. We all know the kind of topics he spoke directly to and which ones he very carefully did not mention. Question time for the minister was very short and he left the conference immediately saying “I’ve got some issues to deal with”.  
Of course one of the main topics under discussion was the issue of gender diversity in defence and related roles. The minister proudly spouted numbers on percentages of women in Defence and highlighted progress made – especially around the opening up of Combat roles to women. To be fair he did say we still have a fair way to go. 

Frankly - I was disappointed.  

In over twenty years nothing seemed to have measurably changed (at least it looked that way to me). Same old conversations around gender quotas and participation – blah blah blah blah blah. Over coffees and wines a good number of the women I spoke to – some still in defence - indicated to me in one way or another that their professional lives still seem to be largely defined around issues of women having to constantly re-prove their right to wear the uniform. Fighting the same tired worn out credibility battles already fought in the support/logistics roles – but now in the “sharp end of the spear” roles.   

If the definition of failure is to repeat the same actions resulting in the same less than stellar outcomes – well – reach your own conclusions.  

Speaking of repeating actions for uninspiring outcomes – let’s talk about the “Talent Shortage”. We were sitting in a room chock to the rafters full of seriously high powered and talented people – heading up large, profitable, industry leading organizations presumably equally full of talented, high powered employees. The first discussion panel of the day was on the topic of talent. I listened to a couple of recruitment agency CEO’s tell the consulting company CEO’s that we have a nationwide talent shortage (surprise!) All the high powered CEO’s nodded wisely and agreed with each other.  

I held my breath waiting for someone on the panel to say something ground breaking about alternative solutions and accessing previously untapped talent resources. I didn’t quite black out – but I might have. Same discussions around the same problem. Same methods of filling vacancies – and only one company in the room that I knew of actually doing anything differently. They might have been keeping their “talent shortage” IP solutions close to their chests – but I don’t think so.  

Agreed – I am biased - but the way I see it this country is not in a position to hold hard to traditional practices simply because “that is the way things have always been done.” We simply do not have the population numbers that other countries do. Any farm girl knows that if you repair something with haywire and the repair fails you have to come up with a different solution that actually works – especially if you have always fixed the problem with haywire before. Repeating the repair with the same haywire will result in the same failure.  

Listen hard people. We have no shortage of talented women and girls in this country. What we do have is a shortage of women and girls who know and expect that they will have a respected and valued seat at the table in the Tech Industries of their choice. Many women opt out because we get tired of having to prove our right to be there every second of every day.

We have better things to do with our time and talent – we’ll give you a wave when we overtake you.  
Recruitment agencies drum up business by telling big business they have talent shortages and big business drinks the Kool Aid and agrees with them – paying big money to get first in line for the same limited pre-approved and (supposedly) proven talent pool. Around and around the circle goes. All the while telling themselves they are encouraging workplace diversity – but never really actually changing their hiring practices.  Anyone for a bit of confirmation bias?  

My notes show me that these seriously talented and high powered leaders clearly are not blind to the problem. They know that the IP loss when employees leave a business is a significant cost (but difficult to measure). They know that diversity creates brilliance and innovation (thank you Air Commodore Amanda Dines for that gem). They know we badly need thought leaders in the industry. Where the industry seems to come unstuck is in making that diversity happen from the bottom up on an industry and nationwide scale.  To this out of the loop Army veteran it appears that the industry as a whole has not found a successful way to make Defence careers and Defence Tech careers more comfortable or more accessible to the diversity demographics businesses need in their teams moving forward. They’re talking the talk – but they’re nowhere near walking the walk. Worse - they don’t seem to know how to change “the way things are done around here”.  

Career Success Powerhouse Jo Allen and new women on the block Sophie Thomson and Cia Kouparitsas spent the day doing some quiet reconnaissance. Almost everyone they spoke to knew about WithYouWithMe – what we do and how we do it. We all just made our presence known in our black and coloured archetype Tshirts. After all – as every cowgirl knows: 

You can lead a horse to water – but you can’t make them drink.  

Stories of WYWM - 6 Months Ago by Alessandra Byers

6 months ago I was a Military Wife, Mother, Homemaker. Even the unpredictability of those titles were somehow predictable.  

I felt like I was latent and needed to harness my abilities into creating something amazing. Something outside of being a military spouse where duty comes first. Something outside of being a mother and wife where my children and my Husband come first. Something outside of being the home-maker where you prioritise other people and things before yourself. I needed to create something just for me.  

I knew my worth, my drive, my loyalty, trustworthiness, my dynamism.  

So I went outside of my comfort zone, I got creative and I explored – all in order to achieve.  

Today, 6 months on, I am a Veteran Wife, Mother and Homemaker. But I am also an Entrepreneur, Cyber Security Analyst, and a truly valuable asset to a cause and company. I did not foresee what I have accomplished in the last 6months, the business I created, the new career I have or the transition out of military life. I cannot foresee what I will accomplish in the next 6months time.  But I know that I will fail….and that I will succeed. I am doing this for me.  

I write this on Day 1 at WYWM. Bring on the next 6 months. And 6 months after that. And 6 months after that…… 

But know, I am still a proud Veteran Wife, Mother and Homemaker. I’ve just added a few other titles that harness my potential and will help me thrive.  





Stories of WYWM -Perseverance through Self-Doubt by Tabitha Paschalis

On July 16th, 2017, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree with nothing but hope for my future, and optimism that the world would give me the life I needed in order to thrive, develop, and become the person I truly wanted to be.  

By March 2020, I realized that the world couldn’t give me anything. I had to go out and get it myself.  

Here is the part in-between. 

At the age of 20, I realized that I wanted to gain my own sense of independence, move away from home and live in Nottingham, a couple of hours away from my family. I told myself that this wouldn’t be easy, and that as a broke student who had just graduated with £0 to my name, I’d have to put in a little effort, but regardless, I remained optimistic. The world would give me something.  

After months of hearing the word ‘no’ by employers more times than I can count, I realized that my optimism was dwindling. No one wanted the fresh out of university student with enthusiasm and drive. And because no one wanted her, she simply just became the university student without…well…anything.  

Jobs that excited me no longer seemed worth applying for. A four-hour application for a one minute phone call that simply said “sorry, not this time,” if that chipped me away piece by piece every time. My self-worth crumbled with it, and I found myself clicking apply for anything that previously wasn’t something I would have even considered. And that is how I ended up working in a call centre.  

For the first few months, I was doing okay. My self-worth was at an all time low, but I was finally making money, and in turn, would eventually be earning enough to pay rent and no longer have to live off others. After but a few more months in the role, I hit rock bottom mentally. I had little motivation, but the motivation I did have was spent applying for other roles, that slightest hint of a spark in terms of optimism was still there, attempting to create something so much more tangible now that I had experience in a new work environment and yet…the spark was doused out a few months later when I realised that still…no one wanted me. 

I found myself crying during shifts, in front of an office of people. Found myself being sent home because I couldn’t control my breathing. Found myself being taken downstairs to calm down. And when I did get home, I’d stare at the walls, and wait for tomorrow to come around because I knew it would, whilst secretly praying that the evening would last forever, and I could remain in a mental purgatory for a while.  

On year three at that role, I was furloughed for five months.  

Those five months were some of the best of my life, I could breathe again, feel things again. And then I was requested to come back. The second the phone call arrived, I said “of course,” politely, before hanging up and crying for what seemed like hours. It was then that I realized that things don’t come for free. I needed to be curious, I needed to be fierce. I needed to do something about this. About…me. I needed to take control of my mental health. And so, I applied for my Masters Degree. 

The degree was a struggle, and a risk at that with little money to fund it, but I told myself that I needed to work hard and gain a higher education to remove myself from a terrible situation. Turns out, this was the best decision of my life. After all, sometimes a risk is worth everything. It can make or break you. 

In my year at university, I met an employee at WYWM online, and unknowingly, my life would be changed. 

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. 

My friend could see my struggle. She knew that I had the drive, the will power once upon a time, and yet nothing to put it into, noting to give it to. And that was why I was so mentally drained. And so, I created a profile on Potential, I undertook the aptitude tests, and suddenly, I felt that drive again, the drive to work up to something so incredible. Work FOR something incredible. That curiosity, that drive, that fierceness, it came back to me. 

Suddenly it was all I could think about – becoming part of WYWM. I recall sitting in a bar, my hand around a cold glass of beer, pondering what my future could be like at a place like that, and it brought joy to me, real, unapologetic joy. I hadn’t felt excitement like that since graduating back in 2017. There it was again, that spark, becoming something more, that optimism. That person was still there, she had simply been dormant.  

I wasn’t expecting to be chosen as a potential candidate, wasn’t expecting to be where I am now, and yet, even as I type this out, I feel completely at ease. I feel comfortable for the first time in a long time.  

The moment onboarding started I felt like I had found my people, my community, and I had been waiting to find that for a long time. They didn’t tell me no because I didn’t have experience, didn’t tell me ‘sorry, not this time’ because my CV wasn’t polished enough. They didn’t want my CV, they wanted drive, wanted potential. And thanks to this company, I’ve finally found that.  

After feeling like I was a failure, that I wasn’t capable of something more, this company told me that I was, and as a result, I have developed more in my three months here than I have for the three years in my previous role.  

I’m so grateful to Tom, and the team at WYWM for giving a burnout a chance. For giving a young person at rock-bottom mentally a hopeful future. An opportunity to climb back up. To get back up. 

The world doesn’t give you what you want, you have to go out and get it, strive for it.  

And for the first time in a long time, I am doing just that.  

So, you want my advice? Be curious, be fierce, be transparent.  Be you.  

It will all make sense soon enough. 

Life after WYWM:  A Guide to Networking 

Life after WYWM:  A Guide to Networking 

What happens after you complete training through WYWM?  How do you go about finding a job when you’re new to an industry?  In this article I’ll walk you through the steps that I found most helpful when looking for a job after completing WYWM’s training.  While my experience is with RPA, I believe the strategies and tips are applicable across all pathways and industries.  My aim is to give you some tools and ideas to take with you as you find your new career and hopefully make the process a little less daunting. 

Before we jump in, I’d like to point out that the Potential platform has a “Jobs” section with current job opportunities.  It will show you how well you’re matched for each position, and you can apply right there on the website.  It’s a great resource that I highly recommend checking out if you haven’t already done so.  However, if you find yourself needing to look for a job beyond what’s offered on the platform, this article is for you.   

After you complete your WYWM pathway, attaining professional certification is the next step if there is an industry standard for the career you’re in.  This certification demonstrates competency and credibility, especially when you’re looking for your first role in the field.  For RPA, this means getting certified in Blue Prism, UiPath, or Automation Anywhere.  Being certified in one software is typically enough when looking for a job, though you’ll be more competitive if you obtain multiple certifications.  Personally, I got certified in Blue Prism first, and then pursued UiPath certification while I searched for job.  

When it comes to job hunting, the typical advice is to apply to at least 10- 15 jobs per week to maximize your chances of getting called in for an interview.  Each job you apply for online will probably have you fill out a form and upload your resume. The problem with this is that most hiring sites use applicant tracking systems (ATS), which is a resume keyword scanning software used to determine which applicants are worth a look by the HR department.  So, if your resume doesn’t contain the right keywords, your application will probably be disregarded without a human ever looking at it.  There are ways to try to work around this, of course, such as incorporating the key words from the job listing into your resume.  This is a great tip, but unfortunately a lack of relevant experience will still most likely get your application discarded.  Plus, you’re competing with dozens, maybe even hundreds of other people for one position.  Just getting called in for an initial interview is hard.   

As depressing as this sounds, I’ve found that networking is a much more effective and efficient way of going about the job search.  The people in your network are the ones that will tell you about job openings (in fact, 80% of jobs are not posted online), they’ll put in a referral for you when you apply to their company which will pump your application up to the top of the list, and they may even be in a position with hiring authority to hire you themselves.  It’s all about who you know, and LinkedIn, as the world’s largest professional network on the internet, is absolutely then best tool for this.  

So how exactly does this work?  Here are the steps I recommend going through to build your network: 
  1. Create a LinkedIn account and build your profile 

A quick note for those of you in the United States: If you’re a US service member, veteran or military spouse, you can get a 1-year subscription to LinkedIn Premium for free.  You can find the information for service members here and the information for spouses here.  While certainly not necessary, Premium is great because it gives you access to LinkedIn Library, which has tutorials on how to build your profile and grow your network, among other perks. 

  1. Send Connect Requests with a personalized message 

You can use the search function on LinkedIn to find people in the industry you’re entering.  For example, I searched for RPA and sent a connect request to every single person I could find in an RPA role.  Along with the request, I put in a personalized message to let them know who I was.  People are much more likely to connect when they receive a note from you.  Mine went something like this: 

“Hi Tom, I’d love to connect with you.  I’m moving from my background in education to an RPA Developer role and so trying to connect with more people in the RPA world.” 

Characters are limited, so make it short, personal and to the point.  If you are currently in the military, you can mention that you’re transitioning out of the service.  I found that most people were happy to connect and many even offered to answer any questions I had.   

  1. Send a follow-up message 

I typically sent a quick follow-up message to anyone who accepted the connect request (regardless of whether they wrote back) to express appreciation as well as let them know I was looking for job opportunities.  For example: 

“Thank you for connecting, Tom!  Happy to be part of your network.  I’m actively looking for RPA jobs; if you ever hear of any openings I’d be so grateful if you’d let me know.” 

It was a no-pressure message that didn’t require a response back from them, but it left the door open if they wanted to reply.  Even if they don’t know of any openings right now, they can check back in with you later if they do hear of one.  

  1. Have your resume ready to send out 

Just from these two messages, I had quite a few people ask for my resume, either because they were in a position with some hiring authority or because they wanted to bring it up with their manager.  So, be sure you have a professional, up-to-date resume ready to go so you can send it out promptly when requested.   

I know how hard it can be to put together a resume if you’ve been in the military or have had a non-conventional career.  If you’re looking for some advice, I’d suggest the book Signs of a Great Resume (Veterans Edition): How to write a resume that speaks for itself by Scott Vedder.  It will show you how to explain your military experience in a way civilians can understand, and how to quantify that experience to make it stand out.   

  1. Always say yes to informational interviews, and don’t be afraid to ask for them 

Informational interviews can give you valuable insight into the industry, career paths and job requirements.  They’re also a great networking tool.  If someone offers to chat with you, say yes!  Show up with questions and topics you’d like to discuss and learn more about.  It can be around the person's role in the company, how they got there, what tools would be most valuable for you to learn right now, advice they have for you, or anything else you think is helpful or interesting.  The most important thing is that you’re interested in what they have to share and enthusiastic about joining the industry.  You can also ask if the person has anyone else in their network who might be willing to connect with you.   

If you come across someone who you think would be beneficial to talk to, don’t be afraid to ask them if they would be willing to have a quick chat.  Maybe it’s someone who has walked a similar path as you and you can learn from their experience, or someone you know has your dream job and you want to ask what steps you can take now to help you get there.  If you share your story and your goals, most people are enthusiastic about helping you out and taking the time to talk with you.  

In addition to LinkedIn, another awesome place to connect with people is Veterati, a veteran mentorship platform.  Veterati sets up free, 1-hour mentorship phone calls between a successful professional and a Service Member, Veteran or Military Spouse.  Once you create an account on their platform, you can search for mentors with specific skills and browse through their areas of expertise.  And, you can speak with as many mentors as you like.  It’s a fantastic way to expand your network, get advice from someone in the industry, and even discuss your resume and interviewing skills.  I highly recommend it.   

Hopefully, as your network grows and develops, the more job opportunities you’ll see come your way and you’ll have the advantage of a referral or personal connection when you apply for a position.  Pivoting careers and launching into a new industry can be so daunting and challenging, but I hope these pieces of advice on building a network are useful as you find your next role.  

The Pigeon Vs. Internet (big O notation)

The Pigeon Vs. Internet  

In 2009, Unlimited IT, a South African IT company decided to run a race between a courier pigeon and the broadband speed available at the country. The pigeon was to carry a 4GB stick and the internet company was going to send data over its broadband lines.  

The race was to be 60 miles long. Winston, an 11-month-old carrier pigeon was up to the task of beating the almighty internet. For it to be a fair race, the internet company made a rule that Winston had to be on a regular diet, no funny stuff with the food, for example, no hormones to make the bird go faster.  

Winston won! Winston delivered 4GB in 1 hour and 8 minutes, while the data transferred over broadband-only achieved 4% of what Winston delivered.  

This story is often used to describe Big O notation. In mathematics, big O is used to describe the limiting behaviour of a function. And in computer science, big O is used to classify algorithms based on their performance. We don't have to go through the drama of training a pigeon and setting-up this type of event. The pigeon has a transfer speed of O of 1 (O1) and its constant time with respect to the size of the input (it doesn't take more time with more input). The internet speed would be described as O of n squared (On), it scales linearly with the amount of input.  

Big O notation gets complex fast and outside my mathematical abilities. But it is a cool story because we would have never expected a flapping bird in the sky to be faster than the internet. 

Fearless is Her Name

When I was a little horse crazy girl on the farm in country New South Wales around forty (mumble mumble) years ago I saw a telemovie about Marco Polo's journey along the Silk Road through Mongolia to China.

My poor stock horse pony had to endure hours of me playing Mongolian Horse Archer around the paddocks with a couple of sticks and piece of string for a bow. If you know anything at all about horse crazy little girls you'll know that they are utterly fearless.

I used to lie down and look over the edge of the (2 storey tall) grain silo and frighten the living daylights out of my Mum because she didn't know I'd climbed up there.

Fearless little girls get thrown from a horse and bounce back up - catch the horse - remount and take off again at a flat gallop.  Fearless little girls get squashed down and told to wear pretty clothes and "play nice with the other kids".  Fearless little girls have to be taught to be afraid.

Nice little girls don't play horse archer on the Mongolian steppes. Nice little girls don't climb trees or hang over the lip of the roof of a grain silo. Nice little girls don't join the Army for the purpose of collecting adventures and seeing the world. Nice little girls keep their knees together and don't draw attention to themselves. Nice little girls don't argue or make waves.

Nice little girls far too often learn to hide their heart fire.

Not too long ago I met a little girl at a Farm clearing sale - maybe seven years old. This little girl was polite, confident and energetic. She is an absolutely fearless little firecracker and a thoroughly likeable little girl. She was climbing on tractors, chattering to everyone, dragging her little brother into mischief and having an absolute ball.  I taught her a game where we pretended to be cows charging at and tossing people into the air. We had a whale of a time  - man we could have cooked up some mischief!

Her Mum on the other hand spent the entire morning worrying about the little girl being a nuisance or possibly offending other people. All I heard was this mother telling her little girl "Don't this, Don't that"

Don't don't don't don't don't.

I've spent a lot my life being afraid - sometimes for good reason - but mostly because of an undiagnosed anxiety condition. Afraid of failure, afraid of social ostracism, afraid of the spotlight, afraid of criticism, afraid of confrontation, afraid of losing control, afraid of crowds, afraid of losing my job and on one memorable occasion afraid of losing the use of my arms and legs.

My transition from the military was not voluntary and it wasn't easy - I spent a lot of years afraid of a lot things. I guess it kind of got to be a habit.

In the last few years I've put a lot of work into losing a few veteran behaviours and habits that no longer serve my interest. Thanks to the help of a lot of people I feel I've reached a point where I can quietly celebrate my achievements.

I wanted to mark this time in my life in a memorable way.

I saw a picture of a little Mongolian girl at a flat gallop, pigtails flying, bareback on her pony shooting at a target I couldn't see. I wanted to be reminded of what it was like to be that little girl.

My friend Alice is a superb digital artist and stands proudly among my tribe of Fierce women friends. We were talking one day about my interest in all things Mongolian and Alice mentioned that one of her Artist friends is a fiercely proud Mongolian living right here in Australia.

Tumen is mainly a digital artist but he accepted my commission and consented to design and print me a figurine that I could put on my desk. I hope to have her cast in bronze one day.

Every time I hesitate, every time I fear, every time I see her I am reminded.

Fearless is her name.

Stories of WYWM - My Journey to WYWM (Dari Version) by Tariq Zia

مسیر من به WYWM

من داستان خود را با سخنی از مولانا بلخی-رومی آغاز میکنم ، قسمیکه میفرماید؛ "در مسیر وقتی قدم بگذاری، مسیر بر تو نمایان میشود."

بنده، محمد طارق "ضیأ" متولد ولایت بامیان، اففانستان، در یک فامیل تحصیل یافته و از لحاظ اقتصادی متوسط چشم به جهان گشودم، جائیکه پدرم تنها شخص نان آور فامیل بود. من دقیقاً بیاد دارم، پدرم چگونه زحمت میکشید تا زمینه درس خواندن را برای مان فراهم سازد ولی هیچ گاه کوتا نیامد،  تا تحصیل خود را ادامه دهیم. از همان روزهای نخست که میتوانستم دست چپ و راست خود را تشخیص دهم، تصمیم گرفتم تا درس بخوانم و تحصیلات عالی خود را تکمیل نمایم.

بعد از فراغت از مکتب به درجه عالی (اول نمره) راهی دانشگاه شدم و در اولین شغل خود را به حیث کامپیوتر اپراتور در وزارت عدلیه افغانستان آغاز بکار نمودم، تا باشد از لحاظ اقتصادی فامیل را کمک و هم توانسته باشم مصارف تحصیل خود را تأمین نمایم. پس از فراغت از دانشگاه به درجه عالی و اکمال دوره لیسانس خویش در بخش انجینیری ساختمان، به حیث انجینیر دیزاین سترکچر بعداً به حیث پروجکت منیجر در وزارت شهرسازی و اراضی، افغانستان شروع بکار نمودم. پس از اتمام قرارداد، به حیث مترجم(سوپروایزر و تیم لیدر) برای نیروهای آسترالیایی و ائیتلاف(ناتو) انجام وظیفه نمودم.

از آنجائیکه نیروهای ائیتلاف و هم پیمانان شان خروج شانرا از افغانستان اعلام نمودند، تعداد زیاد از همکارانم وظایف شان را ازدست داده و خانه نشین شدند. من یکی از محدود مترجمین بودم که هنوز هم شامل وظیفه بودم. با گذشت هر روز اوضاع امنیتی وخیم تر میشد، روزانه بیش از ۱۰ تماس تیلیفونی از طرف همکارانم دریافت میکردم که از مشاورین در مورد درخواست ویزا های مان بپرس؛ وقتی به آنها مراجعه میکردم، آنها هم قادر نبودند تا سوال های مان را جواب دهند. دقیقاَ این همه با شروع همه گیری کووید-19 همزامان بود. همانند سایر همکارانم من هم منتظر ویزای خودم بودم، حتی با وجود ارسال بیش از ۱۰ ها ایمیل به اداره امور دولت آسترالیا هیچ خبری از ویزا نبود.

این دقیقاً زمانی بود که متوجه شدم، بطور انفرادی صدایمان شنیده نخواهد شد؛ بنأ، تصمیم گرفتم تا همه همکارانم را جمع و آوازمان را یکجا بلند نمایم تا خود را از یک مرگ حتمی نجات بدهیم. با شرایط حاکم در کابل خیلی مشکل بود تا جمع کثیری از مترجمین را دور هم جمع کرد؛ اعتماد کردن خیلی مشکل بود، اینکه ما کجا میرویم؟ اگر هویت مان افشا شود؟ اگر دهشت افگنان(طالبان، داعش، شبکه حقانی و غیره...) در مورد مان اطلاع یابند؟ چی اتفاقی برایمان رخ میداد؟ آنچه می توانید تصور کنید اینست؛ که همه ما کشته ویا محاکمه میشدیم. 

بنأ، من پیش قدم شدم و این ابتکار را بخرچ داده، تصمیم گرفتم تا تعدادی از همکارانم را اول به خانه خود دعوت نموده و نظر خود را با آنها شریک نمایم و بپرسم که آنها چی نظر دارند، طوریکه پلان خود را برایشان بیان نمودم، همه موافقت نموده و گفتند؛ هرچه میخواهی بنویس ما در پای آن امضا میکنیم. بعد از اخذ نظریات آنها یک بیانیه مشترک تحت عنوان (تهدید وخیم) نوشتم، یک گروپ واتسپ ایجاد کرده و همه آنها را شامل گروپ ساختم، جائیکه 62 مترجم به شمول 3 مترجم اناث همه دور هم جمع شده بودیم، با خود فکر کردم که به این شیوه به آسانی آنها را گرد هم جمع کرده، و میتوانم به آسانی به آنها مراجعه کرده و نظریات شانرا بگیرم. وقتی هریک از آنها با آنچه نوشته بودیم موافقت کردند، یک ایمیل آدرس تحت نام مترجمین کمپ قرغه (QAATBWADF) ایجاد کردم و همان نامه مشترک را به تمامی ایمیل آدرس های که منحیث نقطه وصل با دولت آسترالیا نزدم بود ارسال نمودم. در همین هنگام، به واسطه یکی از دوستانم به نام (نوید آرمان) که او هم یک مترجم بود، به یکی از نویسندگان روزنامه گاردین (کیت بنوایل) در ارتباط شدم، همان نامه مشترک را به وی ارسال نمودم؛ که خوشبختانه در روزنامه گاردین نشر گردید1. همزمان با یکی دیگر از ژورنالیستان چینل 10 بنام (سوریا لینی) در ارتباط شدم، آنها یک برنامه تلویزیونی دارند که تحت نام (پروژه) به نشر میرسد. با یکی از ژورنالیستان آنها در کابل مصاحبه نمودم، مصاحبه ای که میتوانست برای من خیلی خطر ساز باشد، باید روی خودرا پوشانیده و هویتم را مخفی نگه میداشتم، که خوشبختانه آن مصاحبه نیز به نشر رسید2.

با اذعان کردن فشار از راه های مختلف، در نهایت ما قادر شدیم تا از طرف اداره امور دولت آسترالیا جواب دریافت کنیم. اداره امور دولت آسترالیا با ارسال ایمیلی خاطر نشان ساخت که "به درخواست های ما تحت شرایط خاص و استثنائی رسیدگی خواهد شد، به زودی ما شاهد دریافت معاینات صحی و صادر شدن ویزا خواهیم بود."

این زمانی بود که اهمیت و نتیجه کارگروپی را درک کردم، نمی توانم بیان کنم به چی اندازه من و دوستانم و خانواده های مان خوشحال بودیم، اینکه چگونه امید های مان یکبار دیگر زنده شده بود. خوشبختانه این همه نتیجه داد، ما قادر شدیم تا این را رقم بزنیم، تمامی اعضای گروپ مان یکی پی دیگری به آسترالیا منتقل شدند، جائیکه آنها زندگی جدید شانرا آغاز کرده اند. من به تاریخ 26/جون/2021 به ملبورن انتقال یافتم؛ جائیکه در صدد این بودم که چگونه زندگی جدید خود را آغاز نمایم، از اینکه بنا بر بعضی قوانین و محدودیت ها نتوانستم فامیل خود(والدین، خواهر و برادر) خود را شامل پرونده خود بسازم، آنها در افغانستان باقی ماندند، از اینکه پدرم از کار بازنشسته بود و من تنها کاریگر فامیل مان بودم، باید در جستجوی کار میشدم تا بتوانم آنها را از لحاظ مالی کمک نمایم. از اینرو در یکی از فابریکه ها منحیث کارگر شروع به کار نمودم، مگر این جایی نبود که من متوقف میشدم، در صدد این بودم تا دیپلوم که خارج از کشور به دست آورده بودم را تصدیق کنم تا بتوانم یک وظیفه خوبتر جستجو نمایم. در همین هنگام یکی از مشاورین که در افغانستان با وی کار میکردم آدرس سازمان(WYWM) را برایم فرستاد و از من خواست تا در این ویبسایت ثبت نام نمایم، برایم گفت؛ این سازمان برای ترجمه مواد درسی شان در صدد استخدام یک تعداد مترجمین است. این دقیقاً زمانی است که من با (WYWM) وصل شدم.

بعد از ثبت نام در این برنامه، با خانم (ریبیکا) تماس تیلیفنی برقرار نمودم و در مورد تجارب و سابقه کاری خود با ایشان حرف زدم. حدود یکماه بعد از طرف آنها یک ایمیل در یافت نمودم، که میخواهند شخصی را بحیث مدیر برنامه آموزش افغانها استخدام نمایند، او افزود؛ "از اینکه شما میتوانید به هر دو لسان دری و پشتو تکلم نمائید، من در مورد شما فکر کردم اگر علاقمند هستید، وقت ملاقات بگیرید" بعد از انجام یک سری از مصاحبه ها با وی و آقای (جولیان)، و بعد از انجام مصاحبه تطابق فرهنگی، من منحیث بهترین کاندید واجد شرایط به این سمت انتخاب شدم. نمی توانم بیان کنم به چی اندازه خرسند هستم.

حال، منحیث مدیر برنامه آموزشی آفغانها، میدانم ماموریت و مسوولیت های که فرا راه من وجود دارد چالش زا خواهد بود، اما، با در نظر داشت تجارب، ظرفیت، شبکه مخاطبین و از همه مهمتر کار کردن در کنار یک تیم فداکار در سازمان (WYWM مطمئن هستم که در راه رسیدن به اهداف خود و چشم انداز سازمانی موفق خواهم بود. برای اینکه در نقشم موفق باشم، مهم است تا اساسی ترین ارزشهای سازمان (WYWM) را بدانم. بخاطر درک این موضوع، برای من، میتواند جواب به سوال های ذیل باشد؛

میخواهیم سازمان را به کدام مسیر ببریم؟ ما حقیقتاً چه میتوانیم حاصل کرد؟ و نهایتاً، سازمان قصد دارد چه  مشکلاتی را حل کند؟

من، منحیث مدیر برنامه افغانها، تلاش خواهم کرد تا این سازمان را به عنوان یکی از سازمانهای خلاق داشته باشم؛ تا فرصت های شغلی را برای هر یک از اعضای جامعه نیروی کار ایجاد کنم، و زندگی بهتری را برای پناهندگان افغان فراهم سازم. مهم تر از آن، بتوانم تأثیر مثبت بر زندگی تعداد زیادی از مردم جهان سوم داشته باشم. تا احساس کنم کار خارق العاده ای برای مردمم و کسانی که به حمایت ما نیاز دارند انجام داده ام.

با حرمت،

محمد طارق "ضیأ"