From the Great White North to bank of The Free: My journey from Canada to bunq
So I know what you’re all wondering. Did I have a pet polar bear? What do I do when my igloo melts in the summer? Do we really say sorry all the time? All I can say is that… well… sorry. There are some noticeable differences in The Netherlands to Canada.
I come from the great outdoors, I’m used to big yards, lakes the size of an ocean, and cold cold winters. But I'm making it work, I’ve replaced yards for rooftops, lakes for canals, and snow for rain.
I’m Will, your friendly neighbourhood Product Owner. I moved from Canada to Amsterdam just under a year now and I’ve been at bunq since January. In the summer of 2019 I decided to make the big plunge, quit my job in Canada and test my luck in the Netherlands. Hoping to escape another unbearable winter in Canada, I came over in October: perfect for the rainy season.
Getting the job at bunq was a fun and exciting process, ingrained in the process of settling in a new country. There were a few calls, some online questionnaires then finally the Get Shit Done Day. This is the day when you’re called up to the Big Leagues and get a chance to prove you have what it takes. I won’t go on too long about it (because you could be the next one to take on the challenge) but it is definitely a busy day, and for both bunq and me, it was a good indicator if this was going to be the right fit.
The difference between working for a European vs Canadian company 🇪🇺
First thing, the bluntness. I came from sorry-ville to no bullshit real fast. It took me by surprise at first but I’ve come around to it. There’s no guessing games or reading between the lines, everyone tells you what they think and it avoids a lot of confusion. Another jaw dropping change is the vacation time. Canadian standards for vacation is 2 weeks, in the Netherlands it’s 5!
But my favourite change here has to be lunch. In Canada it is almost unheard of to have a chef making you a home cooked meal for lunch every day. I’m still pleasantly surprised that I just have a good and healthy lunch waiting for me.
What are you up to, Will? 🙌
I’m a Product Owner at bunq for our Business and Business SuperGreen user base. My role is to ensure that users have the best possible experience while using our app. This can be achieved through the introduction of new features or improving existing features we’ve already built. I started working in tech and startups at 19 years old so coming to bunq I knew what to expect. Excitement, change, fire, all the fun stuff you do when working for an innovative company. It’s challenging, and you’re always asked to strive for greatness in the best interest of our users. That’s what keeps it exciting and inspires me: at the end of the day, we’re doing it for our users (like me and many of you).
What's your favorite thing about bunq? 🌈
The nice part of working at bunq is that we’re really a community. For a new person to the city trying to figure my way through, having the bunq family was a huge bonus. Friday drinks, fellow climbers welcoming me to their crew, and team lunches to really make you feel immediately welcome.
The most important thing I’ve learnt and continue to learn is user centred thinking. We are constantly asked to think about our users first, and build products that will actually benefit them which is super refreshing. It’s something that should always be front of mind and is something we all strive to improve at.