Typical 24: Jorge Balcells, Verne Global

What do working professionals really do all day?

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Name: Jorge Balcells

Job title: Director of Technical Services at Verne Global

Company: Verne Global

Location: Miami, United States

Years’ experience: 20 years

 

 

  1. What time do you reach the office each day?
    I am sitting at my desk in my home office by 5am… catching up on email from people 5 or 6 hours ahead of me, due to the European nature of our business.  So, you could say that most of my colleagues don’t see me until 10am or 11am… so I arrive very late. 
  2. Is your job varied?
    Incredibly so, but that’s what makes it so enjoyable.  I never know what will be today’s priority.
  3. Is your job creative?
    Most people wouldn’t immediately think of the datacenter industry being one that requires creative thinking, however within our business, creativity is essential as for almost every client we’re providing fully bespoke options. As part of my duties are to oversee data center design, I’m constantly being challenged to find new and innovative ways to meet our customers’ demands.
  4. What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
    Reading and responding to questions or actions, both from my colleagues and our customers from all over the globe.  When on the phone, I never know how many languages I will use on any given day!
  5. Do you personalize your desk?
    One webcam session with me will introduce you to my children’s artwork.
  6. Would you describe yourself as creative?
    Yes… and Verne Global is all about being creative. I get to design datacenters differently.  Today’s datacenter loads are very different from 10-15 years ago, when many datacenters were built. We have to think about today’s HPC demands, and ever-changing needs of hyperscale and Big-Data applications.  That’s what make my job creative, we design based on our customer’s needs and applications first.
  7. Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
    Coffee is a must within 15 minutes of waking up.  But don’t think diluted dirty water… I mean strong, overly sweet Cuban coffee.  It can wake up dead souls.
  8. Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
    Working from a home office when I am not traveling to our office locations, I can be very productive by myself…. But we use technology very often, which makes us all feel we are in the same room.
  9. How many hours on average do you work a day?
    More than French law allows… less than an astronaut.
  10. Roughly how much time do you spend each day on email? Taking calls? In meetings?
    Email (quickly becoming replaced by Slack) takes about 2-3 hours per day, but this is a constant influx, so it’s hard to track.  One email can be replied to in 5 seconds… other emails mean the creation of a 12tab spreadsheet.  Calls and meetings are about 4 hours each day.
  11. Do you use social media much for work?
    I use LinkedIn and Twitter to keep up to date with my networks, and the latest developments within the industry.
  12. What do you enjoy most about your work?
    After working for two companies with more than 100k employees, I love being part of a company with less than 100.  Everything I do has an impact, you feel empowered and that is very gratifying.
  13. What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
    Having worked in so many geographies, I do have a very wide selection of music.  It can go from Brazilian Bossa Nova, to Spanish Flamenco, to Icelandic artists like Björk.
  14. What do you do for lunch?
    Whatever my kids left over from dinner the night before.
  15. Do you socialize with work colleagues?
    I get to spend time with them when I visit Iceland and England.  In our London offices, we have meals such as Peking Duck and Shepherd’s Pie that I can’t find at home (at least authentic ones).  In Iceland, we share meals that you can’t find anywhere else: cured shark, lamb’s head, and Kjötsúpa (meat soup), just to name a few.
  16. Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
    I was once responsible to review and approve expense reports using corporate policy.  Enough said.
  17. What is your last task of your day?
    Reading a book to my daughter… in Spanish.  Muy importante.
  18. How do you like to relax after work?
    Walk around the block in my neighborhood.  Assuming I don’t see any alligators in the nearby lakes, it is very relaxing.
  19. Do you keep checking email through the evening?
    Really?  In 2018 that’s not a question… it’s not even expected…. You just do.  But never if my kids are with me.  You will never see me texting or emailing if my kids or my wife are speaking to me.  I think many people today struggle with this.
  20. Do you take work projects home with you?
    Home office. But there are plenty of home-projects my wife claims are behind schedule. Next question, please.
  21. What would you say to your 20-year old self?
    Think technology.  Embrace it and live it.  It can impact the world in such a positive way.  Start reading and learning about Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), they will have a big impact in all of our lives.
  22. If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
    Formula 1 driver.  Any track except Monaco… too many walls to hit.
  23. What device did you use to answer these questions?
    My laptop
  24. Do you use your own personal device for work?
    Everything comes in on my smartphone. And by that, I mean including the latest news on FCBarcelona, sailing conditions for Miami this upcoming weekend, and, yes, some work emails here and there.