On 31 January was the Frisse Blik Talk. 3 speakers came to give their views on the theme of the evening: 'Contemporary Critical'. How do you make sure you stay that way?

Contemporary critical, everyone in his own way


For my blog I often get inspired by an article I read in the news. That article grabs my attention because I have a certain opinion about it that I want to share or that I find it relevant in another way. This time it was not an article but it was during the Frisse Blik Talk we organized on January 31 that I noticed something. The goal of a Frisse Blik Talk is to inspire our community. We want to do this by inviting three speakers and asking them to give their opinion on a certain theme that we find fun, interesting and relevant for our community. You hope that they have different angles or different ideas about that theme. Ideally, they should approach 1 and the same subject from a completely different perspective.


This was the theme of the evening. How do you ensure that you remain ‘contemporary critical’? Avila Lindgren, master student and a self-proclaimed ‘labnerd’ answered this question with deeds. She grew up in Curacao and experienced at first hand how the oil refinery on the island caused the island to become heavily polluted. She thought she could do something about this and founded her company CaribAlgae. With this she makes biofuel from the algae that grow in polluted water. A crazy idea that will eventually make the oil refinery, which is essential for the island’s economy, superfluous! Avila, critical as she was, however, thought that this idea was not good enough. A rarity actually, someone who is too critical. But super to hear how someone looks critically at his environment, sees a problem and decides that she can do something about it herself.


Olivier Paling, VP Product & Innovation spoke to one of our partners; Zivver. In his career he has made several steps, from consultant to banker and eventually ended up in the tech sector. A very strange path when you see this at first sight. However, it became very logical when he started explaining why he took these steps. Olivier explained that every two years he critically examines what is missing in his work and how the company can provide for it. The moment he notices that he misses something and doesn’t find it in his current work, he goes looking for something else. When Olivier was looking for a job, he didn’t look for a job. He was looking for an employer and opportunities to jump into. To then enter a company, you have to apply for a job. Then you can look at what else you can do so that you can actually use that company for your career. In fact, he’ll just turn it around, let the company work for you instead of you for the company!


Finally, our experienced man Maikel Lobbezoo spoke. In the 11 years he has worked at Adyen he hired more than 300 people. We at Studentflex / High Potential Academy also have quite some experience with job interviews and thought we knew how to hold such an interview. Until Maikel went ashore: ‘as soon as you see a table with two chairs facing each other during a job interview, walk away immediately! His point was that you should not be too slavish during a job interview, you should be critical of your future new employer. Can they offer you what you hope to get out of that job? That’s why he only found a CV to be distracting. That’s what you’ve already done, not exciting! What do you want to do in the future? That is much more relevant to me! Questions like; where do you want to go and what do you want to achieve are questions you can use. That’s why the interview at the coffee machine for the actual job interview for Maikel is much more important.


In fact, the latter is something that was the underlying message of all three speakers. Avila who is mainly critical of her environment, Olivier who is very critical of the opportunities he gets and Maikel who explains why you have to be critical of your employer. At first glance, these seem to be completely different angles. But all three are driven by the questions: where do you want to go and what do you want to achieve? This is also what we find important when we ask our students to be critical of themselves. We try to make them think about where they want to go and what they want to achieve, be it with a substantive (side) job via Studentflex, be it with coaching conversations and training from High Potential Academy! If you need help with that, we can always help you!


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