Four Colors of Yulia Billig.
First Color: Red
After I graduated from high school in Moscow, Russia which is where I grew up, I entered Moscow Institute of Economics and Statistics. I majored in Economics and software development. After graduation I started my work career as a programmer in the Ministry of Statistics. It was still Soviet Union and my future life seemed very predictable: programmer, senior programmer, may be the head of department in 20 years, if I am lucky. Writing code and drinking tea with colleagues during the day and long lines in the stores in the evening. All so routine and at the same time new for me - the young and ambitious graduate. My first daughter, Maria, was born and I was a very busy working mom. Another 10-15 years of such life could make me just another Soviet working woman swamped with every day’s problems. I went through the divorce and became a single working mom. Life was getting tough. Coming at night to our small one room (not one bedroom, but small studio) apartment in the suburbs of Moscow, where I lived with my daughter, I was worried about my future. What I didn't know is that my life was about to change it’s color.
Second Color: Green
1991 - the end of the Soviet Union. That was a time of scary, but exciting changes. I left state-owned Ministry of Statistics and joined the private software companies as a Marketing manager. I also met my husband to be when he was speaking at the computer classes in St. Petersburg which I attended. He offered me the job in his company and added his heart and hand as company benefits. We got married in 1993. Being very ambitious, I left my husband's company for a bigger company and later founded my own company that specialized in system integration and consulting. When my second daughter, Alisa, was born, I sold my company and took a maternity leave. A year later I started as the representative of Business Software Alliance (BSA) in Russia, fighting software piracy. I can’t say that I won that war, but I worked hard to lobby the laws and build the first legal case against software pirates in Russia. My career was going up when my husband got an offer to work for Microsoft in Germany, so the whole family moved to Munich and that was the beginning of my…
Third Color: Blue
While I couldn’t work in Germany, I spent my time studying the new language and organizing our life in the new country. I fell in love with the country and its people. When you see the houses dated to 16th century with the same family living there for hundreds of years – this looks very impressive. We spent our vacation time traveling in Europe and really enjoyed Rome, Paris, Prague, and many other places I read about during my school years. Now I could see them and share them with my family. I convinced my family that since we live so close to Alps we should start downhill skiing and that became our new hobby. There is nothing in the world even close to walking in the old Austrian village after a great day of skiing in the Alps.
Three years later my husband transferred to Microsoft Redmond and we moved to Seattle to start
Fourth Color: White.
My third country, my third language and again we need to learn everything from the start. Things that many of you take for granted are foreign to us and need to be explained. For example, Homecoming in school we experienced with our older daughter Maria recently – what is it, how important it is, what are the common practices, dress codes etc, etc.. And this is just one simple example. Luckily we are fast learners and already had experience accustoming to the new country so this time we have organized our life pretty fast. A year after we moved we bought our new house and all could speak new language.
Finally I got my work permit and I needed to decide what I wanted to do in Seattle. I knew that I didn’t want to be a software developer and I liked working with people. After so many moves from place to place I felt that I could help people moving to the new country, city or house and I decided to become a realtor. My first book I read in English was Real Estate fundamental – the 500+ page book filled with laws and unknown terms, but I made it through this book in 2 month and got my realtor certification on the first try.
Color coding explained
It’s probably a good time to explain how I choose my colors. Those of you who deal with computers, know that Red-Green-Blue (aka RGB) are the colors of the dots of you monitor. They are also primary colors.
The RGB color model is an additive color model in which red, green, and blue light are combined in various ways to create other colors. The very idea for the model itself and the abbreviation "RGB" come from the three primary colors in additive light models.
Additive color mixing: adding red to green yields yellow; adding yellow to blue yields white.
These colors also have non technical meanings for me:
Red – is the color of the Soviet time
Green – Spring, the time of change and rapid growth
Blue – Bavarian (southern Germany) flag and color of the Alps.
So why my Fourth color is white? It’s a combination of all three colors. I put all my previous experience working for me to perfect in what I do today.