Oh yes don't worry. In that post I really forced myself to write down the negative things.
I neither think nor speak like this very often. The vast majority of the time, I'm focused on the present or future and how great everything is
The problem is not to sell my later achievments but to get this old issue off the table so that I can concentrate on the good things.
The culture of failing in Europe is not the same than in the US. In America you don't need to be ashamed of falling as long as you get up again.
In Europe it's more like "once a loser always a loser". I'm not willing to accept that and I won't be held back by it.
Nevertheless, I can't completely ignore my past and it's not easy to find the right balance.
What I would want to do is mention those five years only when asked and maybe in other specific stories like the one about tutoring in this post.
Doing so, I sometimes get "too agressive, not humble enough" feedback from my friends but they may be biased...
A few examples of how I naturally speak:
The free software project was a great opportunity to develop leadership skills. Big changes needed to be made at the beginning. The project had become kind of a nerds only club.
I became president of the project under the premise to change the target group. The goal was to attract many new users to the free software community.
We doubled our publicity efforts, we even had 8 minutes prime time on national television (show about consumer protection).
This worked, instead of always the same faces, we had many new people at our activities.
It was not easy though. I had to constantly remind the other nine project members not to be too technical in their explanations and not to be condescending either.
Engineers don't do that on purpose, nevertheless it's often an issue. I also learned a lot about client friendlyness during that project. They sometimes approach you with stupid ideas and you need to convince them they're wrong without offending them.
The invited speakers at the conferences we organized were also not at all used to having such a heterogenous audience.
In the end, it all worked out. We more than doubled the number of people present at our activities in comparison to last year and feedback surveys indicate that everybody is happy.
This would be the story I tell in my leadership essay but I have many others.
For example concerning the tutoring job. Since I know first hand how it is to fail miserably and to suceed, I can help all kinds of pupils.
I know how to turn arround an almost hopeless case and I am also able to provide the subtle details needed to get from "good" to "excellent".
Not many tutors can do that. Most are good at only one of the two scenarios.
Also, my pupils tell me that I'm able to motivate them just by being
(in fact not only my pupils but more or less everybody I meet tells me this)
What I liked most about my intern-ships in IT startups is the dynamic work environment and the many opportunities.
However, this fast pace comes with a trade-off. These startups are not always the most professionnal workplaces.
From time to time things get screwed up or just forgotten and then nobody wants to be reponsible.
The team members can be very young on average. Business maturity is an issue (or just plain business familiarity, I know startups with engineers only staffs).
This brings me to management consulting. MC is without doubt a very dynamic work environment but at the same time it's more professional than startups are.
I like the fact that the problems you have to solve are multidisciplinary and open ended.
The structured and linear way of solving them is just how I think all the time anyway.
Consulting is a great opportunity to work only on the most interesting problems from many different industries.
I don't mind travelling at all. I would love to work abroad permanently after the first few years in Brussels.
I can't wait to be in teams with very smart and ambitious people, I'm looking for opportunities to grow.