Retirement: our colleague Jacques looks back on his career at Belnet

Davina Luyten

Communications Officer @ Belnet
Thu, 05/23/2024 - 15:44

At the end of May, our colleague Jacques Ghijselings is leaving on a well-deserved retirement and will thus close the Belnet door behind him for the last time. Project Manager before the PMO department saw the light of day, a beloved colleague, a friend to all with his heart on his sleeve. And those are just a few possibilities of how we can sum up his role and personality within Belnet. A milestone on the occasion of which we would love to hear what he has to say.

  • Hi Jacques, delving briefly into our Belnet archives, we note that you have worked at Belnet for seven years to the day. What roads led to Belnet at the time?
    • 'I was spontaneously contacted by a headhunter through whom I had also ended up at my previous job. The job posting piqued my interest and I began to read up on what Belnet was all about. What particularly attracted me was the innovative sector and the research community as the target audience. I like greenfield thinking, starting from a blank sheet and working with the latest technologies. I was lucky, because when I arrived at Belnet, no project methodology or PMO department had yet been created. My first project was tearing down and rebuilding the Bruges PoP (Point of Presence) in one night.'
  • In which project did you really feel you made a difference?
    • 'One project that I myself learned a tremendous amount from and also look back on very positively is the move to the current WTCIII building. Especially in the area of Change Management, that was an eye-opener. Moving things is not a big deal, but moving people and, in addition, having them sit in open plan offices instead of closed offices requires a very different approach. My projects were often of a cross-cutting nature, such as the Unified Communications project, launching Circuit, just before COVID-19 and mandatory work from home took hold, rolling out MS365, you name it!'
  • How have you seen your position as Project Manager and the organisation itself evolve over the years?
    • 'The position of Project Manager is one in which everyone has their own style. I personally like to build something with a team, I love to learn and prefer to work with people and ideas. As a Project Manager, I often work with people from across the organisation, and due to changes at the organisational level, my own role has also taken a different shape. For example, in the past you had to rely much more on the personal commitment and intrinsic motivation of colleagues in projects, whereas today things are much more structured and procedural, so commitment is almost built in. I have also seen the organisation grow significantly and professionalise in terms of internal and external communication.'
  • How do you feel about ending your career at Belnet?
    • 'I am glad to have worked at Belnet for the last seven years of my career because of the stability and knowledge I have gained. Belnet has taught me how the federal entities work together, how the government works, what steps you need to take to obtain something.'
  • What impact is impending retirement having on you so far?
    • 'For me, mainly, there is a growing realisation that a lot of the people around me, friends and family, are also ageing and that it is important to be there for each other and spend time together. No more saying you will do things later, but just do them. Apart from that, I will mainly be enjoying my grandchildren, taking more time to finish chores at home and travelling for longer periods of time. I will certainly miss the daily interactions and joking around with colleagues from ITSM, Networks, CR, ICT, PMO, etc. That creates breathing room, for example in more stressful periods.'
  • Finally, what would you like to wish your colleagues at Belnet?
    • 'First of all, good luck with the WAN projects! I also believe that BeQCI represents a great opportunity for Belnet, and that such opportunities will continue to come. I have always found my colleagues to be helpful and sympathetic, in short: I have always felt welcome everywhere, so it would be great to be able to keep that feeling in the future!'
  • We wish you a wonderful period, full of time and energy to do what you love most!
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