An isolated islander - Francesco, Ischia

08/31/2015 - 01:30 PM

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The story of Francesco, Network technician at Open Access, Telecom Italia, who lives and works in Ischia

Welcome to the island of Ischia. No, that is not the title of a film or the beginning of a tourist spot. It is a greeting, a welcome smile for those who, by reading these few words, will take a look at my story.
My name is Francesco, I am 36 years old, I'm a technician at Telecom Italia, and I live and work in Ischia. Yes. The island.
Before you may think "Ah, then you're on vacation all year round!", let me tell you a little bit about me, my life, and my work.

I was born here, in this little corner of the sea, between thermal waters and extinct volcanoes, where apart from the hobby of music and some scuba diving when I have time, I work as a technician. Indeed, now I AM the technician. I am the one you see passing-by during summer in a Panda while you are at beach and you think "look, a technician, who knows what a beautiful life they have here", while I, all sweaty, hot and tired, am working under the sun, maybe I'm going to restore the 4G connection of your tablet, so much for life on vacation.
All that glitters is not gold. This small island, my island, lives on personal relationships; I'm not saying that we all know each other, Ischia has about 62,000 residents, but in any case, the contact with a friend, with a friendly neighbour, at the café where everyone knows your name, and where anyone invites you for a coffee, is still rooted in the social fabric, an essential element of everyone's life as well as of my day.

In the eyes of those who know me I have become what I do. That is why my job is steeped in that and draws from relations with others its lifeblood, the stimulus to move forward every day.
Working in contact with the customer, entering day by day in their homes, fixing their problems, and smiling both when I leave, believe me, is a great satisfaction. The bond between my work and my private life is very close: becoming the "telephone" contact point for those who know me even outside the working area is unavoidable, as it is inevitable that my private life suffers the consequences of the job I do.
Not that everything is so easy, of course:  more than once I've found a client outside my home at 8 a.m., waiting for me to get out so as to express their complaints directly to me, or sometimes even to my parents at the supermarket, a few other times even while I am already wearing my wet suit and scuba tanks, ready for diving.
Once they even rang my bell on a Sunday, while I was going out of the house. This is the other side of the coin: the privacy of a Telecom Italia technician who works where he lives is often minimal, and every problem customers have with the company, they have it with me, since I represent it, I'm the face of it, even after the regular working hours.
Here in Ischia, I am Telecom Italia, I am the one who can solve the problem. Compared to a big city, where sometimes residents of the same building hardly greet each other, here the interweaving of private life and work is strong, unbreakable. I am practically married to Telecom Italia…
And after all the island isn't so small: 46 square kilometres of beautiful coastline, nestled around the mount Epomeo, which is about 800 meters above sea level. The third most populous island after Sicily and Sardinia. Because of its shape, here we have both the sea and the mountains.
What does that have to do with my job? Well, in a single day I can go to a sea-side restaurant on the beach, and immediately after to a holiday farm in the mountains (with 42 poles to check…).
Once I even worked in a lighthouse: what is certain is that thanks to my job I can enjoy enchanting landscapes and views. People are surprised that we need a 4X4 car, but in fact, there are places that you can hardly reach without it: in winter you may have to do a work at night under the snow, and the day after in a seaside hotel. The island shapes the way I work with its infinite contradictions, with its narrow alleys and the roads wet from the winter sea. It's nice to often see different landscapes, it's less nice to have to handle the car between mountains roads and narrow streets where we are barely able to pass, and they are also two-way traffic. But I am used to it.

What is the greatest advantage of living here? Speed. Neither too fast nor too slow. Everything runs on a human scale, there is no such chaos as in the city, but at the same time people do not drag about listless. A fair balance for those who, like me, have  high productivity standards and want to always reach them, trying to compromise as little as possible the quality of their lives.
The greater value today is time, and I feel I employ it well, solving customers' small problems. Sometimes I feel the need to run away from a place where everyone knows me, where everyone has something to ask me, where everyone has a problem that they think I can solve, where everyone I met can't let me go without asking me anything, but at the end of each day I find myself richer inside, often tired because I gave 120%, but happy because in the end, a piece of Telecom Italia, is also my own, and for good reasons.

What else to tell you more…
When you are at the beach and you bump into another Telecom Italia Panda, think about this little glimpse on my life and my work. You will find yourself saying "Look, a technician! Thanks to his work I can surf with my tablet when I'm on holiday"
I'm Francesco, I'm 36 years old, and I'm a Telecom Italia technical from Ischia.
Welcome to my life. May I offer you a coffee?