The Times They Are A-Changin: My IBM Corporate Service Corps Story

Ryan recently completed his IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) assignment in Jujuy, Argentina. In this blog, he shares why this has been one of the most impactful work experiences he has ever had.

The IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC) is a highly competitive leadership development program that sends IBM employees to countries in emerging markets to address high-priority issues such as education, health, and economic development. This philanthropic initiative enables them to share their business expertise with not-for-profit organizations.

By Ryan Mancinelli

“Come gather ’round people, wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come writers and critics who prophesies with your pen
And keep your eyes wide, the chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon for the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’.
For the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’.
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’.

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
And don’t criticize what you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’.

Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

The line it is drawn, the curse it is cast

The slow one now, will later be fast
As the present now will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’.
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.”

– Bob Dylan

Life is a funny thing. None of us asked to be born. None of us asked to live as human beings on this planet we call Earth that revolves around a ball of fire in a vast and infinite nothingness we call “space.” Yet at the same time, none of us truly wish for this life to end. The pursuit of an abstract happiness and sense of fulfillment and purpose keeps us moving, keeps us getting out of bed in the morning, keeps us from giving up.

As a child, I learned at a very young age what it means to die. In the simplest of terms, death is the opposite of life; for a young boy it means “mommy isn’t ever coming back.” Since that time, I have been determined to experience all that life has to offer with a smile on my face, no matter the difficulty, no matter the criticism, no matter the political climate. Why? Because I know it’s what my mother wanted for me. I know that waking up in the morning is not guaranteed, this life is precious, fragile, fleeting, wonderful, and terrifying and awesome and … well … it’s hard to describe isn’t it?

Finding Purpose In What We Do

Often in our everyday careers, it can be difficult to find true purpose. We say things to ourselves like, “What impact do I even have?” or “Does this project really help anyone?” The IBM Corporate Service Corps program answers all of these questions and more. Our projects have direct impact on the community we serve and provide assistance to those in need. We spend our days discovering and developing solutions to real problems our friends in Jujuy face, knowing that they depend on us to deliver what we promised. It’s equally frightening and fulfilling, terrifying and terrific.

RyanRyan.pngFor four weeks this past Spring, I was in the company of some of the most talented, educated, kind, and fun people I ever could have imagined encountering. What a blessing it was to be in Jujuy, a small province in the Northwest of Argentina near the borders of Bolivia and Chile, working on projects that directly impact the lives of those most in need; our fellow passengers on spaceship Earth. Even though we come from different countries, different cultures, different continents, and different religions, our common bond of humanity has brought us together. In such a short period of time, we became a family; a family that eats together, laughs together, cries together and works hard to help those we have promised to assist.

At a time when the world seems fractured, this CSC assignment welcomed us with open arms and brought us all together. We live in a world governed by politics, fear, greed and anger. Yet, because of this program, we have been reminded that we also live in a world of kindness, compassion, empathy and, most importantly, love. It is my opinion that the universe lives inside of each of us. We dream, we hope, we aspire, we discover … we have been lost in the darkness searching for the light and, little by little, we are finding our way out of the tunnel.

Rethinking Food Banks in Jujuy

In the spring of 2017, our team worked with the Food Bank of Jujuy to serve a dual purpose: to increase awareness of their services and to design a dedicated application to limit inefficiencies in the organization’s processes. As a team, we used our collective knowledge to enable them to meet their goal of tripling the number of people they serve each month.

Relationships and Experiences to Last a Lifetime

I consider myself to be incredibly lucky to have met so many friends of a common mind, all of us here trying to give back to a world that has given so much to us. Every member of the team has taught me something new, helped me grow, steered me in a new direction, made me into a better man. When what we read on the internet and see on television would have us divided and remind us of our differences, this experience has reminded us of what truly matters, the things we have in common, what makes us human and brings us all together. Thank you for joining me in this journey – I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be “stuck” with.

We have visited so many beautiful places our eyes had never seen before. We have eaten food our tongues had never tasted before. We have listened in a language most of us cannot speak. We have been touched by this experience and will be changed, for the better, forever.

Thank you to our amazing hosts, translators, program directors and our company, IBM, for seeing through the haze of our modern existence and allowing us to experience the world in a way none of us could have ever imagined.

Each of us went there for a different reason, but all of us left with a shared understanding of what this program was really all about. We have grown as people, developed new skills, recharged our batteries … but more than that, we have seen the power of humanity. We have seen what happens when we work together, when we help each other … and that, my friends, is what it’s all about.

So yes, Mr. Dylan, ‘The Times They Are A-Changin,” and we are going to be just fine.

Check out the team’s CSC blog where they share their life-changing experience in Jujuy, Argentina.

 Ryan is an HR Talent Partner based in California, USA.

Take some time to read the experiences of some other IBMers during their #IBMCSC assignment across the globe here.

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