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Why I Dared To Be the First Employee of a New Company in Serbia

Živojin Đorđević, Team Lead

The demand for IT staff is growing day by day. Usually, the more experienced people are, the harder it is for them, and they often don’t want to change employers. Such people have been working in one system for years – they know the structure, the people, the projects. In a way, everything has become part of a routine, so there is no need for change. The question is how to convince such a person to become an employee of a company that is just starting to develop in Serbia.

When I was first contacted by Serengeti, I was a bit suspicious. I wasn’t sure whether they were looking for someone for the short term or if they actually wanted to develop and become a serious part of the IT scene in Kragujevac and in Serbia. Fortunately for me, after our first conversation, all my doubts were cleared. I realized that our ambitions match and that I do want to become a part of the story of a company like this in Serbia.

While I was researching Serengeti, I learned that since 2007 their successful business has grown to over 150 developers in Zagreb, Bjelovar and Varaždin. Year after year, the company managed to win awards for its development, growth and relationship with both customers and employees. The company was recently recognized as one of the Top 5 B2B companies in Croatia.

During the selection process, I had the opportunity to meet Helena, Zoran and Nenad, and I witnessed a family atmosphere in the company where employees really do come first and where everyone works with the goal of helping the company develop through personal development.

In addition to the typical nearshoring model of working with clients, I learned that the company is also developing its own product with the help of which it will accelerate the development of client applications, which showed that Serengeti is indeed thinking long-term about its development and constantly looking for new ways of improving business.

I was convinced that Serengeti is the right company for me, and I realized that there is a shared desire to develop and build a serious and long-term story. I was drawn by the notion of a new company that will initially have little effect on people in Serbia, but which is part of a large family that decided to expand from Croatia. I was glad that they chose Kragujevac as their starting point.

First days in Serengeti

My first days in Serengeti were surprisingly easy. I saw that everyone in Serengeti has their own responsibilities and that there is no way someone cannot achieve something because they have too many responsibilities. From the very beginning, Nataša, Matija and Ante made sure that I felt like I had been part of the company for a couple of years, not just a few days.

After getting to know the company’s culture and landing my first project, I was greeted by colleagues who tried to make it as easy as possible for me to get used to the project. At no point did I feel like I was competing with them, but like I was a full member of a team in which everyone was trying to help and looking at the problem from a different perspective. It’s a pity that the current situation does not allow us to travel, but we are planning a gathering as soon as possible. Anton, Davor, Marko and Matej are great, and I feel like I've been working with them for 4 years, not just 4 months.

In the end, to become the first Serengeti employee in Serbia was one of the best decisions I could have made, and definitely the best decision for my own development. I am grateful to everyone who, from the very beginning, made me feel part of a large company and a family in which people come first.

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