MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “career”

What we seek

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There is a saying that if we seek something that same thing is seeking us. But, is this even true?

Because what is it that we’re really looking for?

We ourselves are unsure of what we want, what we’re searching, what we long for. We’ve created a world so complex and uncertain that nothing seems to be enough to make us feel complete. Be it love, happiness, money, career, or just calm, there is no real answer we can give.

The most certain thing is that we find it so easy to whine and nag about anything and everything. Like that childish game of crying it out until what you want is given to you. But the real world does not work that way. And we have a hard time comprehending that.

Perhaps humans don’t have the capacity to manage so much information at one time. Even during multitasking, there is something that lacks in quality. We seem to be running around in multiple directions, often without a concrete or clear purpose, that we end up neither living in the present nor planning for the future.

Our existence only gains purpose if we have a clear sense of what we’re doing now.

But we tend to overlook that.

And that’s where the problem starts.

The avalanche mounting behind the door

http://www.snowcollegenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/avalanche.fraktik.com_.jpegOn the nights he slept over at his grandmother’s, Seth was always tucked into bed with the goodnight wish that “the brightest things would come to him when he least expected them.” His grandmother explained that that is when he would appreciate them the most. Seth never did understand what she meant. Until he grew up and turned 34.

Seth had become close friends with Murphy. This guy had a global law named after him, which was the embodiment of the phrase “when it rains, it pours”. Seth knew it well. Despite wanting to believe what his grandmother had insisted on instilling in him – that all the proper things come and find you at the right time – he refused to believe that nothing good ever stayed with him.

At 27, he was still living with his parents, scraping by, working as a waiter at a nearby café because he could not find any paying work in his university-degree sector of engineering.

At 29, he broke up with his long-term girlfriend because she could no longer take his uncertainty, his pessimism and his lack of ambition. She was the type who believed there was nothing wrong with trying to reach further than you could see. Seth was the type who needed glasses to see the end of his fingertips.

At 32, a major crisis struck. Seth was going through what most people experience at some point in their lives – reminiscing of how everything used to be simpler when we were younger, of how nothing turned out the way you expected, and of how the future looks so bleak, you don’t see anything worth fighting for anymore.

But that is when things began to change.

When he thought that everything would simply continue downhill.

An executive officer of a multinational corporation walked into the aforementioned café one day. Seth was the one to serve him, but having seen him numerous times there, he suggested exactly what the businessman wanted to order. Frequent customers usually have fixed preferences. The businessman was having a rough day, and was encouraged by the smile on Seth’s face and the kindness with which he was approached. The small talk while the coffee was being prepared turned into an invite to an interview, which two days later became a work offer.

Two years later, it was Seth who was in charge of his own department, drinking coffee with the businessman, instead of serving him.

And that was when he remembered his grandmother’s words. Because he had settled the career issue, but what about the relationships phase? He had met all sorts of women during the years: the crazy ones who checked your phone when you went to the bathroom; the really crazy ones who also checked your pockets and bags; the insane ones who would freak out if they saw you with another woman; the ones who didn’t really care because they were already cheating on you; and, of course, the right ones at the wrong time, who were already in other relationships. He would return home and feel alone. Even Heather, his Siamese cat had befriended the Tomcat from next door. His mind ran back to Esther. She was for him “the one that got away”. He believed everyone had one such person. But come night, he would remember a story his grandmother used to tell him, that when souls were created, they split in half when they fell to Earth, and ever since people spend their entire lives trying to find their other half. Seth was overcome by grief and longing for Esther, but could not sum up the courage to call her. So many years had passed, she would certainly have moved on.

There are times when in life, nothing happens, and then when you finally find the door to open, events come pouring onto you like an avalanche.

That is what happened with Seth. When one night the phone rang, and the answer to his curious “hello?” was a soft trembling voice he knew too well, stating “it’s me”.

Career Nomads and Freelancers: Striving to Create a Future

Career nomads - freelancersThere is a popular saying that “when things don’t go right, go left”. How many times recently have we all thought of turning to another direction? With the increasing difficulty people of all ages today face in finding a job, a different trend is on the rise – that of career nomads, and freelancers. All hoping for a better future.

Tereza worked for big public relations companies for almost 20 years before she resigned and decided to go freelance three years ago. She regrets nothing. This has today become a growing tendency — people quitting their jobs to go independent and become self-employed. The unfavourable working conditions simply make the decision easier. “It is no longer a choice but an unavoidable outcome of the crisis,” explains Tereza. “Many people have to work freelance as there is not enough full-time (and even part-time) job creation on a global level to sustain a growing job market”.

And it is true. In countries like Greece and Spain, where unemployment has sky-rocketed, people have been forced to rethink their necessities, priorities and habits. It has encouraged more and more people to become freelancers, as they cannot find a job in a company. But this also means that they will probably be uninsured and only get paid if they have a client who will pay them. People no longer think about saving up for the future, but of having enough money for today.

In freelancing, there is no guarantee as to when the next assignment will come up,” says Tereza. “Another important disadvantage is that a freelancer has no medical coverage or other social benefits.” But there are also very important advantages pertaining to this type of employment, she adds. These include flexible working hours, the freedom to choose who to work with and what projects to take, as well as the fact that you do not have to be physically present in an office.

Making the leap

Nick followed a similar path. After a decade working in a private energy company, it was sold. Drowning in bureaucracy with limited chances of career development, he decided to go freelance, making good use of all the contacts he had gathered in the course of time. Now he works on a project-basis but is happier. He gets to determine his own work and time schedule, and most importantly, choose his own clients. “It’s more rewarding to work for yourself,” he says, “but it is also tougher.”

Things are not as easy for someone starting off as a freelancer, though. Tina, a graphic designer and recent graduate, is new to the labour market with only the experience of a few internships. She is striving to find independent projects to work for, but not having the necessary contacts to move ahead, she is still struggling to be given a chance.

Finding fullfillment

Yet, people feel the need to change careers in order to find a job, find a more fulfilling profession and gain enough money to make a decent living.

After working in communications for over seven years, Dominic decided to take a step in a different direction. He went back to school to study architecture, what he “always wanted to do, what he would enjoy, and what he could do well”, but was discouraged out of fear of not finding a job later on. “What difference does it make now?” he wonders, as unemployment has spread to all sectors of the labour market.

But what really urges someone to make such a radical change? “I was tired — of the hours, the workload, the tight deadlines, lack of time off, the political scene, of nothing ever getting done. And because my health could no longer take this pace,” he explains. “So, I decided it is time for a change. To slow down, do something more creative, something that I wouldn’t have the pressure of a big organisation in, and have greater flexibility and more time to take care of myself and those I care about. Even maybe work for myself instead of a company — no one seems to be hiring anyway.”

Eternal career nomads?

We have become career nomads. Moving along with the changing tides, with the hope of maybe landing a job that may guarantee some sort of pay, no matter how low that may be.

Maybe in the future I will do something entirely different again — I don’t know. But I know that when I stop enjoying something or cannot take it anymore, and have the luxury to change things, I should try,” says Dominic with a smile, as his eyes gleam with the exciting prospect of this change.

People’s main concern today is how to pay the many taxes that have been imposed per capita, how to ensure a daily meal and how to simply get by. Thoughts about pensions are now minimal, at least for youth. Uncertainty is the emotion of this time and there is no feeling of security left. But there certainly is some optimism remaining and the perseverance to keep fighting for something better. “My main concern is to live a life that is fulfilling, satisfying and makes me happy and calm,” says Dominic. But perhaps it is no longer enough simply to change profession. We need to change mentality, too. As individuals, as nationals and as Europeans. Only then, will we be able to change society towards the better and create a future worth aspiring for.

 

This article was first published on Cafébabel.com and translated in French, Spanish, Italian, German and Polish.

The truth you’ll never know

icebergIt’s hard to be perfect. No matter if it is just keeping up the appearance of being faultless.

Joseph knew it well. All his life he was trying to prove himself to others – even to his family and friends. That he was different. That he wasn’t like the rest of the guys out there. He had something special boiling up inside him and was striving to find a way to let it out. All amidst friendly mockery and criticism that he took on like a clown – with a smile on the outside and a frown inside.

But he never told anyone about this. Not even Alicia. He just wanted her to be happy. He was happy as long as she was. And that was all that mattered.

At least that was how he felt. Most of the time.

They were both trying to get ahead in their careers. Alicia had motivated him to reach higher. But it seemed that no matter what they did, no matter how many applications they sent, no matter how much networking they did, nothing seemed to work. There was no window opening up. Not even a mouse-hole.

And at work it all seemed to pile up. He was getting more and more jobs assigned to him, which of course he could do given his extraordinary skills, but under normal circumstances it would take another two people to share the tasks. Yet no matter how efficiently and accurately he responded to his obligations, there always seemed to be someone coming back and asking for more.

Alicia was at her limits too, as she was facing a similar situation at work and was being suffocated under never-ending workloads that seemed to proliferate instead of decrease.

Joseph had to listen to her complain, while she tried to console him when his turn came to externalize his agitation.

But one day, Joseph felt something was wrong. He woke up with a numbness in his feet and stumbled on the way to the bathroom. Something that had never happened before. He didn’t tell Alicia. There was no need to make her worry.

The doctor he immediately saw told him that unfortunately they detected a genetic mutation that caused an unforeseen illness to develop. Something that would require extensive, prolonged and continuous treatment.

Joseph felt the ground from under his feet disappear. He could feel the blood flushing out of his brain and rushing to his heart, which was beating like a drum. Cold sweat trickled down his spine, as he attempted to remain conscious. He could hear all his dreams shatter right in front of him. Right at that moment. Because everything would be different now.

At work, it was just another tedious day with demands piling up and everyone nagging about each other. It was bad enough he had his company to worry about, Alicia wanted to lash out on someone about her own ordeal.

And that was the moment he cracked. The moment when he felt it was better to behave like a jackass and get her to move away from him than make her suffer with him this unexpected future. It was easier to be the guy she hated. The person who did not deserve her. To make her see that she deserved better. It was better to break his own heart into a thousand pieces than force her to change her own dreams for his sake. For a future that no-one knew what it would bring and how.

Alicia ran away from him, with the image of a prince turning into a beast in her head.

And Joseph, he closed up inside his shell, hoping that one day she would understand – that he loved her so much, he let her go.

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