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Archive for the tag “profession”

Culinary art

https://tallypress.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/malaysia-top-10-cooking-classes.jpgEating is a necessity, but cooking is an art”, and like any profession, hobby or job even, no-one is born great at it, you learn by doing.

Jonathan wanted to be a chef since he saw his grandmother use a whisk to prepare his favourite cookie dough. Until his early teenage years, he never really questioned where this sublimely tasting mixture came from. But once he saw how it was prepared, he wanted to learn the secret so he could “always have abundance”. That’s the problem with us humans: we always want more.

He slowly found that cooking relaxed and calmed him. It was a mindful act that produced something worthwhile in the end, and he loved the compliments he received for the end produce.

He discovered that he could make his food as healthy, as sweet, as spicy, as exotic and as imaginative as he liked. Because in his kitchen, he was in charge. What was most exciting about it all, is that, sometimes, even food had an image, a memory, a story to associate with it. And that was one additional thing that brought people together.

Jonathan became a chef. And he realised that the secret ingredient to every recipe, just like in life, was to do whatever you did with love and passion.

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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 Journalistic Hunger Games

460475_journalismA taxi driver on our way to my destination one day told me that “journalism is a dirty job”. He said that journalists today must be “part of the system in order to succeed – to say one thing, think another, and do another. They are disgraceful”. And I was left wondering since when this occupation – one of the most wonderful and most important there are, ended up being thought of as inferior, non-profitable and “dirty”.

A graffiti in an EU country stated that a democracy is only as good as its journalists. Yet today almost everyone agrees that journalism worldwide has deteriorated. And this is not only due to the rise of social media, blogs and the widespread use of the Internet where everyone feels that they are qualified to write (about) anything. It is also because the quality of journalism has significantly declined. When articles published are badly written, lack information, are misspelled and without any syntax, how will journalism provide a good example to the masses?

One of the basic principles of journalism is that it will offer citizens the truth no matter the circumstances, and in a clear and simple way. Without destroying values, or taking a stance for or against an issue. This is the way it should be – the simple, unadorned, and unexaggerated truth.

So many journalists sacrifice their life for this exact principle – for the citizen’s right to proper information. In 2013 at least 70 journalists were killed in the line of duty, while in only the three first months of 2014, another 15 have already been killed. A profession for which people risk their lives should undoubtedly be respected. But just as in every other case, respect is something to be earned.

The so much bad journalism that exists today negates any good examples that still remain. And when people are more interested in the lives of “celebrities”, then journalism inevitably stoops down a level, with journalists themselves now becoming part of a profession that is not thought of as highly.

Of course, the fact that journalism is among those jobs where the worker is occupied long hours without a proper schedule, no real holidays or overtime, and receives a meagre salary, does not help at all. And in addition, journalists themselves are often scorned. For example, in high-level meetings such as Eurogroup and Ecofin Councils where the elite of governments, financial organisations and other officials gather to hold discussions and conferences, journalists are the ones who spend twelve-hours a day at the press centre trying to communicate to the people in a simple and coherent way what exactly is going on. Yet, they are often faced with insufficient space in which to work, weak Internet connections, and even lack of food. They are often treated as people of an inferior class, just like many employees, or at least all those who do not have a fancy title giving access to the relevant luxury that comes with. It is as if these employees and the other officials are separated into an “upstairs” and a “downstairs” clan. Journalists have to strive to earn their living (and their food), working hours on end in adverse conditions, while officials, delegates and “VIPs” freely enjoy luxurious lunches, extravagant dinners, and even exclusive (free) guided tours.

If journalism’s real purpose is to reveal corruption scandals for example, then ideally it should be clear of such issues itself. A bad name comes out of a bad example given. But it is now time for journalism and its employees to deservedly revive the glory that they lost long ago.

Beyond the horizon

beyond-the-event-horizonMartina always dreamt of being a travel writer. She felt that this was the one profession that truly encompassed her two greatest passions and for this her job would never mean work. “Choose a job that you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. The motto she lived by. Confucius was a smart man.

But eight years after graduation she was stuck in a job far from this. Addicted to high quality results and striving for the best she can be, she was often caught in an inextricable loop of exploitation, un-appreciation, and low pay. And worst of all, she was simply locked in an office.

Yet one day, she took the chance. After hitting the ‘send’ button and hearing her resignation email swish to its recipient, she packed up a bag and drove to the airport. Brazil sounded enticing this time of year. And it was as good a time as ever to go exploring…

Never before had she witnessed a culture, a mentality, and a way of life so different to hers. Taking a leap to change everything seemed so scary every time she thought about it. Yet when she finally took the chance, when she decided to break down the walls that were holding her back, she felt liberated. And the sights she witnessed before her – the azure gushing waterfalls, the jade-green of wilderness, the rhythm of life that appeared as if music was playing in the streets – it all made her heart melt at the thought that this was the life she longed for.

And now, this was it. For the first time in her life she was doing what she wanted. Living by her own rules, her own schedule, and making a living out of her own work and accomplishments.

I am not going to continue the story by saying that suddenly everything disappeared and Martina woke up in her office again after returning to reality, because I don’t know if that is true. I leave it up to you to imagine what is real and what is not. For it is true that when you do take a chance to change your life in an instant, you will be rewarded simply for taking the plunge into the unknown…

 

Also part of Trifecta Writing Challenge – the prompt word was melt (transitive verb):
3:  to make tender or gentle :  soften

Also part of Daily Prompt: If You Leave              

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