Sunday, July 23, 2017

that special feeling


Remember I wrote about a new and interesting project I accepted in the beginning of the year? But also a project that initially left a bad aftertaste due to financial reasons - I'm a freelancer not a serf, and seriously, if companies don't pay reasonable money to the ones that actually do the very job in the end, us freelancers, then that will never ever be good practice or decent behaviour, is that really what your company wants to stand for?

That said, to not be engulfed in the financial resentment of not being reasonably paid - which have and will happen to us all one way or another sooner or later - I've decided to always, always look at it as an opportunity to learn new things, grow and be a more well-rounded (professional) person, add skills to the CV and not least do a great job before I move on. Because badly paid or not, moving on is the fabulous option at the end of a gig we freelancers have, we're rarely bound to any lengthy contracts.

So what have I done these past few months then, part time? Well, I've been contracted subconsultant in the role of career coach for international talents. An integration project specifically targeting immigrants from different backgrounds and countries with the common denominator being they have an academic degree.

I've put in lots and lots of hours, I've been moved, nagging, hopeful, annoyed, impressed, angry and very happy. But for the financial reasons it has been a fantastic learning and growth experience. And as it turned out, surprisingly enough, also a great way to make a real difference both in a single person's life as well as in society. Noone can change everything but we can all make something change for the better.

The heartwarming outcome for one of my participants - an electrical engineer from the African continent - has been that after finishing his 12 weeks traineeship, at a large Swedish corporate group that's also one of Europe's leading generators of electricity, he has been offered a permanent position with them.

Which made me so incredibly happy to hear. And not least seriously proud to be a part of the process. The company itself, or rather the employees I've been in contact with, have also impressed me a lot, their honest solution orientation, getting people on board in the project and openness. Kind of blown away about it all actually.

To be a subconsultant is obviously not financially sustainable, but I will forever be grateful for this experience. And the people I've met, the stories I've listened to, it has made me into a better human being. And made a real difference. On so many levels.

I've always seen myself as a champion for animals and animal rights - because those rights are intricately linked to women's rights and human rights (and not least sustainability), I just wish more people could connect those darn dots by now! - and obviously deeply concerned about environmental issues, climate change and sustainability.

But as much as I know integration is an important issue that hasn't been taken very seriously for decades - and look what that's led us - I've never, for various reasons, seen myself as someone working with such matters. Nor have I seen it as a sustainability issue, but I've come to realise social sustainability is equally important to environmental sustainability, without either we can't have a stable and sound society and world. Or a healthy future, if there's still a chance of that.

I don't know where the road will lead me from here on, professionally and privately, but I'm open and expectant for whatever exciting things, opportunities and people that will cross my path. And again, so very grateful to have been a part of this. Turned out I was pretty great at connecting with the right kind of people and doing a job I'd never even concidered. And somehow this experience has tickled my ol' lawyer-gene and background. Who knew.

And that special feeling? Well, that's the magic blend of stepping outside your comfort zone, learning new things while applying your skills, doing a great job, meeting new, interesting people, making a real difference working with others, being a part of something more hands on substantial than writing web copy, content or managing social media channels. Even if its always rewarding with satisfied customers, and fun tasks, I have to admit that so far those assignments haven't touched my soul in quite the same way as this one did.

This was simply rewarding on a whole other level. And that's a warm and fuzzy feeling I want more of in my professional life. Though from here on, accompanied by a reasonable payment, thank you very much, Future.

Yours truly with gratitude,
P

Thursday, July 13, 2017

hello emotional flooding


Who knew active work with the grief recovery process would open up a veritable flooding of emotions? As if I wasn't an (over)analyzing person before, now my mind is on some crazy overdrive with thoughts and feelings everywhere. I know it'll be all good in the end, but current status: exhausted. Mainly. When I'm not feeling exhilarated and expectant or wistful and blue.

Just before this summer's period with substitute buses for the commuter trains begun - 

three years in a row, hopefully this will be that last year... It's been such a stressful hassle, and I haven't even been forced to commute for a job every day. This summer it basically means a journey from door to door takes double the time ie for me getting to the city takes about 2 hours. Which is just crazy. So as much as I'd love to just take the train to the fair capital and enjoy unpretentious walks, views and fika I can't stand the hassle so unless I have booked meetings I need to attend my city trips will be very scarce until the trains are on again on August 14. Which means I have  a  l o t of time with my brain as my company alone this summer (as last year)... Hooray -

it was an intense period of meetings and meaningful conversations. It felt like a great idea to cram in as much as possible of that before the substitute period/most people's holidays begun. In hindsight perhaps it wasn't a very wise move.

Life right now is like a bowl of summer strawberries - some juicy and sweet making me go all week at the knees, others sour with a bitter tang and some are even moudly and inedible. But the overall impression is sweet and delicious, I think.

My intuition and gut feelings are stronger than ever, but at the same time I'm not really comfortable following their every instinct. What I am comfortable doing is saying no to things my intuition says is not for me. I'm working on becoming comfortable in saying yes more often. And being more proactive in certain situations - but that's scary...

Stronger and more determined for every day - except for the blue days, but they shall always pass - I'm just incredibly grateful for so many beings and things I've had, have and will have in my life.

Referring to my last post and the internet dating thing - that isn't me at all but one must brave one's prejudices now and then. My experiences so far (which have made me think of a making a podcast on the subject):

:: The first site I tried has continued to disappoint and entertain (because it's so poorly user experience designed). With few exceptions the men seem obsessively interested in sports, training and drinking wine, intellectual interests are far and few apart. Add to that bad selfies and badly written profiles. 

As I have no interest in paying for the *service* I can't search for vegans/vegetarians which is my basic criteria. I have also purposefully written my profile in a way that's either pretty scary or intriguing. The only one who has dared to contact me so far was a very short guy who had pictures of himself drinking supersized champagne bottles. I. Can't. Even. 

I have no interest whatsoever in depicting myself as a graceful damsel in distress-like woman with no real views or values of importance. Of course I don't have a sign around my neck irl with all my views and preferences/demands, I'm actually quite easy to talk to and grown up enough to realise you can't mould someone into some ideal person that tick your every dream box. But really, some basic standards isn't too much to ask for and if you can't be really clear about who you are and what you're looking for (in a way that some might find intimidating, no pun intended) on a dating site, then when can you?

I'm not desperate, I'm discerning. And will forever continue to be.

:: I then remembered there's a dating site for vegans/vegetarians, perhaps that would be a better bet? 

It turned out to be a like a chat room for teenagers and full of pimply 20 something guys. I deleted my profile after five minutes.

:: There's a dating site that actually has a rather cute TV commerical, well, might as well try that one too while I'm at it.

That was a mistake. In fact it was truly scary. About five seconds after I had registered a profil with a photo it had a gazillion visitors, messages, flirts and likes. So many desperate men (or stalkers) looking for love, who knew. I must have lived a very sheltered life. The experience was so creepy I promptly deleted the profile.

As this experience so far has surpassed my every prejudice my only conclusion is that I was right, it isn't for me. And it will never be. I'm sure it suits some, their stars align and that's just lovely. The answer to most everything is love. But the answer on how to find it differs. Which is great, because how boring would life be if we all looked for meaningful relationships in the same way, in the same places?

Next blog post - job related. Promise.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

the grief recovery process


Hi, hello, long time no blog.

And again so much, yet so little, has happened I don't know where to start really. But I suppose the most important thing I've done since we last met online is that I'm doing grief recovery in a small group. Turned out it was both really difficult to find a good tip on grief counsellors and they were really expensive. And in order to get a therapist that is connected to the public health care system (ie you only pay a fixed sum) you first had to go see a doctor to get a referal. A lengthy, emotional process to get there.

And then a friend suggested I'd connect with her former manager who had experience in this. To cut a longer story short I'm now doing much of the work myself and then we meet in this group and talk, listen, cry and laugh together with the help of my friend's former manager as the guide. It's so cathartic. We're going through the grief recovery process with help of "The Grief Recovery Handbook", we're half way through it and will reconvene in August after the summer holidays.

I never ever thought I'd enjoy (possibly not the right word here, but "find it useful" sounds too dull and unengaging) group sessions, talking about deeply private and intimate things, some of which I've never told anyone before. But I think 4 people is just the right number for it.

Friends and my mother have commented I'm looking more relaxed and open since I began with this. And I have to say I'm feeling much calmer. And the strange thing is that I discover things about myself and why I act, react, do and feel things the way I do in life in general through this process. I'm getting much more out of it than the grief recovery itself. Which is amazing.

When it comes to work I've accomplished a lot of things, but not as much as I would have liked. I still worry about my finances and am still looking for that brilliant part time job. Not a lot you can do about it over the summer though, in Sweden, where pretty much everything closes down in July. Especially one work thing I've accomplished, as part of a project, has made me truly happy. It deserves a post of its own - and will hopefully be written in a not too distant future.

With all this recent and current liberating of emotions and thoughts, talking with friends about relationships and what the future might (hopefully) hold I did something today I've sworn I'd never do - I've signed up to a match making site. I see it as part of a study process of human behaviour and not really something that suits me.

But every decision you make move life forward, one way or the other.

I'm open to meeting new people, of course, but I'm not really open to dating yet. I'm not sure I'll ever be. It just feels like a really awkward thing to do. But feel free to laugh about it. I know I have, when I've looked through all the so called matches of men that has been lined up for me.

Seriously, after all the questionnaires I filled in, after being VERY clear with the importance of vegan, vegetarian, sustainability, animal rights values, these are the men your algorithms match me with.

If this is what the world has to offer I will be forever single. 

Or quite possibly the best people, my kind of people, as I suspect, don't use dating sites. I'm just too opinionated and strong-willed to have any "success" at this, too odd. And that's fine, adapting and compromising too much would not make me (or anyone else) happy.

The best thing about this though is that when I read through my eloquently written - compared to the well-educated guys in my age group that apparently haven't bothered about writing since they graduated high school - descriptions, I kind of fall in love with myself instead. I'm just a quirky adorable person, with amazing values and pretty decent writing skills.

And I believe in magic, serendipity and when the time, place and person is right it just happens.

At least I got a good laugh from it all, and confirmation of my suspicions/prejudices. I will now continue with the grief recovery process, my part-time job hunt and being as happy as I can be with just amazing me, myself and I. And the fabulous felines.
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