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,

EDIT: On July 26 I had my very last project meeting with my last participant from Syria - the outcome was just as happy as for the electrical engineer, he got a job offer! This time in hotel management and booking in the largest Swedish hotel chain, with hotels mainly in the Nordic countries but also in the rest of Europe. Once again, hello warm and fuzzy feeling! 

1 comment:

Beth Waltz said...

As you've said, Pia, sometimes one must become "lost in the woods" in order to discover new paths forward. You've shown the special kind of courage required to leave your comfort zone and go exploring. I'm glad your adventures in this new employment territory have been so well rewarded!

Do keep taking these interesting detours: my brother's career shift from aeronautical engineering to diplomacy began when he was asked, "Can you ride a horse?"

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