The coin has fallen

……   and it is the 1st time that i receive a phone rejection.

It was very nice of her to tell me personally that my interviews had gone really well, but that unfortunately they had to go for a more qualified candidate. It was also nice of her to let me down easy, and to tell me that they would like to keep my details on file and contact me in case there was any other open position.

Of course, i am disappointed, but i’ll live :)  

As seen below, i was actually hoping for heads, and not tails. Oh well, i guess i am turning my tail to Europe and going home for good. f her to call me and to let me know that a more suitable candidate was found for the position, but that my interview had gone very well and that they would like to keep my details on file and thus contact me in the future if any other position arises.

Rather than whining about my confidence levels and my looming unemployment, i guess i should really start thinking about why  i got 3 rejections in the past month, and for 2 out or 3 positions, i actually  thought  i was qualified.

True what they say, winners are losers that do not give up. And yes, rejection stings. A lot.

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Waiting for the coin to fall

Flip a coin for it, they say. And while the coin is in the air, you will know, deep inside, how you wish it would land. And there you would have it –  the decision.

Well , for me, the coin is in the air right now.

A couple of months ago, after i signed a brand new but short term contract with the BlueCo, i started looking for another placement, for “security” beyond September –  as i called it in my talks with my supervisor; i was ” exploring my professional options”, as i was writing in my motivation letters and i was ” looking for new career possibilities”, as i termed it during my [two] interviews. However, i was not doing all that i could –  i was applying for the jobs that came my way, while not seeking any myself. I was “searching for the right fit” in large companies, although i know that is not where my place is, and i was concentrated on only three of them: the BlueCo (in another country –  coffee is great here it Italy, but i am looking to “expand my horizons”), the GreyCo, in some countries, and the EveryoneWantsToWorkThereCo, from which of course i have not had a single reply. The BlueCo is also ignoring my CV, even if its own name is the proud star of my CV. The GreyCo, however, has answered one of my prayers-i mean applications-, and has offered me an interview for not really the job i applied for, but for a job nontheless. It is long term, it offers acceptable rewards, it is within a new young team and it is in Ireland. The job is very close to what i am doing right now, so i wouldn’t really be “exploring new areas”, but i am qualified for that position and the GreyCo is a really nice name to add to my CV. So i went for it. 

The interviews with the GreyCo coincided with the interviews for another company, which i interviewed with but in the end, they went for someone with more experience. This is the ButtonsCo, and i will mention it more at large in another post. Suffice to say that i was a bit distracted at the beginning, having to deal with the interview process for 2 different companies, but at least they were both in the e-services business, so my motivational speech had some common points.  However, i guess that fact made me more confident ( and less desperate) – after all, i was feeling a bit on top of the hill,  with not one,  but 2 companies wanting me.

And then only one remained.

The GreyCo likes talking to me on the phone. However, the latter has presented with a lot of issues :  first of all,  in August i was vacationing at home, and after 1 call my roaming ate all my credit and thus my Italian number was out. I gave the GreyCo another number, but the phone i was using was not really top of the class. Second of all, when i came back to Italy, i started going to the office every day in an attempt to get rid  some of the habits i had developed while working at home…  However, here, within the walls of the BlueCo, there is no reception. So yes, i had to set up  call meetings  with the GreyCo and go outside, in order to take those calls. And, as expected, just a few steps away from the company walls, at all times, there are some other 20 people talking on the phone, obviously having the same connectivity issues.

I was invited to an onsite interview, but unfortunately, they could not offer me reimbursement for travel costs. As i was about to refuse continuing the selection process, i was offered the opportunity to carry on 3 phone interviews instead. I accepted.

On the said day, i was awaiting the calls at home, in my usual office attire : the pajamas. All 3 calls went smoothly –  or so i think –  as i found common language with the persons at the other end of the line, we discussed my credentials, do’s and dont’s in different situations, results and solutions to specific problems. But there is no way to know for sure in this cases, and so i waited.

In the meantime, and even before the final interviews, close people around me were asking me whether i want a positive answer. I did not really have an answer, but right now, as i mention at the beginning of this post, the coin is in the air. I have scheduled a call in about 34 minutes ( i have to go outside) , and i will know then whether i am in or not.

So now, what do i want said to me, with a very charming Irish accent?

On one side, here i am, already imagining how i will be searching for an apartment and how i would like to live alone; i am already thinking what things i will have to take with me, and what first impression i would like to make…. This job would certainly offer me some of the stability and the certainty that i am so desperately looking for. It would be difficult, but i would be building a brighter future for me, i would meet new people, i would learn new things… It would be a new, clean, fresh start. A second ( or third, or whatever) chance.

But on the other side, it would be all i say i want to avoid… I would be far far away from home again, all on my own, in a foreign country ( where, on top of it all, it rains a lot), starting over yet again.

As i was writing the above, i realize that these are just excuses –  my fears of the unknown, of being back into the pit of lions again. Well, i escaped it once, and i will do it again. After all, i am supposedly wiser now than i was about a year ago, when the BlueCo lions were out to get me. And all in all, this is a great opportunity, and yes, it might be hard, but it sure is worth it.

So yes, the coin is still in the air, but i want it to be heads. A heads up for the future to come.

And now that i know i want this job, i have to wait and see. Are they calling to congratulate me? Or are they going to tell me they are sorry, but they went for someone else? Either way, it has been a nice trip.

Some 360 days later (1)

Last year, around the same period, i was unemployed and enjoying it, actually. I had the right excuse to make me feel ok with my situation –  i was a student, i was writing my thesis ( nevermind that in reality i wasn’t) and thus it was ok  for me not to have a job. I slept late, went out almost every night, had erratic eating habits and never said no to a beer.

Well, this year, i [will] have another excuse. After all, i worked so hard this past year, i have accumulated some funds and i deserve a break. And the story will repeat itself.

Or will it? Will i let it? Am i a better person this year? Am i more motivated, more confident, more in touch with who i really am and what i want to do with my life? Have i grown, have i become more mature?

I have certainly gained more experience slash confidence. I did after all make it here in the BlueCo, although i am not sure whether my perception of  fast paced environment is real. After all, i do not have constant personal contact with anyone, and thus, even though my inbox and my corporate chat is burning, i may still have a sip of my coffee, i can take my time to breathe in and breathe out, i can count to 10 before i send a reply and i can actually review my answers and thus make sure that i have used the proper words, a calm tone and an appropriate attitude.

All of the above are, however, not going to help me in my future job. Everybody makes mistakes, especially in a new position. So what will i do when instead of getting an e-mail saying that “X and Y and Z is wrong please review..” i will actually see that person in front of me and they will raise their voice, they might throw the file on my table and they might storm out of my work area. So no, i am not sure that the experience at the BlueCo has prepared me for that.

Does it happen, these days?  People letting emotions rule them, not keeping their serenity at work, acting on impulse? Or are they diplomatic, amiable and smile while  thinking  to themselves how incompetent you are?

I am young, and i work from home

Yesterday i stayed and worked from home –  it is actually very nice that i can do that every once in a while. It takes the stress away a little bit, it offers a change of scenery and a feeling that I am at least a little bit in charge of my time. It is a choice: the  i sooo do not want to go to the office today is no longer part of my vocabulary, as i can just  stay home.  Of course, the  ooooh, why is it not the weekend already / i do not want to work anymore why can’t i just stay at home and have a lot of money and just spend my time doing what i like   are still there, but still, it is a start. 

Before i had curtains :)

Before i had curtains :)

When i tell people that i can work from home, i get the same reaction, indifferent of the nationality, experience, age or degree of familiarity between us. “That must be wonderful!”  They all say. Well, it is…. and it’s not, both at the same time.

I can truly say that i love working from home, because….

1. I can work in my pajamas. There is no such thing as worrying what to wear the next day, ironing, doing laundry etc. I do not have to spend money on office clothes, and i do not have to wear a bra, or shoes.

2. There is no need to get out of the house. This point is extremely important on rainy/snowy/lazy days. Or on Fridays, if you live in Italy ( there are public transportation strikes every other week).

3. There are no transportation costs /  delays /  nerves. This point is valid any season, any day, any time. No more being stuck in traffic, no more sweaty subways and crowded buses.

4. There is no need to put on make-up ( not that i ever do, but anyway), brush my hair, or even (ooops) brush my teeth. And i do not have to put on deodorant (let’s face it, i am in my pajamas!)

5. I can actually wake up 5 minutes before the start of the workday. Sometimes. Very rarely, when it is not too busy at work and when everyone’s hair is not on fire. Extremely rarely. Maybe like 1% of the time.

6. I do not have to wear headphones when listening to music. There is nobody around anyway.

7. I can talk to myself. Out loud.

8. I can make faces at the computer when something goes wrong. Even scream at it if i feel like it.

9. During the lunch break, i can actually do some household chores, go shopping, go to the bank, take a shower, paint my nails or i can flood the apartment and clean up the mess afterwards.

10. During the smaller i am waiting for inspiration breaks  i can actually dance around and sing out loud.

11. I water my plants a lot more often.

12. I can work in any position i want. And i do not have to stick to one choice for too long.

13. I can receive home deliveries and avoid annoying the doorman/angry by default lady.

14. Working from home basically means i can work from anywhere –  a privilege i used a lot in the last year. I worked from 4 different countries, from a coffee shop, library, university, friend’s house, student residence, my sister’s bedroom, airport, airplane, park and maybe even other places that do not come to mind right now. All i need is internet. And sometimes not even that. At least not when i was working on the weekends, and late in the night ( see point nr2 below).

15. Given that any office job –  whether that office is at home, in the kitchen, in bed or at an actual office building – entails a lot of sitting at the computer in the same position and very little movement, working from home actually offers the possibility to  promise yourself  that you will work out more. At one time, i wanted to take small 15 minute breaks every 2 hours – after all, the law says i MUST take such breaks – and do push-ups, abdomens or butt exercise. Of course, i never did any, but at least i got to plan it.

However, there are also the downsides…

1. I sometimes forget to eat. or i know and feel that i have to eat, but as there is no fixed schedule ( no canteen closing or no colleagues going out at a certain hour) i end up postponing lunch till dinner.

2. Saving time on preparations to get to work and on transportation actually means that i  can  start working at any hour. Even at 4 a.m, if there is such a need. Or at 6 a.m. Every Monday. Right after the weekend. It also means i do not necessarily have to finish at 6. I am already home, ain’t i? Home does not close. There are no buses to miss. No guard to kick you out. 

3. There is no clear separation between  office  and  home.  Between  work  and  play.  I guess i would need a bigger apartment and a separate office room. Uu, i would soooo like that.

4. You do not belong to a team. To  any team. There is so little real communication  that you end up talking to yourself ( see point 7 above) or you end up writing blog posts entitled “No Human Contact – Day 4“.

5. You have to have the complete trust of your supervisors and of the people who you work with [online]. They need to be confident that when you tell them ” I will get started on that right away”, you are actually  doing that, rather than pressing play on yet another youtube video. They need to trust you when you say that the project is delayed due to technical problems –  server errors, computer malfunctions, network issues etc –  and not think for a second that you were slacking.

If you are a manager, however, there is also the  motivating and insipiring part that is even more difficult when you are not face to face with a person, day in and day out. Earning the trust of the employees, trusting them in return, and motivating them to actually  do  what they are telling you they are doing is not something everyone can achieve. My manager, for one, does that pretty well.

6. I can not go out of the house for days. Because there is nowhere you HAVE to go, unless you are left without food in the house. But not even that one is a valid reason, because the stores are usually closed by the time you finish work, see point nr2. 

7. Not getting out of my pajamas is not a very good motivator. I look lazy, and I feel lazy… because after all, i am in my fluffy “dog tired” pajamas. And the latter wear out a lot faster.

8. It is very tiring, day in and day out, no change of scenery, no coffee breaks, no gossip around the water cooler or whatever, no bumping into anybody on the hall, no sharing the same elevator, no awkward moments in the restroom, no saying  oh my, how can she wear THAT to work  and no hearing that said about you.

9. No free tea, no free coffee and no free snacks. You actually have to  buy  them.

10. The above is true for soap and toilet paper. They need to be replaced a lot more often.

In my case, i do have a choice whether to go to the office or not, or, better said, there  is  an office i can go to. In this case, i just carry my computer aka my work to the office and stay there for the day. And thus i can benefit from the advantages of being able to work from home, but i can also avoid some of the disadvantages mentioned. Others, however, are forced to work from home –  this trend is becoming more and more popular, as companies are trying to save on administrative costs such as rent, electricity, internet and consumables. The latter may be decreasing the costs, but it is doing so at the expense of productivity. Workers are not motivated, they are not part of a work culture as they do not perceive any work environment, there is very little mutual learning, little human interaction, and very little social and peer pressure. The latter factors are important in raising productivity, efficiency and thus, revenue. These companies have no idea what they are missing.

And I am not sure that those rolls of toilet paper and those liquid soap fills are worth it.

23 reasons to be happy today

Well, I guess it is true that a lot of ones inspiration comes from the things we read. In my case, this is already the 2nd time the title of an article inspires me to create my own [article]

So  here goes, the 23 reasons to be happy today :

  1. I woke up before the alarm rang and I felt really rested.
  2. I dreamt that I was at home, in my own bed. It was nice.
  3. My friend and flatmate made me coffee.
  4. My other friend and flatmate got up grumpy and I gave her a hug. She growled.
  5. I saw on the weather forecast that today’s max would be 26 degrees.
  6. I was not late for the shuttle taking me to the office.
  7. The mean lady did not ask who was getting off the bus at the BlueCo, so I did not have to raise my hand and draw the attention of the whole bus. The driver just took me there.
  8. I changed the appearance of my blog and I really like it now.
  9. I had a very nice talk with my manager.
  10. I had a really nice lunch. I had super un-natural orange juice to go with it.
  11. I then had some hot choco and I talked with a person close to me.
  12. I set up a meeting in the evening to go have drinks with friends.
  13. I got an idea for a blog post. And I am writing it now.
  14. I don’t think my hair is all that bad today.
  15. It actually is sunny outside.
  16. I will not procrastinate : I made plans to actually do something I HAVE to do today. And I am certain that I will do it.
  17. I may be employed for some 2 more weeks, but I get to go home anyway, and work from there.
  18. I have a wedding I am really looking forward to, next week.
  19. I have great friends.
  20. I realized that when I get home, I will get to wear my cute boots, as it is already REAL autumn/Italian winter there.
  21. At the office, I sat near the window so I get to look out and let my eyes wonder over the green grass while I am searching for the right solution to a certain issue.
  22. I feel good today. I am actually starting to accept the 5/2 , 8 hour workday balance. I think, at least. And I guess it is not that bad to have a stress-less job, and then have enough energy left to pursue personal projects. That of course, if the latter applies. In my case, I have only recently reached this level where I am comfortable with what I do, and where there are less and less stressful moments per week, as I go forward.
  23. Have I mentioned the fact that there are 26 degrees outside, and today is the 26th of September?

The story of our lives

We all have a story to tell, our own heaven and hell…

The story of our lives.

We have loved and we have cried,

We have hurt and we have lied.

We were once all that we had,

Other times walked hand in hand,

Slept alone and cooked for one,

or been someones’s someone.

People came and people went,

Our realities were bent,

We believed  what others wanted

And we took ourselves for granted

In the end however, you

Are the only one that’s true.