Monday, June 24, 2024

Temporarily Closed


...but back to regular programming when I'm back from vacation.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Who Whinges Wins


Guess who has a killer cold AGAIN and despite all good intentions (also expressed here) did not stay at home to rest, but powered on. I know, I know. One occasion I did not want to miss was private (my MBA graduation ceremony last Friday), the rest were business-related. In particular, I did not want to bail out on my colleague (super stressed as it was) with whom I had co-organised a mini conference and with whom I was supposed to co-moderate/-facilitate it. I woke up that morning feeling deader than dead, but dragged myself there and only found out afterwards that pulling myself together did not do me any favours: she actually had the impression that I was more or less totally fine and "normal" as I did not show it. Truth be told, I was hurt by this blatant lack of empathy, but then reflected on it and realised I had myself to blame: if you just grin and bear it and always show up, you can't expect gratitude, nor understanding. Who "celebrates" every little ailment they have and stays home at the very first sneeze gets pity, not the thankless office heroes and heroines. This might just have been the sign from the universe I needed.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Bubble under stress test

Last weekend, one of Highflyer's brothers with wife and two (very lively and energetic) boys, four and six years old, stayed at the country house as they departed to a two months trip to Asia from Vienna on Sunday night. I jokingly call Highflyer's teenage boys (16 and 19 now)"savages" as the house looks super messy whenever they visit and their rooms in particular as if several bombs had detonated, but pre-school boys are on another level, oh yes. I already knew that from my friends' kids, but when they are houseguests, it's on another level. We have off-white carpets in the living room and I struggled not to mentally count the times they ran through the house with either their sandals on, or barefoot after having run through wet grass and soil, not mentioning Nutella-stained fingers touching the wall and other surfaces. I outwardly remain calm and suggest wiping off feet and washing hands, but inwardly I am like "WTF, how do parents cope with this on a daily basis?!" I really like my place clean and relatively tidy and while Highflyer is also pretty messy and has an impressive degree of "dust-blindness" I manage to create a calm and decently clean bubble whenever there are no relatives visiting and I sometimes wonder if I could even have managed to live with kids who leave plastic toys, fingerprints and stains everywhere. Guess not.          

Monday, June 03, 2024


Even though with 36 official hours/week I don't really identify as working part time, my first month as a part time worker is over and I could not be happier about my decision to have Fridays off. Bliss! Apart from more time for various out-of-the-house activities to explore culture and nature, I have more time for various hobbies that I had neglected. While I always find time to cook and bake, my pile of fabrics and sewing magazines alike had been growing without me having put any projects into realisation. The other weekend I sewed an easy top and a dress will be next. I also intend to get back to painting after absolutely AGES of not having touched paintbrushes. Being creative and producing things - my thing are definitely projects that can be finished within a day maximum, patience not being my forte - gives me so much joy and energy and feel very privileged indeed that I now have the luxury of an extra day off without really suffering from the reduced hours on my paycheck.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Career Ladder or: Looks Good on your CV!

Being the polar opposite of a planner I never planned my career strategically by any means. Up until my mid thirties, I was actually rather worried that I was destined (you might say "doomed") to remain in my first job at Coma HQ like some of my colleagues who are only a few years older than I am, actually have. It took me another decade to realise that my non-linear CV is my biggest asset along with the fact that I worked for the Firm for 10 years. A company that EVERYone knows, that is known to be extremely hard to get into and that is still at the top of the dream job list for many. Having that name on my CV was probably the biggest career boost and when I started at Household Name in the summer of 2017 I got asked by many new colleagues why in Earth I had decided to leave the Firm. Well, long story short, I loved the company culture and its perks, but there were limited opportunities to develop in the area I loved and was interested in, so I decided to leave. At Household Name, people assumed I could to things that I had never done before...and so I simply did. Proof that people placing trust in your abilities is really empowering. 
I also did not decide to do an MBA to climb up on the career ladder. I am happy in my expert role as an individual contributor and do not see becoming a people manager as the ultimate goal. If you work in a big corporate like my employer, it comes with a lot of administrative and operational stuff that does not excite me and also with a hefty dose of office politics, so thanks, but no thanks.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Time | Off

Thanks to my 4-day week with Fridays off I get to enjoy several 4-day weekends this month with either Thursdays or Monday (like today) being public holidays. In fact I deliberately chose May to start with my new schedule because of so many additional days off. With one exception last week when I needed (?) to do some work on the  Friday I now activate my out-of-office reply on my last work day and remain blissfully offline on my corporate devices until 7:30-ish on the next work day. I'm really loving this additional day of me-time and am planning to go on spontaneous trips and take the time for exhibitions and other cultural initiatives that I neglected in recent years. I actually already bought annual passes for two museums (each with several branches) and have already been to two locations in May.  Highflyer's schedule looks different each month anyway, but he is trying to align his time off with mine as best as he can. Even if there will be few occasions when he also gets Fri-Sun off and has no obligations, I definitely won't struggle to find things to do and could not be happier about my decision. 

Monday, May 13, 2024

Working Class Heroine


I used this past (long) weekend to try and become my normal chirpy self. It was in fact the third (!) weekend in a row that I tried to focus on that and we're hopefully getting there. I am just not used to being sick and this cold that segued into a lateral pharyngitis (never had that before, can not recommend) was something else and definitely felt worse than the three times I have had Covid, combined. As I didn't have a temperature at any point and otherwise didn't feel too sick or weak to work from home, either, I did just that. 10 days into unpleasant symptoms I went to see a doctor and he prescribed me antibiotics, along with other medication. The drugs immediately seemed to work, probably because the last time I got prescribed antibiotics was when I worked in Sydney in 2011 and my left foot got swollen and itchy from what must have been an insect bite. I was euphoric and even though I took it easy on the weekend, I otherwise did normal stuff and also ate ice-cream as my throat didn't hurt any more. Last Monday I felt like sh** again and my sore throat had come back with a vengeance. I really did not feel up to working, least of all facilitating a virtual workshop, but as always it was not a "good" time to be sick and I soldiered through. I did make a point of telling my manager that I should be on sick leave, not that she encouraged me to do so, rather telling me to try and do what I could get done under the circumstances. When my symptoms got a bit scary I vowed not to be so stupid again and take it easy even with what seemed like a common cold, because as I learnt the hard way, this could develop into something way nastier that I definitely didn't want to become chronic. Would the company go bankrupt if I took a sick day or two: nope. One more reason why I secretly admire Gen Z colleagues a bit, who mostly wouldn't think twice to put their physical and mental health first. Somehow, this weird work ethos is embedded in many people of our generation and it often takes a bit of a wake-up call to reconsider it.

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