Monday, September 25, 2017


My new job is not that new anymore and I have answered the question "How do you like it there?" about two dozens times by now. It recently made me reflect on why I have actually liked all of my workplaces so far - not always the tasks I was required to carry out, mind you, but the people I worked with, even if they happen to be a VERY diverse crowd. I realised that I might have a - possibly rare - quality that I had never realised I possessed: adaptability. It now makes sense that I was always one of rather few people who got along with their hosts/exchange partners during language trips at school. Even if people are very different from me and I don't always understand what they are doing, I can grow to like (working with) them.
I know that "flexibility" might be the sexier, more popular term for this concept, but it has become a bit stale and overused for my taste, to the point where it is used for too many things. Now please excuse me while I will add "highly adaptable" to the intro blurb of my cv.
EDIT: When a colleague took the Gallup Strengthsfinder survey, I could not quite remember my top five strengths and dug out my survey results. Et voilà: my top strength is: adaptability ;-)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Environmentally Unfriendly

My name is M. and I am a carbon footprint monster and a hypocrite. There, I've said it. Why? Well, I am very inconsistent in my interpretation of environmental friendliness, or whatever you want to call it. Ever since my teenage years when separating waste became a thing, I have been doing so meticulously. Not only at home, but also at work, in hotel rooms, you name it. I also try to avoid buying fruit out of season or from faraway places, even if I have a real craving for it. I distinctly remember the taste of what must have been the juiciest tartest apple EVER only to discover that it was imported from New Zealand (!) and not allowing myself to ever repurchase it again. Well, unless I am in a supermarket in NZ. This applies to most foods I buy and I also try not to let any of it go to waste once I have bought it. Since I can't give up my (expensive) Starbucks habit, I at least avoid drinking it out of disposable cups whenever I can, bringing my own eco-friendly bamboo tumbler instead. The list could go on and on.
Then again, I eradicate all my environmental holiness by flying more than the average person. This past weekend I flew to Munich (less than 450 km from Vienna) instead of taking the train. I did look into trains, but they were not cheap either, which was not surprising as it was the first Oktoberfest weekend and flights and hotel rooms were not exactly a bargain either. The thing is, I love everything about flying and don't mind killing time at airports in the least, as long as it's not 5 a.m. in the morning and the airport offers more diversion than those of Almaty and Minsk that are close contenders for "most boring airport in the Northern Hemisphere". Also, I have licked blood ever since I qualified for Frequent Traveller in the Star Alliance programme for the first time and am very eager not to lose my status, which is much harder now that I don't travel for business any more. Why so eager, you wonder? Well, I really appreciate the privileges that come with it - lounge access, business check in and fast lane security checks, as well as an extra piece of checked-in luggage, which is a shopaholic's dream - and don't stop to think about the impact this has on the environment at all. So. I am a horrible carbon-footprint-leaver (who is already looking forward to the next weekend break by plane in less than a month).

Monday, September 11, 2017

Delayed Sparks of Joy

The other Sunday, Chiquita proudly told me about her latest KonMari purge (she's very good at these and declutters her wardrobe frequently). Ironically, I was wearing a belt I bought when I was 17 (!) that day. Does anyone remember when El Charro was da hottest shit, btw?
Now, I have read my Marie Kondo or at least bought it, like the next person (I've had the book in the picture...yes and this is THE belt... for a year or so as I fell in love with the pretty cover of this edition, but so far have only read half of it as I did not find it that earth-shattering) and do believe that you should declutter and purge your home regularly. I am, however, much stricter in other areas of my life that I am with clothes and accessories. My pet hate is hoarding of printed matter and I throw out or give away magazines immediately after I have read them, only very rarely keeping single issues. With clothes, I either give them to my Mum, friends or charity as soon as I realise that I probably won't wear them ever again, or keep them in a bunch in the back of my closet in order to dispose of them on the next long-distance journey in order to create shopping space in my suitcase on the return flight. 
I do give things of particularly good quality or sentimental value a second chance, though, even if they may not "spark (a lot of) joy" the moment when I consider saying goodbye to them. That belt had been sitting around unworn for more than a decade when I suddenly felt like wearing it again, remembering when and where I was when I bought it, immediately. That Sunday, I actually paired my striped top with a red trench coat style jacket that I bought at a GAP outlet in Alexandria, VA 13 years ago. It was a magic girly trip when B2 and I visited B1. All our lives have changed a lot since then and new houses, jobs, men and a total of 5 children (none of these mine, haha) have happened in the meantime. Whenever I wear that jacket that has not been getting a lot of airtime ever since I bought my Burberry Brit short trench coat I think about that carefree trip, experiencing my first ever American halloween and all the fun we had. So, yes to decluttering, but as my Mum - the undisputed Queen of Upcycling- always says: "If you have got the storage space, don't throw out clothes too soon - they might come back in fashion or you get an idea to style them into something else. Amen to that!

Monday, September 04, 2017

Not Wasting All of It

If you are following me on Instagram (if not, you totally should...), my handle there is @wastingmytalent. In fact, I have had a GMail account with that name for ever and it once caused a funny situation. It was the e-mail address I used for a demo account associated with my previous job when I trained agencies in CEE and CIS. I would walk attendees of said trainings through the online interface of the tool I was teaching them how to use and int the top right corner,  you would be able to see said e-mail address. After one of the first trainings - I believe it was in Sofia - somebody approached me in the breaks. "I have a question. It's kind of personal..." Me, expecting him to ask me if I could land him a job at my company of some such: "Sure, shoot!" "Are you unhappy in your job?" Me. "?!?" "Well, I saw that e-mail address of yours..." I assured him that I was neither disgruntled, nor depressed and made a point of addressing this deliberately in all future trainings ;-)
Why am I telling you about this - well, recently, I seemed to have regained some of my creative mojo that I had sorely missed. It was not that I did not have any ideas, far from it, it was more that I never "got around to it". I still know that that one big project of mine, THE BOOK, has been shamefully neglected for months, but I don't even feel ashamed as I am currently itching to do more manual projects, like sewing or beading. Completely fine with that and happy with the results so far. I have so many ideas and wish weekends lasted 3 days at least...which is not a recent desire, however.
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