Speaking about new jobs…

February 27, 2008 at 3:07 pm | Posted in Career | 2 Comments
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…new job started on Monday, and ONE of the things that make up my job description is to regularly fill the company’s blog with fresh content – how frigging cool is that??? How many people do you know that get paid for doing what they enjoy most? First post was about one of the web’s favourites: geospatial mashups – woo yay!

w00t! w00t! w00t! w00t! w00t! w00t!

February 20, 2008 at 1:35 pm | Posted in Career | 5 Comments
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I got the job I wanted! Part-time! A good addition to my PhD topic! Starting on Monday!

Curious Case of Couple Coordination

February 18, 2008 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Career | Leave a comment
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Isn’t that sweet? My boyfriend and I had our last mandatory appointment with the unemployment agency on the same day, and today both of us are having a job interview 😀

Pimping your blog out to potential employers (?)

February 8, 2008 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Blogging, Career, privacy | 2 Comments
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I have only ONCE in my life included the URL of my blog as a reference in an application – and regretted it the moment I had hit the ‘SEND’ button. Negotiating ones need for privacy and ones needs for communication is difficult enough with any blog – I still avoid to put my full name anywhere on this blog as I do not want everybody who knows my name to be able to have a daily update on my life and whereabouts at his fingertips.

Also, I am a bit wary of the influence that using this blog as a job reference might have on my blogging habits: I don’t want to end up writing self-censored and streamlined posts that would be fit to endorse a CV, but wouldn’t make sense to my friends and family. One of the main purposes of this blog is to serve as a repository for the things and ideas that cross my mind in a day, and blogging is a good instrument to add that layer of reflection that draws the line between an idea and an opinion, or an idea and a plan. Also, it helps me keeping my English in shape:-)

Application business
photo by jenna77

What I DO mention occasionally is that I am a daily blogger – for instance when I applied for the editor training that I did in October/November. So far, however, nobody has ever asked for the URL – until today, that is, when I received an email from a consultancy who are looking for someone to take care of their Online PR (part-time!). I hesitated for a moment – then sent them link, also because I appreciated the fact that they had actually READ my application (is there anybody among you readers who has never been in a job interview where the people opposite you didn’t even know your CV?)

Nonetheless I added a little disclaimer: I am not a business blogger, and I am not using this blog as a PR or advertising tool. So whatever you may find here is a reflection of my personality, but it is not intended as a showcase of my PR skills;-)

And to finish the story of that other company, the first and last ones to have received my blog URL in an application: Well, they turned out to be one of those unreliable parties who don’t even bother to send you a either notification of receipt or at least a letter of rejection. I wonder why these things still happen – if marketing and advertising is all about establishing good relations with potential clients, shouldn’t an advertising agency know better?

Lent Logo 2008UPDATE: Lent is of course still on – it’s day three today, and I’m already having a craving for sugar. Looks like it’s going to be a bit tougher this year – but I will not waver, falter or compromise on this issue!

Brief Professional Update

February 5, 2008 at 3:49 pm | Posted in Career | 1 Comment
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Last Friday I had my first encounter with my self-employment coach – I am only now beginning to realize HOW much work it all is going to be, yet I have to take one step at a time… I am still undecided whether it wouldn’t be wiser to get a part-time position – but unless you want to be a secretary, it is difficult to even find interesting vacancies that one can apply to.

This week is dedicated to prototype building: In order to realize my digital storytelling project, I need to have a few stories to put on display. I am lucky to be in touch with the folks at reflect.at – their project leader/creative director/facilitator gave me a few pointers today to help me find the proper direction.

Also, I received a nod from a professor for media studies to be my adviser on a planned doctoral thesis. The title changes daily – I have three weeks to finalize the focus. Here is the title of the day: User-generated Video. Von Viral Video bis Digital Storytelling.

I am lucky to be able to build on excellent work in a related field that has already been done by Lenina [um – may I link to your thesis or would that expose your identity? btw, the contents are only available via Google, but the index file only says ‘test’] and I still think she should tour a few conferences with her research which she hasn’t done yet.

God bless the Austrian Social Security System (especially the Viennese)

January 16, 2008 at 3:42 pm | Posted in Career, Life | 5 Comments
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Good news! I am back on social security, including health care. Since I quit my last job itself, I expected to be barred from benefits for a period of four weeks – hence I was hesitant to go to the doctor, because the lady on the hotline told me that I may not take for granted that I’d still have health care (although she couldn’t tell me what the criteria were).

At the unemployment office today I learned that I’d normally be banned – but not if the quitting occurs within the probation period AND if you happen to live in the federal state of Vienna (my place of work was in Lower Austria, but apparently that didn’t matter). In other words: I do have health care, and I am also immediately entitled to unemployment benefits I guess I owe this to the decades of social democratic rule in this lovely city.

Since 1919 (!) the city’s mayor has been nominated by the SPÖ!

Illnesses are a disease!

January 14, 2008 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Career, Health | 4 Comments
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I’m off to the doctor now. Even though I am a bit of a hypochondriac, I only go to a doctor when I am really worried. My degree of worrying, however, is not at all related to the outcome of a doctor’s diagnosis. I once went because I was afraid that itchy patch on my neck was a bacterial inflammation of the skin (I had once had one on my thigh, and it had felt the same) – yet the doctor diagnosed it as pretty much nothing, giving me a sample of Russian-looking coldcream. That was kind of humiliating. There were other instances when my worries turned out to have a serious reason (e.g. a thrombosis).

But I cannot recall having gone to the doctor for coughing in a dozen of years. Ive tried treating it the way I always treat a cough for a week now, and it normally always works, but not this time. Unfortunately, I have been terribly unproductive this week, as I’m easily overwhelmed by fatigue or start feeling dizzy. The last thing I need right now is an illness – anything that stops me from being productive is a potential show-stopper for hammering out the details of my professional future.

Also, it’s not quite certain whether I have health care at the moment or not – which is actually the most annoying part.

Illnesses are a disease, really.

Update: Well, lucky me! Today and tomorrow my health expenses are still covered by me former employer! And antibiotics it is – what a surprise. Mine taste like vanilla and are really hard to swallow.

Good riddance!

January 12, 2008 at 8:33 pm | Posted in Career | Leave a comment
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Upon passing by the announcement board near the platform where the locals trains serving the North-East leave I thought: “Good riddance!”

That was the same platform where I hopped on at 6:51 am a month ago. Quitting a job can be a good thing. Quitting things in general is as important as starting new things.

Think of the sad, long-gone days when people started a job at 15 at only quit to retire – some 45 years later!

My Silly New Business Card

January 11, 2008 at 11:50 am | Posted in Career | Leave a comment
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Or at least the layout thereof. One has to admit that vistaprint’s business cards are dead ugly. About as ugly as Powerpoint templates. They have silly motifs such as horses, flowers, palm trees, beaches, even bare female breasts.

The one I got is also darn ugly, but with a twist. A German can never fail with a business card featuring a calf and a football!

Business Card

And the Plans to Become Self-employed

December 26, 2007 at 10:43 pm | Posted in Career | 1 Comment
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…are beginning to become more concrete – I have got a name and a solid idea. Now I need funding. First appointment tomorrow 🙂

Oops, I Did It Again: Quit My Job

December 25, 2007 at 9:45 am | Posted in Career | 4 Comments
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On the last possible day of my probation period, I kissed my new employer good-bye. The team was nice, the office beautiful – but my tasks all too quickly became that of a secretary. Writing letters in duplicate and triplicate, translating them into English, even prewriting banal five-line emails and mailing the text to my boss (the time it consumed for him to call me into his office, print out the email he had received and tell me what to write would have been more than sufficient for him to write the response himself). I don’t mind writing invitations and sending them out to key note speakers – for as long as I get to invite them (pp is fine with me). But I certainly didn’t get a master’s degree and accumulate five years of full time work experience to prewrite letters that others are going to use. To be more precisely: I am not prepared to spend 2,5 hours on trains a day if the work I am paid for is that of a secretary’s.

So once I again I am unemployed – and scheming to become self-employed. I am beginning to think that this is the only form of employment where I don’t get the feeling that I am slaving for someone else’s benefit more than mine…

A Long Commute: Upside and Downside

December 14, 2007 at 10:44 am | Posted in Career, Work | 1 Comment
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I started on my new job the last week of November, and am pretty happy with it. What continues to be a downside, however, is the long commute: This and last week, I got up at 5:40 am to get on the 6:51 train (I need to have enough time to drink my litre of Earl Grey in the morning, so 6:15 won’t do for me). I arrive at my destination at 8:01am and try to sleep on the train, but that doesn’t always work out (Don’t blame it one the tea though; I surely noticed that my Christmas Green Tea kept me awake on the train, but I allow my morning Earl Grey to steep for five minutes – that is supposedly giving it a soothing effect). On the night train, however, I can sleep like a baby – unless I have to engage in conversation with colleagues on the train, which of course can be nice, but I am so addicted to sleep…

At least I don’t have to commute by car which would be quite a pain in the butt as you can neither read nor sleep behind the wheel. Unless the urge for sleep overwhelms you, one can use a good hour on the train for many useful things:

_catch up on your reading (most important point!)
_take your lappy with you and work on the train
_prepare yourself for meetings during the day
_make a few early-bird phone calls in particular to doctors and agencies
_knit, crochet or take care of other urgent needlework

So commuting isn’t all bad. And the one peculiar advantage of my present situation is that there is a COMPLETE SPLIT between work and home. Where I lived before, it was a 15 minutes walk to my office, and it happened regularly that I went in late at night or worked long hours. I don’t have this flexibility now anymore, and need to be more disciplined in terms of how swiftly I take care of things. But as soon as I get on the train home, I am leaving work behind. Not a bad thing!

The best of all commutes, however is telework! In the future, I might inofficially be able to telecommute at least one day a week. Then I’ll paste this sticker on my lappy:
I don't commute, I compute

New job starts on Monday!

November 24, 2007 at 3:05 pm | Posted in Career | 4 Comments
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Bottom of Career LadderAnd I am looking forward to it a lot!

Just a brief update about my past career decisions: In spite of the tremendous adulation from my journalism instructor, I did not receive a job offer from that publishing house for which I slaved a little while ago – unlike most of everyone else of us trainees. And even though I wasn’t even sure whether I wanted to work for them or not, that hurt a bit.

Of course it’s relatively easy to restructure this event cognitively: I can write, but my writing is probably not suited for the masses. I am too much of a critical thinker and my refusal to join the current affairs team (who have a purely tabloid angle) was probably not a smart move in advertising myself. And last not least: I am 33, and if you had the choice, who would pick an editor in training younger than yourself?

The past two days were even more of a confirmation that my job decision (I accepted a job in academia) was the right one: I have just returned from what could be considered my first stint as a consultant, giving a presentation at an innovation management workshop. There were people both from a large telecommunications company and a bunch of designers/new media people, and I was really surprised about the quality and scope of the discussions that were going on. Better than much of the input to be found at a conference dedicated to new media! The fact that the whole thing took place in a castle in Styria was not to be despised either!

For me it was a confirmation that I want to be be amongst people who ARE intelligent and (more importantly) are not afraid to DO AND SAY INTELLIGENT THINGS – unlike in tabloid journalism, where everyone is using their intelligence only to dumb down the things they do and write, trying to please the taste of the masses (who are probably not as dumb as they think – but who get dumber by the day because of the crap they feed them).

I won’t give up writing though – but I’ll try to find a more suitable outlet for it than can be found in tabloid magazines:-)

Good news!

March 26, 2007 at 5:26 pm | Posted in Career | 4 Comments
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I’ll soon be out of here! I made a phone call to the Arbeiterkammer today [an official representation of employees – do we have anything like that in Germany, btw?] to inquire about my claim to unemployment benefits should I consider not to extend my contract. And I learned that, in this particular situation and being a German who has worked in Austria for 3 years, I’d receive benefits immediately, and for a period of up to 30 weeks. Finding a new job within that time frame cannot be that difficult, can it? Certainly not, considering that I’d be willing to do just about everything for as long as it wouldn’t be full-time. I’d rather work part-time and spent the rest of my time working on the half dozen of unfinished scripts that I have on my computer. The future’s bright – why didn’t I call them earlier?

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