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Just a few words… October 29, 2008

Posted by Lisa in Languages and trainings, Office environment.
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After such a long period of not posting I considered that time has come to write a few lines. Part of my time is covered by my new job. I am getting so exhausted during the day that I am completely dead in the evenings. However, I fully enjoy it and I have nothing to complain about (yet!). I barely see my colleagues during the day because I am too busy working, sending e-mails, having all types of phone conversations and reading tones of information.

I am lucky enough to work with people having years and years of experience and more important- more than willing to share their knowledge with me. I always had and I will have respect for this kind of people. The current working environment is completely different from where I worked before. Also, I am able to take strategic decisions which help me develop other sets of skills. So far so good!

My French lessons do not work that well and the feeling that I am losing my time grows stronger day by day. At this moment I am not sure that I will see this course finishing very positive for me. I told my professor several times that she should bring improvements. I suppose that’s the difference between the public and private sector. She does not care… students are coming and going all the time. The low price is the only motivation, as far as I can see.

When I started the course we were almost 40 students. Now we are 10-12 every week. If this is not a hint strong enough that something is not working, nothing else will ever be. Moreover, she looks tired and she stopped smiling so often as before.

We had our first test some time ago. I received 9 points out of 10. When I saw the grades for the whole group I could not believe it: the grades were as low as 2! It might sound ok but it was the first test and it could not go easier than that.

I would like to continue with my course because I am not a quitter but every day is getting harder and harder to follow it. I am learning more French from one meeting that I have (2h) than from 6h every week…

BTW. Lynne if you read this post I wish you all the best for your birthday! A bit late, I admit but better later than never! 🙂

The summer is over – back to work! October 7, 2008

Posted by Lisa in Office environment.
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I had a longer summer this year but from next week it’s all over – I am finally going back to work. I am both happy and sad at the same time, like anyone else would be. My painting and my reading will be replaced with other tasks which I hope I would enjoy (not as much) but somehow closer.

Today I went to visit my future colleagues, my office and to deal with the usual administrative stuffs. From past experiences- everything moved smoothly so I hope this will be the case. It’s my first job as manager so I am aware that there are many things to learn along the way and mistakes to do, as well. The biggest challenge for me will be to delegate. Until now I was used to do all by myself but this time I will have to change and plan ahead rather than doing small stuffs. If I succeed or not only time will tell. (more…)

This and that October 1, 2008

Posted by Lisa in Uncategorized.
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I quite neglected my blog for the last days but not without reason. I was busy meeting some friends, do a bit of travelling, following my French classes which are going nowhere (but that’s another topic) and reading… lots of reading. Most important of all I had my third (and last) interview for the management position. I am already familiar with the people who work for that organization from the receptionists up to the management chain. I know their names, offices and it feels like I was already working there. I even enjoyed talking Dutch with two assistants.

Before the interview I was prepared to ask more in depth questions – sensitive questions which are made to annoy the employers. After the last interview I was sure that nothing will shock them anymore coming from me. However, the interview went very good. I was actually surprised because we had very diplomatic conversations and I realized how much I wanted to work with and for them. I do not know if I had secured the job or not but there were many “ifs” coming from their part. They said they will call me next week….

Also, today I received an offer from one of the companies which I interviewed two week ago. It’s an interesting job position –not a management position but the company has an impressive portfolio and very strong reputation. I need to make a decision rather quickly but rushing into signing a contract is not my style.

On art and personal style September 23, 2008

Posted by Lisa in Art and literature.
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While I was painting I made a break and I came across Alex Powers, a painter and self-employed art teacher since 1970. It reminded me of my blog post about finding the personal painting style.  Talking about the same subject he notes:

“(…) Let’s think about finding a personal style.  It is a long and winding path for most of us.  In an era of instant gratification, that sentence may not be satisfying enough for many of us.  The musical rock stars who find their path early in life usually burn out quickly.  And then what do they do?  Life for them is then more difficult than for the rest of us who are chugging along, getting lost sometimes and then finding our way again.  The rather long and winding path is not a bad thing.  Not only is there no glorious celebration at the end of the path, there is no end to the path.  The artist Max Ernst said that the worst thing an artist can do is to find his way.  The glory is in the seeking – in the process of painting more than in the product produced.  The inner glow of winning a big art award lasts a week or two, and then it’s all about the studio again.  So we want to enjoy, most of all, the making of the art.  That’s the real joy.  Arrange everything in your art life, as best you can, to make your studio time the best it can be (…).”

I am happy to see that there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

The quote is from Finding Your Personal Voice in Art.

My trip to purgatory – second job interview September 22, 2008

Posted by Lisa in Job Interviews.
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Last week I had my second job interview for a position which involves management (more issue focused than people management). The job itself is very challenging because of the activities which must be performed and the less impressive history in terms of delivery of the company. This is the type of job which requires long working hours, strong networking skills and stress resistance in dealing with difficult people. From my point of view this is the type of job where strong personality and accuracy are key elements.

I was very happy when the phone came for a second interview because of all the reasons mentioned above and also because I was confident that I can do the job properly.

However, the interview itself let me completely speechless. (more…)

Busy September September 17, 2008

Posted by Lisa in Uncategorized.
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I did not write anything on the blog for some time because of lack of time. Last Friday I had a job interview and this week I had every day a job interview. The interviews were of all kind: one to one, panel interviews, test interviews, etc. As I said before I actually wanted to have a break but these interviews were the results of some applications sent in August. I even had to turn down an interview last week because I came to the conclusion that it was not the right job for me. But I am not complaining… and it’s normal to be a bit busy in September.

Having said that, I am quite bored with all these interviews and I am a bit lazy to write about each of them. Anyway it is fair to say that I am getting better with the interviews and I am quite relaxed about it. However I refuse to hide my personality behind the perfect candidate during the interview which is not always the best option because it affects my chances of getting the job. (more…)

Searching for my personal painting style September 15, 2008

Posted by Lisa in Art and literature.
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Saturday the weather was really bad with low temperatures and raining. When the weather reacts like that I really enjoy painting. Therefore, Saturday afternoon I jumped into the car and went shopping to my favorite shop Schleiper to buy some painting supplies. I could just spend a whole day in that shop and spend…spend. The prices are quite high but the oils which I buy are always the best quality.

Painting is very important for me because of several reasons but mostly because it relaxes me and it’s a tool of expressing my feelings. Over the years my style slightly changed but I can say that I always kept those sharp, well defined lines thorough my artworks. It is a style similar to Picasso and Braque. I never liked painting landscapes because I think my camera does a great job and because I enjoy contemporary art more. (more…)

Learning French- day 2: soixante-dix or septante? September 12, 2008

Posted by Lisa in Languages and trainings.
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Wednesday was my 2nd day of studying French again. Things started to move slowly with a quick review of the verbs and chiffres. I have to admit that I always used the French system and not the Belgian system when addressing numbers. I just hate the Belgian system but probably that’s just me who tries to complicate things. I really want (for the sake of repeating myself!) to learn the French spoken in France and not in Belgium. I let the professor know this issue because I do not want to have any unpleasant surprises during future testing. She let me know that that’s the street language and I should use it as well (!!!). I am very sorry Madame but I intend to use my French in the office and not on the street. At least she will remember me (she is still struggling to get our 29 names) for the rest of the year. (more…)

Learning French- day 1 September 9, 2008

Posted by Lisa in Languages and trainings.
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Yesterday evening I had (finally) my first French lesson. The reception was crowded with people from all over the world all wanting to learn a foreign language.  The walls were full of information in different languages and teachers were struggling to bring the materials to their students. Coming back to that building brought lots of memories not only because I took some Dutch lessons in the past but also because I used to have some classes in the same building during my college years. I felt somehow old despite the fact that I did not finish my college too long ago.

I was there in time but like always there were people coming late. I do not particularly like this type of distractions but it is normal to happen because most of the students who take these classes are working in the day and trying to learn a new language in the evening. (more…)

Gender stereotyping tackled down by the EP – a move too far? September 7, 2008

Posted by Lisa in In the news.
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Last week the Swedish MEP Eva-Britt Svensson from the left (GUE/NGL) group came with a report on how marketing and advertising affect equality between women and men. The aim of the report is to increase aawareness among consumers and the public about the influence of advertising.  

I agree that this whole idea of gender stereotyping cannot be ignored. One reference in the report is another report – Eating Disorders, Body Image and the Media” which was published in 2000 by the British Medical Association. It is well known that the portrayal of beautiful is thin can create significant eating disorders on teenagers such as anorexia and bulimia.

However, I am quite concerned about how the EU is going to try to solve this situation. Creating a new body to deal with this is quite unrealistic in terms of deliveries. Also as Svensson said “The purpose of my report is to help make it impossible to use gender stereotypes in advertising.” is again too ambitious.

I would think that gender stereotyping has also cultural links and therefore difficult to regulate. More research should be done, impact assessments and after that regulation could be installed. Until then one should not ignore market demands and the existing traits between men and women which are there to stay. Victoria Coren (The Observer) has a point in the “Gender stereotyping? Fine as long as I get to do it”.