Monday, December 31, 2012

My 2012 Story II

So I left to Albania. A new, difficult journey was lying in front of me. I was not afraid at all, because I knew I will not be alone. And I knew that no matter what, I will be ok, because I was doing something worth living for. I got in Albania after ~40 hours of travelling. I wanted for a long time to be part of a National Committee in AIESEC, so I wanted to take advantage of every single thing it came with it. Being faci in the National and International Conferences, being part of the Global Support Team, while building something that lasts in Albania.

I took AIESEC Albania very seriously and I put a lot of heart and soul for it. I worked as never before for something I truly believed in. I felt I was doing the right things, in the way I thought it was best. Unfortunately my way of doing the right things was not appreciated. Or it was appreciated, but too late. It's very hard to start something having no infrastructure, no human resource, the most important for AIESEC. Since I was in charge of the Talent Management area, I managed to attract some cool people that believed in AIESEC Albania.

At the same time I was selected to be faci at the National Conference of AIESEC Switzerland, which is known to be one of the best conferences in the network, because the unique experiences it provides for facis and for the delegates. It was one of the coolest experiences for me. I felt there at the right place, in the right environment where I've learned so many, thing I haven't felt for some time. I was looking for such an experience, where I can develop and learn. I am grateful to have been part of such an amazing conference team.

I was also selected to be part of the Global Support Team of Integrated Experiences (team experiences & exchange experiences). Another one I truly believed in, as I was raised in a culture that was fighting for this one. Being part of a global, virtual team was cool and challenging at the same time.

Being back from Switzerland, in Albania I realized how important is the MC role to organize the national conference, so I decided I will give everything to make a memorable conference for the Albanian AIESECers. Unfortunately I didn't get this chance.

Since I was accused that I am too aggressive, too strict, etc. the team turned against me and I was forced to leave the team and Albania. The moment I said good-bye to Ergita, was one of the most emotional feeling I felt in years. I never thought I would cry so much. But at the same time, I knew I will be ok. Whenever I think about it I have tears in my eyes. I wish the good intentions I had were seen, I wish the team trusted me more, I wish I would have expressed better my good intentions, I wish all of them took it seriously the way I took it. I spent a lot of sleepless nights thinking about this. It affected me a lot. There were so many things that weren't ok, but I realized how important are personal relationships, when it comes to professional work. The thing I regret the most is the fact that I wasn't let to finish what I started. And now it's frustrating when some members are writing to me when they need help or when some things that I had to fight for and weren't accepted were implemented afterwards. I wish the team would have been more wise and see the bigger picture and focus more on long-term things, than short-term ones.

This is already in the past and once with the end of 2012 it will not matter anymore. And I appreciate that 2012 did not let me down and showed me that after every storm comes the rainbow. A Parisian rainbow. So 2013 will begin with a HR internship at GE. It's 2012's way of showing to me that no matter what, things will turn out the best way for me.

Thank you 2012 for teaching me the following:
  • If you will not ask, you will not be given
  • It's not enough to have good intentions, you have to prove so that every single moment
  • People are jealous and incompetent and will not lose an opportunity to bring the competent ones down
  • Managing those people is something good intended people are learning every day
  • Responsibility
  • What doesn't kill you, indeed makes you stronger
  • The "how things are done" is sometimes more appreciated than the result itself
  • That last-minute miracle is something as real as a Christmas tree
  • Good things happen to good people, no matter what crazy things they will be dragged into

2012 you have been crazy, intense, reckless, you punched me in the stomach and when I got up you punched me in the face and then you rewarded me for no reason. All in all, if I draw the line, I acheived most of my goals for 2012. I was expecting you to be more smooth, especially after 2011, but I guess you just wanted to teach me all those things above. And I thank you for that! :)

2013, I have great expectations from you and I know you have from me, too. I want to become a better person and realize some of my dreams. And this time, I will pay more attention at the "how", but the results at the same time. This is my promise for you. And I will make them happen. Cuz, I'm committed like that.

For a positively memorable 2013 a mash-up of all 2012 songs, since I couldn't pick just one.

My 2012 Story I

My 2012 was sooooo... I can't even put a label on it. It was full of ups and downs and ups and downs downs downs and again ups. :) It was a year full of learning points. And yes... You learn the most from the "downs". I'll get back to the learning points.

It started with me being responsible for bringing people from 110 countries in Hungary for a conference. The pressure was so high, as everyone worked so hard for it and imagining a conference with no delegates, because they did not get the visa, was my nightmare. Meanwhile I was having my exams in 2 weeks, while being online all the time with my team in Hungary. It was a crazy period and then the conference began, where everything happened super fast. The conference ended and it left me with a big question mark "What now?".

I lived the expat life in Budapest afterwards. Going out, birthdays, good-byes, travelling, etc. It was cool, but the pressure of not finding someone for the room I was renting was terrible. I sorted that out somehow and I was back in Romania, where I had only one thing: my Masters. Therefore I was travelling almost every week to Cluj to go for classes and while looking for something to do. I wanted a job in Cluj at the beginning, but I wasn't sure about that.

I went with my printed CVs at a Career Fair and met there some AIESECers, of course. One just told me there is an available HR position in an IT company and in one hour I had the interview already. Once again it was proven to me the power of the AIESEC network. The interview was cool, but I didn't know exactly how things will turn out.

The answer for the interview was not showing up and I decided that I will not put my life on hold for a simple "YES/NO" answer, which could have changed everything, but still I hated the fact that my life depends on a simple answer. So I just went on with the plans I had: being a volunteer for the Film Festival was one of them. I had a good time there and I am happy I made that decision.

During the Film Festival I realized I still want to do something in AIESEC and so I started to write an application. It's the way you start everything in AIESEC. In 2009 in Portugal I met someone that was working for an AIESEC Expansion. I felt so inspired by that person that had the ambition to start AIESEC in a new country, to put another country on the AIESEC map, the impact this ambition would have. I don't know if he remembers me from that moment, but it was really cool to see Daudo and his team-mate (I think Marco was his name) in the ISCTE Uni cafeteria planning to make AIESEC Mozambique happen.

Since then I had this in my mind that opening a new AIESEC country would be such an amazing opportunity. Since I wanted to stick to Europe, because I have have my cultural experience outside Europe before, the European countries AIESEC was expanding were: Luxembourg and Albania. I had the impression that in Albania, AIESEC would have a bigger impact, so I chose to apply for the Expansion Team of AIESEC Albania. And I was selected. And if I would have taken the HR position in that IT company I would have still gone for Albania.

Then I had my exam session which turned out to be the best one in years, according to my grades. Then, summer came by and I spent most of it at home. It was cool, because I got the chance to enjoy my grandma's garden and its fruits and vegetables and spending time with my family. I also got the chance to chair a local conference of AIESEC Sibiu. It was such a cool experience, even though it was a small conference, I felt AIESEC Sibiu being a true family. I remember during the parties being on skype with Ersida, helping her to raise her EP Form. Even though I was exhausted, it just felt right to do that late at night. I didn't know then that Ersida will be the first realized EP of AIESEC Albania, the first AIESEC Albania member that will experience a new opportunity abroad.

At the end of the summer things started to become a bit more crazy. Everything was in a rush. I went with my family for a 5 days vacation in my beloved Istanbul. It was amazing to be there again after 2 years, but it wasn't the same without my crazy Kurtulusians. We went for one day at the Bulgarian Black Sea, where I had a very good time. I love the sea. I so love it!  Coming back home, I had few days before hitting the road again to Albania for a longer period this time. Unfortunately my grandpa got very sick and he had the first of the 3 surgeries he had in 2.5 months. I postponed my departure for few days, so I can be with my family a bit more. Before leaving I had such a soul-storm, but I was lucky that my parents supported me to deliver on the commitment I took.

That would be it for the first part of my 2012 story.

Friday, June 22, 2012

About Commitment...

WOW! It's been 2 years since my last post. One reason I stopped writing was that I had this stupid idea that people will perceive me as vulnerable, so I just wrote for myslef some notes. 

A lot of things happened since 2 years ago. But now I would like to write about my last experience as Congress Committee VP for Delegate Servicing at Global Leaders' Summit Hungary 2012. 

I was very confident when I applied and then very excited about the whole year ahead of us as a core team. I was supposed to have an internship while working for the conference. Thank God that didn't happen, cuz maybe now I would still be in Budapest.

Ok, regarding commitment. It is one of my strengths. And by accepting this role, I was also committing to a one-year position for the first time. I wanted to see if I can live up to the challenge.

Why was it challenging? First of all, because I was living with my parents again, after 3.5 years of living on my own. Because I had nothing happening in my life at that time besides this "job", which for the first half of the term I was barely doing something, virtually, which gave me the feeling of being useless. With this a lot of questions pop into your mind like: "Is this really worth it?'. And then I realized something: you can never figure out if it's worth it or not along the way, but at the end of the experience, when you draw the line. And then every experience, good or bad, comes with a lot of learning points.

Things were spicing up when I got an internship offer, which according to the JD was the job of my dreams. And then again, you start putting everything in the balance: Should I stick to the one-year commitment I took which barely offers me anything both professional and personal or should I just take the internship which would give me so much on the professional side (I can't guarantee for personal)?

Personally speaking, it was damn hard. I wasn't expecting much, but I was given nothing. Nothing at all. I wasn't expecting for anyone to pick me up at 3 am in a frozen night of March at minus 15 degrees  (when I had to wait for an hour for the bus station to be opened, so I can sleep there until 8, when I met one of my team-mates). I wasn't expecting to take a trip of around 15 hours to present a roll-call in front of a plenary and that is all. I wasn't expecting that if I had to stay in Budapest for a week, I was promised accommodation only for 2 nights. I wasn't expecting people to be super friendly at the beginning. I wasn't expecting for my team-mates to trust me right-away. But I did expect them to trust me after few months, I did expect them to care more than the work and the general things. I did expect them to understand that in order to be present, I need more cooperation. I did expect them to speak more English. I did expect them to appreciate my flexibility and not push it to the limits. I may have not lived up to the expectations at all, but I did expect few lines about my work at the end, even if those were meaningless.

So yes, I did commit, while not receiving much, personally or professionally. Cuz I convinced my self that "in the end it will definitely be worth it". But in the end, I was given more slaps, instead of hand shakes. So, there's another question popping into my mind: "Have I lost one year of my life for nothing?". For sure not. I learned a lot. I learned to be more diplomatic, to not let my emotions out that easily, to be more selective with people I choose to spend my time with, to have a clue if it's worth to invest or not my time.

But in the end, I think that it was just about that incompatibility between the 2 "entities". Regardless the flexibility or tolerance, it was just not working.

Another lesson is about when you learn to say STOP! Because in this case, I did stick to the commitment, but no "entity" was happy. But you can live with it, on the professional side. On personal side, it's another story.

The commitment I took was to myself, in the first place, and afterwards for the conference. So I think I didn't want to break this "self-commitment". 

I am not expecting pink unicorns to fly around in my life all the time, because there will be no lessons to learn and no posts to write after 2 years.