Aug 23, 2015

About Love and Self Love

A friend of mine has a horrible family, with a particularly horrible mother. Well, maybe there are mothers who are worse than this, but this one has my and Carrie's blood boiling.
 
My friend - whom we will call Ellie - is the sweetest person you would ever meet. I met her through Carrie, basically (or maybe I met Carrie through Ellie, I don't remember), and ever since then she has been in this terrible situation. She was working (and still is) at this company where she was being exploited like, really, out of the pages of Das Kapital or something. They had he training people who then they promoted over her, ignored her for promotion, but always moved her from one problem area to another, basically because she's good at solving problems. She hates doing so, specially after she had finally managed to get in good terms with her team, and yet, she still keeps with the company, submitting to their moving her from one area to the other and never recognizing her efforts, and even standing in the path of her studies. From what she has told her, the company makes her cover for her coworkers who attend to college, but refuse her the time to do so. Also make her cover for others' vacations but pull her out of her own whenever needed.
 
She complains to us, her friends, but doesn't actually does anything to improve her situation. She remains in a situation of evident abuse, taking it and never speaking up. It can be nerve wracking, so we have tried to understand why is this happening to her. Is it that she needs the money? Well, we all need the money, but being that this job hasn't really let her finish her college degree - she has been struggling through a 4 year block for over fourtheen years now - so it's not really taking her anywhere. One could also say that she already got used to it, but if it were som why is she still complaining for the treatment she gets?
 
Then we've got it: it's her family. Ellie lives with her two older brothers and their mom. Both her brothers are professionals and have college degrees, and yet she's the one stuck with paying the bills at home. Her mother demands it so. Her mother has a pension, which is enough for her to travel to places like Peru, Dubai, Chile and whatever strikes her fancy. Clearly, money isn't an issue at home. The mother don't defend her against he brothers, but she actually makes her feel bad if Ellie as much as dares to complain. The abuse have been taking quite a few interesting shapes. For instance, Ellie's mother raids her daughter's closet and simply appropiates for herself whatever she finds pleasing. As result, Ellie has no formal clothing, only her work clothes and whatever geeky clothes she can find. At one point, Ellie's mother took all of Ellie's sweaters and hats, leaving her with nothing, and not bothering with giving them back to her.
 
As part of this behavior, her mother also has no qualms when it comes to giving away Ellie's things without asking her, and again, when she has complained about it, her mother has replied that she shouldn't be so selfish, and besides, Ellie has money, so she can buy the stuff again. On top of all of that, Ellie tells us as a funny thing how her mother puts down her skills constantly. She can's cook, she can't clean, she's useless, she can't do any sort of art or craft, and so on.
 
For a while now, her mother has been particularly demanding when it comes to gifts. Ellie keeps spending quite large sums on gifts for her birthday, Mother's Day and Christmas on her, taking her out for dinner wherever she wants to go and whenever she wants to go, but in return she has been getting pretty much nothing for her birthday and Christmas. Among her siblings, it seems they don't give each other anything, but the mother demands gifts and treats, and then - at least in the case of Ellie - she can't care enough to reciprocate. For her last birthday, the only thing Ellie got was a cake. Ellie doesn't eat anything sweet.
 
In the light of this, suddenly I understood what was going on with Ellie: she's already accostumed to abuse. For her, taking abuse at her workplace is natural - inspite of the fact that it hurts her - because that's what she's used to at home. She doubts her own feeling because they have been systematically invalidated by her mother, thus, when something hurts her, Ellie tends to believe that she's the problem, that if others do things to her it's because that's alright, and her feeling bad about it, instead of grateful, is wrong. Ellie, even though she's such a sweet girl, can't really appreciate love because she has been denied of it so much, she doesn't love herself either. She knows Carrie and I love her, but I wonder how she matches that knowledge with what surrounds her everyday.
 
After Ellie's last birthday - the first time ever Carrie and I spied the begining of tears in Ellie's eyes as she told us about how off handedly, carelessly, her family dealt about her birthday - Carrie and I were furious. Long after the birthday, the knowledge that her only semblance of a celebration came from our silly gifts and us taking her out for dinner wherever she wanted to go, the knowledge of how her family abuse her burned us. It is hurting her, maybe it's finally getting to the surface. Carrie wishes we could do something, and I wish too, but after much thinking, I realized that this is now our battle. Trying to distract her, take her out as often as we could isn't a solution because her mother could (rightfully) think we are trying to take her away from her family, and forbid Ellie to ever talk to us (inspite the fact that Ellie is already well in ther 30's), with which we would accomplish nothing. This is Ellie's fight and Ellie must fight it in her own terms, at her own time. Even if we could "solve" this for her, Carrie and I would only perpetuate a vicious cycle, making her feel useless and in need to be saved by others.
 
No matter how much we wish to help others, there are battes people have to fight themselves, with their own weapons, their own skills. The conquering of self love is one of them. You can't love someone into loving themselves, and it's dangerous to let them take your love in replacement of their own self-esteem. Dependance of other's love to feel worthy is nothing but masking the problem of low self esteem. So as a friend, what can you do? Support. Be there, listen, hold hands, reassure the person and remind them that they can count on you, but don't fight their battles, those must be wielded by themselves.

Aug 16, 2015

More Updates on my Week

It's been over a month now with Björn and I'm still not 100% used to it's keyboard. Spanish keyboard... damned, I miss the Hungarian keyboard so much!! I guess I'm still quite at odds with my new laptop (or is it a netbook? I think it's a netbook), but we are working quite ok with one another.

Well, this week - series-wise - I've got completely hooked on this Netflix series called Sense8. This series is about eight people from around the world, whose conciousness suddenly get connected among them after the death of a woman - Angelica - who is a sensate who, by her death, gives them a second birth as sensates. What's a sensate? It's like a kind of person who can connect, communicate and share skills with a given group of people, who are called their "cluster". At first they can't control their connection, and seem to be sharing in this open-sensory-channel of theirs all sorts of stuff that only confuses them the more. By the end of the first season (they have 12 episodes for the first season), you are not entirely convinced that they have managed to control their connection, but it seems like they are making progress. The story pushes boundaries, touches many sensitive topics, regarding sexuality and some old-story social topics as well. In my opinion, it pushes hard the sexuality topic, which is nice and sells well in today's occidental society, but it carefully skims over social topics, minding how much it delves into things that - taken with much more seriousness - could really become a political topic and a serious proposal interesting to watch. The second season has been authorized, from what it's heard down the grapewine, so yeah, can's wait to see what will be next!!

This week I've also been a little bit more... "girly", to call it somehow. I've been keeping my facial care regime, which isn't always easy, as I'd rather sleep or read rather than lock myself in the bathroom to wash my face and put on a facial, but truth to be told, once I get to do it, I kind of like it. I'm being quite careful to always do the whole clean-wash-tone-eyecream-facecream-sunblock ritual in the morning - due to which I think I'll have to start waking up even earlier than already - and then the matching clean-wash-tone-eyecream-nightcream ritual in the evening, and that can prove to be rather tiresome, but oh well. We shall see if 1. I can keep doing it, and 2. what effects may it yield in the long run. It's a tad of pampering, and my skin feels a bit better, but then again, I'm noticing a bit of oilier skin, though I suspect that's due to my CC cream. Oh dear, yes, I've a CC cream.

A CC cream is like a BB cream, only with more pigmentation. A CC cream is a moisturizing cream with a sunblocking and just a dab of color. Like a very-very light foundation you can use on its own to even out your skin tone. I'm basically using it like a sort of "trainer foundation", since I'm still not very fond of make up. Actually, the other day I put on make up to go to a forum, and the whole day I felt like I had his mask glued to my face, and I wanted nothing but to scratch it off. My coworkers commented on it, said it looked nice and very natural, bu I didn't feel comfortable in the least with it. I guess I have no practice still wih make up, and maybe I should try and practice more, but damned, it feels stiff on my face and it looks so... I don't know, weird. I guess I just don't know how to blend the color properly make the base look well, but still... Well, one day, maybe. Who knows?

Along with the make up, I've been also wearing more dresses, ad pulled out some of my shorter dresses, which I combined with my opaque thighs and legwarmers. I love legwarmers! It's absolutely not a thing here, and I haven't seen anyone else in hear wear them, and everbody around me goes "Flashdance" when they see them - and really, I don't like much being compared to Jennifer Beal - but I've been taking the chance to be feminine on my own terms. I do my best not to wear them in front of my boss, since he has this ideas about how we should look, and I guess my legwarmers go against his idea of Armani-suit-clad-money-talking-professionals, but I still try to wear them as often as I can. And that's not very often, considering that I only have three of them. Naturally, as you can guess, my next trip to Hungary will include a mandatory stop at some of my favorite stocking stores to stock up on opaque thighs and legwarmers. And of course, a couple of stops at my favorite clothing stores to get the kind of short skirts and dresses that can showcase my latest love for opaque thighs and legwarmers.

This "newfound" passion for clothes and skincare is kind of a product of the changes going in me body-wise. I'm closer to my ideal weight (the one that gives me a body-mass index of 22.5), and I'm already thinking in pushing that a little more, go for an index of 20. I'm getting more and more Narcissistic, which  love, and want to do stuff like, I don't know, be naked for as much time as possible. I'm just so pleased and so in love with my body! For over a year I've been careful of my diet, and getting some exercise, and then some daily exercise. I can't tell you that I'm hitting the gym regularly, but I've some rutines, and I try to do something more than my daily 35 minutes each morning every week, even if it happens only once a week. Today I actually found something I might be able to add to my weekly program: The "90 Minutos Powerade" or "Powerade 90 Minutes". It's a program of two 45-minute free exercise classes that's held every Sunday at the Capital city's Metropolitan Park, which is better known as La Sabana, right in front of my workplace. The first class - at least today - is a kickboxing class, which was quite demanding and I didn't like so much. The second one I liked better and it was a zumba class. I actually thought it was all about zumba, so the kickboxing came as a surprise for me, but I still did it.

I had decided to go with a friend of mine, who has been asisting for a while now, though she only goes for the zumba class.

This activity, I believe, is part of a municipal initiative - or maybe a Health Ministry - to incentivate people to be healthier. In several communities now you can find exercise machines at the parks for people to go there and exercise at no cost, and now this sort of fitness activities are also held, so that people who want to be healthy and fit don't feel constrained for economical matters. The success of the program was evident in the fact that, thought it was a cloudy day and it stared rainig at some point, the area for the program was filled to capacity and people weren't leaving even in spite of the rain.

Every week I plan to go to the gym at least two times, and end up going one or none, but with the discovery of the 90 Minutes, I think I could make sure to add a little more of fitness into my week, and so help myself reach my goal. Who knows? Maybe in a year I'll be posting pictures of my hard abs. ^_^

Aug 9, 2015

My Week

I don'thave a specific topic for today to talk to you about, so I'll simply go on rambling about my week. Is that ok? Well, I hope so, because that's what you are going to get.

This week I had my monthly appointment with my nutritionist, and my results were rather good. I'm not entirely trusting those numbers, since last week was hell week, and I tend to gain back some weight after hell week, ut I guess we shall see about that next month. As I stand right now, I'm only 2 kg (about 4 pounds) from my ideal weight. I'm already in the good zone, mind you, with a good body mass index and healthy percentage of fat on my frame, but he nutritionist says it's better to bring it to this ideal weight, so I can keep it easier. I've been thinking about it, and told her that once I get to this ideal weight, I'd like to consider to push it a little lower, since the hormonal change at 40 is coming close, and I'd like to have room for changes. I told her about my goal and she found it reasonable. However, we shall see how I do n getting to the ideal weight first and then we'll talk about bringing my body mass index to 20.

This month I don't have any crazy plans to adhere to. No hell weeks, no shake-days, just regular diet. And should work a little bit more on my exercise. I've been taking a little bit more seriously my beauty regime, keeping up the facial program I made for myself, and doing that annoying rutine of facial care in the morning and in at night, which has me considering rescheduling my waking hours, so maybe I can get to the office in time to get a good spot at the parking lot. Hell, it's taking me up to 20 more minutes to get ready just because I need to do my face! And I'm not even wearing make up! It's so much time. Yes,of  course there are results, like a much rested look, softer skin, more even tone, but still, I have to get used to the time it demands to do so much for your face. And well, I must admit that I like those minutes of pampering, they feel good. :-) So yes, I bitch about it now, but it's not so bad, just a matter of readjusting my schedule to fit all my new activities in.

The plan also has the advantage that it pushes me to keep up my gym appointments, since I only have two days open to go to the gym - either way, at the gym I go, you can only schedule two appointments a week - so I make my best to take them and use them. Also came recently to flirt with the idea of joining a free zumba classes at our Metropolitan Park.

To be honest, I do see the changes on my body, and I do feel them as well. I guess this is what's pushing me to do more. Hey, I gave up weight, I'm being more active, why not see if I can improve other areas as well?

Yesterday we had our second class at the Graduation Accounting Seminar, and honestly, I'm quite pleased with the teacher. This time around our team has been slacking a tad, but I'm sure we will soon pick up the pace and make things work. We had to take in another member, which our coordinator, Adry, didn't want, but we were told that we either brought up our team members to 4 or we wouldn't graduate. A team was dismembered, since they didn't have a company to work with, so I was quick to pick the one of them that seemed to be the best, a girl named Aracelly. I don't care if I came out looking rude to the other guy, we had a bad experience already in the last Seminar, so I rather pick the strongest of the lot. We met today via Skype and organized our work, decided on internal deadlines, and are now off to do our part. I'm dealing with the Methodology chapter. I picked that one, since I did it for the past Seminar and did a darn good job out of it. :-)  Personally, I consider this chapter to be stupid. I don't get why a thesis (in the end we make a thesis) must devote a chapter to explaining the research approach one uses to dothe job. Fuck, that should be selfexplanatory, doesn't it? What matters is the processing of the information, not all the academic crap about whether we are going qualitative or quantitative, exploratory or explanatory... but I'll do it, since I have those terms and stuff fresher in my head, and I'm organized enough to see the whole concept through. And I'm good at it, mind you.

I'm reading currently the last book of the Millenium trilogy, by Stieg Larsson. I liked the first book, but not so much the second. This third one is getting on my good graces. We shall see how it ends, though. Great books can be completely fucked up with a bad ending.


I'm also working on my smashbook for Carrie, which is taking quite some time. I don't get it, I was able to work on two within a year and send them to my friends, but then I can't seem to be able to finish one in over a year and a half. It's amazing. And it's not like such a big production either! Well, I do go changing layouts, and have printed out and cut out far more pictures that what I'll use at all, but still, that's not the point. The point is that it's taking me a freaking lot of time, and I'm about to ask for another deadline to get it done. Have I tackled more for this that what I can handle; Nah, I refuse to believe that. I've to complete ten more spreads, all of them already planned out, though I'm considering - again - to change some, replace them for other topics I like better currently, and then add some special stuff... if I can pull that. It's going to be cool, and I hope Carrie will like it, specially because I'm busting my ass here doing them for her.

Work is going on as usual. I'm disappointed by a lot of the stuff that's going on, and would even say that I'm heartbroken about it. It's really bad when someone you admired let's you down and shows you they are no better than the incompetent, slime, corrupt bastards you despise so much. It's tiresome to go around, looking ahead of you.

Aug 1, 2015

Blessed Lughnasadh!

Source: meetup.com
The time of the year has come, when we celebrate the first results of our work. Yes, it's the first harvest, a celebration of bread and grain, when we first start to see the yields of our many efforts. Before we even break under the high Sun, before we get disheartened for working so much and maybe not seeing anything "of use", Mother Nature sends forth the first results, and we can see, that yes, what we have put out has returned to us.

This celebration, for me, is about the first yieldings of our work, be it a suficient work or not. It gives us a peak of what's to come in the next two harvests. It's kind of interesting how this coincides in time with the first and second semesters. As August comes, you already know how good your work was in the first semester and whether you need to improve in the second. Schoolwise, in those places where school years start in September, as August starts, students have settled in already about the end of the previous year and now they can start seeing the results of ther efforts. Not only for the grades that they already know but now, but it's a great moment to make balance of how have we studied, how have we worked and what could be improved. I mean here not only to study harder, but maybe also, not to obsess so much about school and learn to have the needed down time to have a happy life, a life into which the results of school are well welcomed.

I'm midway through my graduation seminars, and I indeed learned a few things. I could be moe organized about my time, I could study more efficiently, and when I make a program and stick to it, things come out wonderfully. I've been a little chaotic lately about my finances, but I'm dealing with it already. It sets me back  some on my very tightly knit plans, but yes, the lesson here is: "Hey girl! Live a little! It's OK!". Know your measure, because if you have plans, you shouldn't be the one stone in your own road towards getting to them, but it's ok to loose your corset too. So it will take a little bit more of time, so what? There's more time than life, anyways, right?

But then, it's time to get back on track, and you should learn to do it too, before it's too late. As part of this, for instance, I've got back on track with my personal accounting, and yes, though in debts still, it feels good to know I've gone through all my bills, all my vouchers and set it all. I'm ready to continue my year with a firmer grasp on my wallet.

Source: www.vogue.in
One thing that this harvest brought to me - through some videos I've been watching - is a renewed interest in skin care and hair care. I decided to be more involved with my skin, get back to my morning and evening regimes and start making use of the many facials I've bought. I have a Brightening Moisturizing Mask by L'Occitane, which I've purchased a while back and never got to use! Hell, and that thing wasn't cheap either!! So I decided to make a routine for myself, a weekly plan for facials, including this one twice a week (I need to use it up before it expires), and then one day for a wonderful grape facial by Oriflame, and another for an aloe vera facial, also from Oriflame. I've also decided to start making a closing up towards make up again, which makes sense not so much because I'm 40, but because I've a make up bag full of it and eventually I'd like to use it... before I end up again, throwing out forty pieces of lipstick because they are too old and I didn't even used them. So here I am, googling and learning about the differences between BB and CC creams, and deciding that, for a no-make-up person like me, starting out with a little of BB or CC cream would be just perfect. Lets build up from there on, though I don't think I'll ever end up like a make up diva, with full on make up and a plastic face so different from my own, butI guess this could be a nice start.

Hair care used to be a huge part of my life, back when I had waist long locks, but in the last years my only hair care was brush it and use shampoo. Yes, that was it. No conditioner, no hairdrying, no creams, no nothing. just that. Though I still avoid any heat source around my hair, and conditioner, I'm getting close again to regenerating, moisturizing and anti-frizz products, I'm also trying to wear it undone as often as possible, so it doesn't break as much, but I'm also thinking about investing in a couple of wigs, so I can give my hair a break from now and then, and go to work while protecting it from the elements. But that's a little further ahead.

Finally, a sad piece of news: my beloved cat, Hyperion, passed away this Wednesday. It seems he was poisoned. Well, you sure can guess how deeply sad this makes me. Strangely, though I cry every time I watch a Disney or a Pixar movie, or any time I see someone else cry, when facing loss, I only cry when I'm alone, and it disturbs me to cry my pain in front of others. So I've cried for my friend, my familiar, my dear Hyperion, and did it alone. He was the greatest, most beautiful and gentle cat I have ever had the honor to meet. A true sweetheart, always so tender and friendly, and loved to be taken care of. He could stay in your lap receiving loads of petting like no other cat I had ever known. He had a way of looking at you and conveying what he felt, what he wished to say. His eyes could make you feel loved, and the way in which he sometimes leaned into ou, particularly when you were carrying him, made you feel like it was only the two of you in the world. Hyperion was a real charmer. His death was not only undeserved, but an act of cowardice and unworthy of any living being. An innocent cat, loved and admired by many, whom at least had three different human households (I like to think we were his primary humans), all of which will sourly miss him. His death has brought mourning, for he wasn't an animal, like many like to think, he was a family member, someone who had earned his place in the life of many, humans and other felines alike, and who can't be replaced. I guess I've told you before that Hyperion had a cat-wife of sorts, Cirmi, who was the mother of his kittens in 2011. Those kittens died and she got terribly disturbed, living now with serious traumas that make her to become nearly obssessively attached to cats she lives with. Well, with Hyperion's death, Cirmi has been showing again the same restless, desperate behavior she displayed with the loss of Tsuki and Nini, her children.

We buried Hippie (Hyperion's nickname) in the backyard, exactly at the spot he loved the most. He leaves behind a life that touched many lives with love. The harvest those who have taken his life will be one of sour grapes, for I believe that the pain he has caused to others will seep into his days and turn to ash the food in his mouth. As for me, memories of Hippie plague my mind, I remember him hopping on my bed and demanding attention while I tried to blog or study in a way that commanded undivided attention in the most lovely and irresistible of way. I'll get over it, learn to live with Cirmi and Mûzli, loving them for who they are instead of spending every second sad because they are nothing like Hyperion was.

Jul 26, 2015

LovelyWeekend

This weekend I decided to do something completely unreasonable, stupid - from a financial perspective - and fuck the fact that I've a debt on my credit card I should be working on (as in paying out), and decided - in a rather impromptu manner - to spend the weekend in a rather expensive hotel just because my friend Carrie had a work related activity there, so we could spend her free time together doing what we do best when we are together: watch movies and talk our heads off. It was indeed a wonderful weekend, and though not as full of movies and videos as we would normally have, we do tapped a new source of online videos that gave us lots of material to giggle and to play with for future fics. ^_^

Picture found on google.
In the moments where Carrie had to go to her work stuff, I was simply chilling, taking bubble baths, reading, and goofing around youtube.com. It was in one of these goofing sessions, while jumping from video to video - you know the drill, you start with something quite inoffensive, like "filofax planners" and somehow end up in the channel about 100 ways to braid your hair - I suddenly found myself on the channel of a young Mexican girl who calls herself Miumiku Miau. She?s so lovely and so funny that I immediatelly got hooked on her channel. She talks mainly about make up and wigs - which she's a fan of - and also shows how to do different types of Asian inspired looks.

The search that landed me on her channel was one where I started to jump from video to video about Korean girls either taking off their make up, or putting it on. The thing about both Miumiku and these girls, is that their actual face is completely different from the one they  paint on.

Googled picture.
Videos of women putting on tons of make up to beautify themselves, going from "ugly" to "gorgeous" are quite a thing, and these videos of Korean girls and their radical transformations are something that teases that morbid little bone in you. I mean, really, you actually see in a video, someone become someone completely else. Some videos are even about how these girls' boyfriends react the frst time they see them without make up, which, yes I don't find it so funny.

This whole thing got me thinking about the image we have of ourselves. Back in my days, make up was already invented - hehehehe - and us girls were quite on it. Some of us didn't wear make up because our parents didn't consider it good for us to start wearing make up so early on - though we all sneaked into our mom's make up stash and played with it, practiced - and so though the thing was there, we had a much more conservative use of it. We learned tips and styles from our mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and tried to copy styles from what we saw on magazines and TV. Today's youth has endless online resources to educate themselves in the art of make up, as well as enough material to convince themselves they need it.

In my time, make up was supposed to be a tool to highlight your best features: bring out the color of your eyes, the shape of our mouth, your cheekbones... Yes, it was also a tool to conceal perceived imperfections, but it was more about your actual face and what could you do to bring out your natural features. What goes on today, is nearly a surgical procedure with no scalpel, but al smeared on with coats after coats of make up. Though the videos are entertaining, what are they saying to our girls? Is it true that they are ugly without make up? Is it true that they are born ugly and must cover ther faces with a new one? One you can't possibly be born with? Are we also telling our girls that prolonged use  of make up damages the skin, thus their natural beauty will wilt and die young under the weight of the imposed, artificial face? Are we conscious that we are condemning our girls to a life of always hiding their true faces, made believe that who they truly are is a thing of shame?

Though the videos are funny to watch, and I'm hooked, I think we should tell our girls that their faces are nothing to be ashamed of. Anyone judging them for it, anyone picking them for their make up, rejecting them for their real faces, are as supeficial as make up itself. It's ok to be you, so be you, not your beauty products. After all, you are the one taking you to where you want to be, not your foundaion.

Jul 19, 2015

Stalling

I've been kinda stuck this week, truth to be told. Classes start next week, on Saturday, at the university, and we don't even have the syllabus yet to prepare for it. as a matter of fact, we just got the corrections to last semester's paper, for which we already were given the grade in the most obscure way possible. I would say that I'm not complaining, but I am, and I think I have all the right to do so. I mean, really, how can professors expect any seriousness from students when they themselves clearly practice none?

This second part will be about auditory, and since my knowledge of auditng is quite rusty, I borrowed a book from one of my classmates to get up to date. Of course, ask me if I've read it. No, I haven't. I'm actually lagging on a lot of things, including my penpalling, where I'm oddly stuck on a letter, which I started writing but can't seem to be able to continue. Instead I'm caught reading... that second book from the Millenium trilogy. I'd tell you the title, but I'm reading it in Hungarian, and you know how the title is different in the different languages. I think in English goes with something about the girl and the hornet or something like that. However, now I'm hardly even advancing on that because I'm re-reading a fanfic in order to get through a fic I'm writing. And in the meantime, all piles around me. Hell, why do I do this to myself? Oh well, I'm off to continue reading that fanfic.

Jul 12, 2015

A Matter of Jobs

Early this week an article in the national press - in our financial paper, which is unapologerically right winged - revealed that an important part of young university students (this means those students aged 18 to 29 or so), would rather work in the public sector than the private sector. Does this come as a shock? Well, when you are set on trying to destroy the public sector, and paint it in the darkest of lights, it does. For several decades now, the public sector has been constantly shown as inefficient and dishonest. A rather neoliberal plan had been put in motion where different functions of this sector have been transfered to the private sphere, by cutting budgets to make sure it can be made by public institutions and means, and all the while presenting public employees as overpaid lazy people.Of course, many people have been placed for ages in different areas of the public sector who are, indeed, overpaid, incompetent and lazy.

The image of the private sector has also always been portraid as the one sphere where professionals can really grow, where there are chances and where those who really want a chance can get that chance. For ages now, the private sphere as been positioned as the place where you can be creative, where you can be the best you there is, and where - if you are good enough and work hard enough - you can become rich.

Of course this is all a sham, but it has taken years for people to realize that. Yes, there are lazy, overpaid people in the public sector, but so there are in the private sector. The difference is that in the public sector there's a chance to denounce them, while in the private sector there isn't. Truthfully, each company hires and fires whom they please. There's corruption in the public sector, but there's also in the private sector, with the difference that the same act, which would be a crime in the public sector, in the private is simply business, lobbying, and how things are done. There's no crime in it.

As this has become more and more evident, the new generations start seeing past the propaganda and into palpable, real differences, such as the stability and the better wages paid in the public sector, even to lower levels. CEOs can often be paid much better than the President, and many different bosses can pocket obscenely large amoounts of money, far more than the heads of many public institutions, but when it comes to the lower levels, to the "ants", as a friend of mine refers to us, the public ants can actually make a living from their wages, unlike their private sector counterparts. Public employees have stability, so they can invest in a home, studies and so on, without being afraid that at any moment their contract could be rescinded out of the whim of the company. Yes, because no matter how good you are, truth is that your contract often depends on the plans of the company that don't include you. Restructuring, downsizing, change of business, merger, etc.

In a world so ridden by economical crisis, with fear of default everywhere, freshly minted professionals, seek for something that would give them stability and an income that's enough to keep them afloat. Why wouldn't they? The short term thinking that for so long infected many, those who saw growth in job hopping, those who believed that specializing was death and knowing about everything was the future - thus often falling into the trap of always only knowing things marginally, or filling themselves with shallow knowlegde that would sufice for an introduction, bt not real development - they have been left behind. The future is no longer envisioned in brokering, as the ghost of Jerôme Kerviel still haunts many, and the uncertain plans to become a visionary with a company of one owns goes up in smoke at the sight of the hardships experienced in every market. We don't need to be in Greece or Puerto Rico to feel the strain.

The article tried still to tarnish the public sphere, rubbing under the nose of the reader how this sector was overpaid with "useless" pluses, such as anuality (a plus some public employees receive for each worked year), which is often mocked as "paid only because the Earth took another round around the Sun", ignoring the fact that it actually pays for the accumulated experience employees gain by staying in the given institution and working there, each day inevitably getting to know better the business they deal with. Many do fall for it, but some perhaps ask themselves why some companies are willing to pay bonuses based on how the company did, or give a fix number of shares for each finished cycle, and then many refuse to pay their workers for their loyalty, their staying, their accumulated experience and improved knowledge. Many private companies seem to build on a constantly rotating base of workers, job hoppers that constantly stay in the early stages of the learning curve, and move away before they could become real assets somewhere. It's an expensive strategy for the company, the constant costs of hiring and raining new workers, the costs of the mistakes of the newbies, and the added cost of severing contracts. It's expensive if you think of the money invested in the training that won't be fully reaped as the worker will leave before reaching a full status, where the worker knows the business of the company so well it starts producing more, finding new ways to do things and actually becoming the productive, creative people we've been told they could become.

For the worker also, well, job hopping can be done only for so long, as we all know that after some time, people become less appealing for hiring. Maybe at 20 you find it easier to adapt from one job to the next, but that's not the case when you are 35 or closer to 40. A large jumble of short term experiences might give you a plethora of little cases on a given field, or many given fields, but it will lack the depth needed to actually produce and create something of value. Today's youth maybe can see that, or so I wish to believe. As we have woken up to the decency of equal marriage, maybe we are also waking up to other truths, like there should be no battle between public and private sector, but more transparency, honesty and decency towards workers in every sector. We wake up from the opium dream and realize that jobs are not some hobby or a funky thing to be oportunistic with, to be shallow about, and that the future rests on our shoulders and not on "oh well, something always comes up".

This is a hopeful matter of jobs: we, as a society, are starting to see the light.