I can say with 100% certainty that I was born screaming Whyyyyy!
Everywhere I look it pops in my head: Why? Why? Why?Why?Why?Why?
I thought that it would be interesting for me to take a moment, look back and closer to what I have been doing professionally. I hope these stories and personal truths, I became aware over the years, will inspire you to go ahead, the least I can do.
When I was little, growing big inside a tiny country like Moldova, I was tortured by this question all the time. Why?
Why can't somebody explain please things properly and basically give me answers- besides climbing trees and eating anything edible this was my main concern.
We were building our house (ground up, even the bricks were hand made (clay+water+sun+hay+time) it took years and even now the house is still a project in progress. One day when my father was installing the electrical sockets into the walls, I took two nails in my hands and introduced them into one socket, both at the same time. Something stopped me just when the nails almost touched the cabling inside. It was a question, of course.
-What is going to happen if I do that, father? I asked my father.
He ran towards me and took the nails away. He seemed somewhat troubled. I was about to electrocute myself.
-You are going to die, he said.
-What does it mean to die, father? I, of course, asked.
I believe he did not have a very precise answer because here I am, in the middle of nowhere, looking for answers. My answers.
Over time the question became: What does it mean to live? Consider this the Master Question. The journey within is the a quest for the Master Answer.
Let's take a look now at what I have been doing with my time:
1.Professional fashion model (around the world)/Fashion/Creative arts/Performing/Photography
I have already extensively talked about this experience but still there are some more facts I would like to mention. This first work engagement was ground shattering for me.
I was taken apart, thrown into hot and cold water, asked to smile and look beautiful the whole time, do not even think about sweating or having human needs. Make money. I had to learn to swim in boiling bloody water and hold my breath for months. Here is what I also learned:
never give the passport to anyone
always read anything you are signing
to present clothes, jewelry in front of an audience
find my way around, even around villages in China, in the dark.
how the body speaks and how to use emotions, performance, music and the setting to express the idea behind a creation
take care of your body. I lived in the same apartments with addicts and basically broken people. This road is always a dead end.
respect creative people. Creativity is life in material form.
After having honored my last contract I went back to Moldova to nothing but the room full of books I have been sending home from Shanghai & Co. What now? I kept myself busy.
Goethe-Zertifikat Deutsch C1 - got that from Goethe Institut Chisinau. Funny, my professor from the University was there!
I also candidate myself for the Bundestag Scholarship that would have allowed me to work for a year with a Bundestag Abgeordnete. I failed (maybe made a fool of myself) but the interview was an experience in itself.
2. Aupair Mädchen @ Frankfurt am Main, Germany
It took me a couple of months to get the visa for Germany as a Moldovan citizen, to sign the documents and the contract with the agency. At that time, it was very difficult to get out of the country as a Moldovan. During the interview with the ambassador's wife, at the German embassy in Chisinau, she asked: What are you going to do there? Help with the kids and around the house a little bit, I said. Little did I know.
This experience taught me:
rich people are not better of - they were fighting a lot in their beautiful villa close to the city center. I was given a room in the basement, it was arranged OK but no window, just a small opening. The basement was fully equipped and stoked with food for a 3 year famine. I was not to touch any books. Could I even read? - that was the look I got a lot.
domestic violence is even more damaging there because it happens inside silent beautiful homes. The father was hitting the older son (6 years old) every evening when coming back from work. I did not understand why the mother did not stop that. The boy was screaming and crying like hell but she didn't do anything. When the father came home and took his belt off, the boy was already running away. He has been seeing a psychiatrist for a long time, before I got there.
prejudice is burning like hell. Double standards are not my thing, not at all. I was given clothes and a pair of shoes to wear when going outside. The neighbors are watching! I was told. The same clothes were taken back when in 2 weeks time I left. Payed my flight back, thank you very much!
rich people feel entitled to use anyone around just to get what they need. Speaking a good level of German saved my skin in that environment otherwise I don't know what would have happened. I was the Moldovan girl asked to wash everything, even the underwear of all in the house. Did not do that. I left soon after.
Here I was, again in Moldova. Had to be creative and come up with a plan again. My father was not there, my mother was struggling, my sister was living her life.
I decided to go back to study, this time in Moldova. Was accepted, tax free even. I will study Psychology, take things slowly and try to find a way, I told to myself. Found a place to rent in Chisinau. Cleaned it. Moved in. How would I pay for it? That I would have to figure out still. Not having to pay for the studies was already such a great relief.
For a couple of months I did that. But at some point I could't make it work anymore, not because I was not interested, I was even getting good grades. I was surrounded by all these happy, fresh out of the oven, pretty young people that I could not related with. The first work experience unwrapped the reality for me in such a brutal way and I could not understand this artificially sweetened version of life. I gave up and looked for a job.
3. Customer Care Representative @ Italian Company - Moldova, Chisinau IT/Communication/Logistics
This is one of those seemingly innocent experiences that turn your life around. Only a crazy person would take this one, under the circumstances I was and took it. Will not go into details but straight to the point. Here I learned (the hard way):
Italian language and the fact that this language is used to wrap thoughts in a thick layer of emotions, falling from above like meteorites. Hitting just when you are not paying attention. Someone not good at social cues should pay extra attention with Italians. There will be blood and brains everywhere.
customer care is not a job is a way of being. Taking care of people's business is something I learned to do here.
hunger - welcomed it again in my life. Sometimes I only had the biscuits in the office to eat.
courage -the power to move in a war zone looking for a way to be, even if standing up might make you visible and exposed to being shot in the head.
perfection is outdated - when standing in front of an unknown thing that you have to do in order to move on, just do it. No need for a prefabricated strategy. Learning by doing is the way.
success is a step by step process - but you should determine the meaning of it for yourself. For myself, it is always related to feeling heard, seen, understood, loved, feeling that I am progressing, sharing and improving.
Left this one too because that is the journey within. When Master Question is asking for answers I cannot provide, if I choose to bend and stay put when I should shout and speak up, there is no other solution than leave. When my principles are stepped over, because that is simply how a particular situation is made and functioning, I have to leave looking for a more suitable place.
4.Customer Care Representative @ Belgian Company - Moldova, Chisinau/Logistics/Warehousing
At that time foreign companies were outsourcing their back office operations, IT departments, customer care, sales, admin like crazy to places such as Moldova, where highly qualified and cheap workforce could be found.
Here I learned:
data analysis and data handling. Big data preview :)
operations coordination from the cock pit Let me land the plane for you! I had nothing to do with planes but with huge containers, silos and traffic in and out of warehouses.
continuous learning is the mother of life - this team was lucky to have a woman who was not just a face walking around. This woman was the boss.
team leaders' role- these people must know what they are doing, they must create a safe space where people can express themselves, they must fight for their people and they must put them first. Having an incompetent team leader is so discouraging. In such situations my survival instincts are triggered and I either try to do something or leave, if the situation asks for it.
inspiring colleagues - inspiring people tend to spend time with other inspiring people
After this experience I left Moldova and did not return ever since.
Next time will tell you stories from the shore of Mosel where exquisite wines and crazy witches are produced. Stories from an Italian castle and the loud chef in the kitchen, arriving to my most recent job started a few weeks ago.
Remember that to get any of these jobs I went through hundreds of interviews, I had to convince people that I am worth the trust and the investment, which I am. Might talk about that in a different article.