May 19 2018

On hating the boss

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 11:20

I am known to be a blunt person. Diplomacy does not come natural to me, and I treat others the same I expect to be treated. And I am quite resilient, and used to blunt talk, after all I’m a woman engineer in a domain of mostly men. So if I’m doing something wrong, please tell me and give me the proper arguments so maybe I can understand why you think that and I reach the same conclusion. I am a blunt person, because I do not like wasting time. Telling me a story, wrapping up negative feedback in fancy words annoys me. In a professional environment I expect that there are rules I must follow and that my tasks are specified clearly. Sure, there should be room for creativity and innovation, but almost any job is defined by a set of clearly defined activities. I need the boundaries specified clearly, because it is in my interest as well to respect them.

There is nothing that makes me more uncomfortable than hearing “You are doing a great job, and to do even better you have to improve the following…”. Sure, the magical but was avoided, but in my mind it is there, because you just told me that I need to get better, thus, the conclusion is that I am not good enough. And no human being wants to feel inadequate at their job.

I go for and prefer the direct way. If you managed to get the job, you are an adult and expect to be treated like one. Sure, it hurts finding out that you are not doing your job as well as you thought you did, but to overcome limitations it is imperative to know them and if you were unable to determine them yourself, just be grateful to the person opening your eyes. It’s ok to feel offended and defensive in the beginning, but after the rage is gone, and after you cried your eyes out, you have new information to help you adjust your plan to get that promotion.

And if you are working in a big company, which seems to have a generic and sort-of abstract review process, and you do not work in the same office with your direct reviewer (lead/manager), be very aware that if you do not keep track of your achievements, nobody else will, and when review time comes, your achievements might be lost through the cracks.

So stop getting offended and hating your bosses(reviewers), unless they are being unfair to you and obviously having something personal against you, all they are doing is making sure the company profit of your work is maximum and they can further justify the budget invested in you to their bosses. Even if you do not feel like an adult most of the times (I know for sure I don’t) just try to act like one.(I know I do)

Stay safe, stay happy!

May 09 2018

Moving on and letting go

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 0:20

My dear friends we have a problem. As I prepare to move to another city, to another country and start another job, I am getting insomnia thinking of all the things that could go wrong. I am still packing and trying to decide what to leave behind. I am saying goodbye to friends and bleeding money while trying to move everything from Ron to pounds. I just sold my car, that I barely had for a year and a half. And I don’t usually get attached to things, but this car was one of the best investments I ever did. I am happy though, because it is getting some awesome owners that will appreciate it just as much as I do.

The problem that we have is that you see me as this strong, inquisitive, curious and brave person and some of you do not seem to realize how hard this is for me. Because even if I don’t show it properly, because I’m an introvert after all, I am attached to some of you. And it hurts thinking that most probably I will never see many of you again.

And I have to spend two weeks without my cat. And three weeks looking for rent in a country that looks down on Romanian immigrants and uses credit score to decide if you are able to pay rent or not.

And the new job… seems amazing, but amazingly challenging as well. And I am terrified of the culture clashes and the repercussions of me being too blunt and too open and maybe too friendly. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what scares me, I’ve always been good at adapting. Sure between my four walls I will cry in the evening before falling asleep, that is if I can sleep. Because insomnia is one of my oldest friends, that never leaves me alone in challenging times.

And I have a book to write as well and I feel guilty every time I fall behind a page or two.

But saying goodbye to friends is the hardest. Because there are some people that you never think see you as a friend. But they do, it’s just that they have their own life, challenges and responsibilities keeping them busy. And they tend to take you for granted. They always think that there is time. That they will have that beer with you tomorrow or maybe next week. And you think that they are just too busy to see you. They all seem to have so much going on in their lives, that you don’t want to bother them. So we all take each other for granted. You think there is time. That you will maybe meet next week. But you never do. And then somebody moves away, and you realize that you should have bothered them. You should have asked them for a beer, even if rejection hurts. And you should have said yes and got that beer, because who knows what will happen tomorrow.

I am as guilty for taking people for granted just as much as my friends. But I am guilty of being too scared of being rejected. Because if somebody said no to me more than twice, I give up. No need to be a bother, right?

And I am really sorry, I guess I have a long way to go before becoming an adult. I believe after this change I have learned my lesson and do it better next time.

I guess, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Apr 18 2018

On kids

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:58

Last week I was in my home town to baptize my godson. My best friends decided to add me as a family member, so they gave me the honor to be a godmother to their youngest child. I spent the whole week with this 6 month old kid and his 5-years old sister. And their parents kept saying I have potential to be a parent. And it got me thinking.

I’m a self-educated introvert. I did not have the best parents. I mentioned this quite a lot around here. But I am over it. I realized that good or bad, whatever happened to me at their hands it made me the person I am today. I am strong, I am relentless, I am smart and I am driven. There’s a big chance I would not be this person, if my parents would have been more protective, supportive and understanding. Instead I took all my anger, all my disappointment and all my pain and used them as fuel for my willpower. And boy I have a lot of that!

Would I be a good parent? I don’t know. I would probably be better than they were, and this might make my kids weaker than I am. Or maybe not. The truth is, I cannot tell. Only time can tell.

But what I can tell you for sure is that I will adopt. I do not want to risk my body and mind to have my own kids. I will adopt. For multiple reasons. One: we are way too many on this planet already. No need for more people. Second: this will be my “screw you” to this society that allows for people to be born without a chance to a normal life. I will adopt a kid, or two and use the resources I have to give them a fighting chance. I know and I accept that I will probably have to ensure counseling for him or her until adulthood to compensate for their rough start in life. But hey, kids are expensive anyway. ;)

So yeah, you don’t have to worry. I will leave some kind of legacy. I will not fade away silently into nothingness.

Stay safe, stay happy!

Apr 18 2018

End of an era

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 0:06

In 2014 I was crushed into little pieces and all I wanted was for the wind to blow me away. But the wind did not blow me away, it just transported me to a place where I experienced so much personal and professional growth that when I look back at it, I can hardly believe it. Yes, I look back. Because today is was the day when I prepared for taking flight again.

I am excited about the change, but I am terrified at the same time. I am leaving behind a great team, the most awesome mentor that I never even dreamed I would meet and hopefully some friends that I will get to see once in a while.

I just put in my resignation. I am leaving little cozy Sibiu, for the great city of Edinburgh. I am leaving a mountain city, for another mountain city on the coast of the North Sea, I am leaving a continent and moving to a rainy island.

Today it was a cloudy day in Sibiu, just like most people expect for days to be in the UK. It really did not bother me, I have always loved the rain. And yes, the sun might be less visible from Edinburgh, but that will make me treasure more the days when I can see it.

Last year, when I realized I have outgrown this company and this country I was a little scared I would not be able to leave. I am 34 after all, there are some countries (Australia, I think) that do not accept you if you are over 30. But nevertheless, I challenged myself to leave this country until I am 35. I considered 40 at first, but then realized that age is too far away. Finally I have enough money and enough bravery stashed away to do this. Over the years I have been complaining a lot about Romania, maybe it is time to actually have something to compare it to.

If all goes well, by the time I am 40 I will be a UK citizen as well, because this is a long term plan. Moving to another country takes a lot of effort and investment, especially when you really, really want to take a cat with you. And I do. My cat Psihoza, has been with me since 2007, she surpassed the “pet” designation long ago. She is my partner and my dear friend, well as good as a friend a 4 year old can be, because apparently this is the human intelligence a cat can reach. I would say she surpassed that as well, but I’m not cat expert.

There are 42 days left until I will board a plane and then start the struggle of finding a place to rent and navigating through all UK bureaucracy. I’m not looking forward to it, but I will do what I have to do.

I am now awake because I really wanted to write something for my new book, but I’m stuck in such an ugly writers block, that I want to kick myself. I am reading articles and keep hoping it will come to me, while being stressed of the lack o ideas, moving to another country, finishing the last project I am involved at work and while being worried for my cat. “What’s wrong with the cat?” you might be rhetorically asking. Well, because UK has such strict rules when it comes to pet regulation, my cat cannot travel on the same plane with me. So a specialized company must transport it. And they will take her by car, and the ride takes 4 days. 4 days of being in a box, of being let out on a leash just for somebody to clean the box. I am worried of the stress this will put on her and if she is going to reach me and still love me and forgive me for this.

But I guess, I’ll have to wait, hope and see.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Mar 11 2018

Visiting Edinburgh again – day one and a half ;)

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 11:08

When I stepped out of the airport, I felt the rain on my face and a brush of Scotland wind caressed my face. Although the weather app promised good weather in Edinburgh, clearly this was not the case. But it was not cold, even if while landing I’ve seen some patches of snow the rain was warm-ish.
I took a deep breath and prepared for the days to come. I would be here for 7 days, and I have to make the best of them, even if I don’t make it past the interview I am in freaking Edinburgh and I will enjoy my time here.
I got into the Airlink bus that took me to the city and I enjoyed the ride. There is something about Scotland, the small wet stone houses that makes me think time has stopped here. Although Edinburgh is a capital city, it is not as crowded and as noisy as you would expect. Maybe it is the weather, because when it is always wet and cloudy outside, the tendency is to go indoor to enjoy a hot tea or a beer and good music. So I guess that’s what the majority of the people do here, do their chores first and then just run inside to relax.

I got off the bus in Shandwick place and tried to figure out where can I get bus 25 from. That is the bus I needed to get to my hotel. It was raining again and my hat started smelling like a wet sheep. I remember the smell because when I was about 4-5 years old, my parents would leave me with my grandparents in the countryside and my grandfather had a few sheep I used to play with. So I went to cover into the first pub that promised decent fish & chips.

I stayed there admiring the rain outside, enjoying a beer and browsing the internet searching for means to move around. An slowly my brains started digging out memories from two years ago and I installed the Lothian Bus & Tram app, then got myself the M-ticket application and bought myself 6 M-tickets, because I did not want to look for change like crazy when taking the bus.

You have to understand I came mostly unprepared here. I bought the plane ticket on Tuesday, and my plane took off Saturday at 6 AM. I have prepared my luggage on Friday after 10 PM, because I was out with my colleagues that night. I am expecting to find out the next days that I am missing few things.

Anyway, back to my beer and fish & chips. They were great. I dared to leave and struggled to find my bus station. It is quite difficult to do that when you are also navigating via Google Maps in the rain. I missed my bus by a few seconds and a nice Scottish man directed me to a different one that would take me where I wanted to go. I ran to it, activated one of the M-tickets and got on the bus. And a few seconds later my phone died. Because after the latest update, iPhones die when the battery is at 10%. So I used my Samsung Galaxy S8+ to make sure I got off at the right station(this phone – best accidental investment I ever did).

I got to the hotel. My room is below ground level and is smaller than my home-office, no joke. :)) But it is warm and cozy and I get free tea. So, after all – perfect. :D And this is the moment when I realized another fuck up. I forgot the power plug adapter at home. I had two of them since I was in Ireland in 2011, but they were at home, in my electronics box, because leaving on such a short notice and being such an idiot I totally forgot that these guys have different power outlet standards. The hotel owner had a few, and he gladly offered them to me, but my Mac had this sturdy power plug, with these really thick legs that did not fit in the tiny holes of his adapters. So I went again out in the rain to the closest electronics & furniture shop in hope of finding one. I did not get to the shop, because I found one of those neighborhoods electronics shop that have everything. And they had the kind of adapter I needed. So I gladly bought one, told the guy he saved my life and went back to the hotel to resuscitate the iPhone and plug in the laptop because I still needed to go over some topics to prepare for the interview. Now that I was no longer worried I would be stranded here without the necessary electronics, I stopped at Tesco, got some Twinnings Earl Grey tea, Tyrells vegetable chips, bananas and a bottle of water. Honestly, I could live like this every day here. :D

I got back to the hotel, made me a tea and then warm air in the room got to me and just drifted off to sleep for two hours. I woke up, made another tea and got to work. You see, I needed to send in the third chapter of my book, to check if the publisher wants to go ahead with it or not. So I did my best, reviewed what I had and send it in.

I share my bathroom with another room here, but if it is as big as mine, probably I share it with just another person and I’m find with this. There is little chance we ever need the bathroom at the same time, because I have a weird schedule: I go to sleep late and wake up early.

I felt asleep again with the sound of water dripping, because it was still raining. The monotony of this sound acts like a sleeping pill to me, and it was really easy for me to fall asleep.

And I woke up in the morning, decided to stay another 5 minutes in bed and finally managed to get out of the bed at 7:44 am. I made another tea, booted up my Mac for another few hours of study. The plan for today is to leave the hotel at about 1 PM, go for a late lunch and at 5 PM I’m going to a Jazz concert, because I’m in a damn rich cultural city and I plan to enjoy these things I cannot get at home.

The internet at the hotel is crappy, but you cannot have them all I guess.

Bonus for this post: the park in front of the hotel on a rainy day. ;)

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Mar 03 2018

Iuliana’s log, stardate 13409.14

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 15:34

I haven’t been writing on the blog for a while. I did have the urge to, but I seem to be going through a tough time when I don’t feel like anything I do is useful or important enough to mention.

But here I am, trying to fight through it. Because logging your life, keeping a journal is important, that is why psychologists say. And they are absolutely right.

There was a time in my life when I thought everything I was doing was interesting, impressive and meaningful. And I was writing about every single thing with the excitement of a person born the day before. Now here I am, looking at my life, my daily activities and nothing seems worthy of being mentioned here.  It seems, and I feel that way. Rationally I know it is not. So I will try to write here a few thoughts, I will list a few things I have done these days, because maybe if I take the time, if I make the effort to write about them, maybe I will feel like my life is meaningful and still worth it and that I am meaningful.

I cannot pinpoint exactly when my bitter state has started. Maybe after I released my last book. After one of my books is published I have a period of a few months when I have way too much time on my hands. And I start thinking of stupid shit. And usually all that shit is meaningless and goes away as soon as I have stop having time for it. But now it is different, because it hasn’t stopped. My bitterness is growing and festering to the point of metastasis.

I have forsaken the normal way humans live their lives so I find myself forlorn most times. I do not live the normal lifestyle for a 30 year old. I enjoy my reclusive existence and my time  alone, I read, I play my piano, I play with my cat and watch a lot of series(because damn… there are a lot of good series these days). I do not expose myself on Facebook, Instagram and other social networks, not unless there is a serious(professional) reason for that. But I do use them, and I think this is where my bitterness comes from. Everybody seems to be involved in something meaningful and everybody seems to be living their life to the max while I am just… exercising in the gym, working, playing piano, writing some text, writing some code, reading, sleeping. Seriously, this is my routine. And it is not a bad one. I do not go out much, so I don’t spend much. I travel from time to time and talk on the phone with friends and family. I don’t do this often, because I am quite anxious, but I force myself into it. I try to keep my existence at least a little … normal.

But lately, I just feel stuck. I do not like my job, I do not like the house I live in, I do not like the city I live in anymore, I do not like the country I live in(and for good reason, just search on Google Romania corruption 2018), I do not like my life and worst of all… I do not like me. The reason I do not like myself, is obviously all this bitterness I cannot seem to get rid of. And I am so terrified that people will become aware of it and try to distance themselves from me. Or worst, they might try to help. Why do I say this is worst? Because when people try to help me, it makes me feel weak and inept at living. And boy, I do not want to feel that way! Plus, rationally I know there is nothing wrong. I just gotta get my shit together. I am the one who said a few posts ago, that one of the commandments of my career is If you do not like it, change it. I just wish I could apply that to my life! Also, lately I cannot apply that at work either, which frustrates me like crazy. I got promoted to manager, and I never asked for it or wanted it. Of course I could have opposed it a little bit harder, sure. But I work with people that I respect and admire and most times trust their judgement.

But I might have got it wrong this time. Because I am not the managerial kind of person. I do not feel comfortable talking to people about their work and trying to convince or push them to do it right or faster. I do not like to contact them and talk to them just so they feel like I’m paying attention to them. It feels weird. Especially since I know how it feels. I had my manager calling me a little bit way too often to be comfortable and I had the feeling he was checking up on me because he did not trust me on doing my work. And because I know how I felt when he did that, I cannot do it to somebody else.

So I made the decision to change something. I started applying for jobs abroad. A piece of my heart was left in Scotland two years ago, and I started looking for jobs there. I started in November. I’ve passed tests, I’ve passed interviews, or so they say. But rarely a job panned out. And when it did, they did not want to give me the salary I wanted and they did not provide support for relocation either. So I had to  say no. But the ones that took a toll on me were the jobs that I really wanted and lost them. Until now there were four of them. I have the utmost respect for the companies and HR departments that came back to me and told me why I was refused. The ones that hurt the most were the ones that just stopped communication altogether. Because, if it was something in my attitude, or in my coding that made me fail them, I would like to know. Because my mind goes in very dark places trying to find an answer. I started doubting my expertise in this domain. Maybe I am not a good coder. Maybe I am just a fraud, I’ve been able to navigate my way through corporate hierarchy because I have other qualities, but being a good programmer might not be one of them. Maybe I am overestimating myself. Maybe there is something wrong with me that is so disturbing and that some people can see. Maybe I am too old. And so on. I even got to the point where I suspect I was promoted to manager because I’m not good at coding, which makes me even more reluctant about my promotion.

But I do not like it and I will change it. Maybe I am not as smart as I wish I were, maybe I am not as good a coder as I wish I were, maybe I am just … unfit for living. But I am alive, I am still here and I am still fighting. So, I’ll apply to more jobs,  I’ll do more tests, I’ll participate to some more interviews. Because I know that I just need to keep doing this until I get the stars aligned perfectly, until that sheer moment of luck comes when a representative of one of this companies will conclude the interview with: “When can you start?”

Clarification: I do actually consider myself a software engineer. And I am a pretty good one. I just wish I were a little more better at coding than I currently am. ;)

Stay safe, stay happy!

Jan 20 2018

Ce inseamnă instabilitate economică

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 23:09

N-am mai scris de mult în română, dar ținând cont de ceea ce se întâmplă de ceva vreme în țara asta cred că este momentul să vă arăt ceva.

Eu colecționez bani. Cea mai veche monedă pe care o am este o moneda de 5 bani din 1867. Cea mai veche bancnotă este o bancnotă de 5000 de lei din 1945.  Nu o să pun pozele cu astea două aici, pentru că nu sunt relevante pentru ideea postului.

Pozele pe care am să le pun aici, o să fie cu toate tipurile de bani pe care eu mi-am permis să îi colecționez. Subliniez expresia mi-am permis, pentru că veți vedea niște bancnote și monede ce vor părea valoroase, dar faptul că eu, un copil dintr-o familie foarte săracă am reușit să le adaug la colecție înseamnă fix inversul.

Sunt născută în 1983 și în pozele de mai jos sunt toate tipurile de bani românești ce mi-au trecut prin mână până să trecem la versiunile de plastic din ziua de azi.

Prima imagine este cu toate tipurile de monede folosite de mine, din 1988 până azi:

Următoarele trei imagini arată bancnote de dinainte de revoluție. Cea de 100 de lei mi-a fost dată de unchiul meu și valora foarte mult încât mă temeam să nu mi-o fure cineva așa că o perioadă am dormit cu ea sub pernă.

Când au fost scoase din circulație nu mai valorau nici cât o ceapă degerată și chiar am chiar niște cunoscuți care au fost prinși de schimbarea banilor cu mulți bănuți vechi la ciorap. Trecerea la noile bancnote i-a lăsat efectiv fără economiile de o viață. Eram prea mică să înțeleg ce exact se întâmplase.

Următorul set de bancnote este primul de după revoluție:

Apoi când și-au dat seama politicienii că e nasoală treaba, că bancnota aia de 10.000 de lei n-avea nici o valoare, au rezolvat ei problema inflației tăind un zero din coadă și uite asa ne-am ales cu următorul set, din care eu am doar două bancnote:

Dacă ar fi să adăugăm și genul de bancnote aflate în circulație astăzi, deja înseamnă că în 34 de ani România și-a modificat banii de 4 ori. Am avut bancnotă de 10.000 de lei în 1994, monede de 1000 și 5000 de lei în 2002 și toate fără valoare, pentru că dacă ar fi fost cu adevărat valoroase, n-ar fi ajuns în colecția mea, pentru că părinții mei nu mi-ar fi dat niciodată bani serioși pe mână la vârsta aia. :) Între setul de mai sus și banii pe care îi folosim azi, diferențele sunt în faptul că s-au tăiat încă trei zerouri și am trecut la bancnote de plastic.

Asta în timp ce dolarul nu s-a devaluat niciodată din anul apariției lui, în 1792.

Faptul că nu în 30 de ani am schimbat banii de 4 ori  este semnul clar al instabilității economice, cauzată desigur de instabilitate politică. Nu am să menționez nici un partid, dar cred că este evident că draga noastră clasă politică poate face multe, dar  să conducă o țară nu este unul dintre lucrurile astea.

Deci da, bucurați-vă de ăia 100 de lei în plus la pensie cât timp banii ăștia vor mai valora ceva.

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