Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Interviews, International Conferences, Business Trips

That's basically what a young professional's (my) first week at work looks like, although only the last part was related to the job I've recently started. To take it from the top:

My second interview for the Poland Asia Research Center has appeared
online. It was a lot of fun to talk to Erika and I think the interview's better than the first one, or at least I hope so. After all, I would love to learn how to interestingly interview people and how to best portray them with my questions and their answers.

Wednesday saw my debut as a kind of a TV journalist. Kinda because
the movie we were shooting won't be aired. Kinda because there was a cameraman, there were important people and there was I asking questions. The before mentioned Poland Asia Research Center was a co-organizer of this year's Think Tank Dialogue: Eastern Europe Asia conference and hosted a number of world's specialists and academics on Asian-European relations. We met in one of Marriott's conference rooms for a very good welcome dinner with delicious mini salads (oh, I learnt a new word. The mini salads as I call them are in fact ..  damn' I already forgot! help anybody?). The thing I didn't like so much is that I was, with almost all certainty, the only person with such a small knowledge about world's (and especially Asia's) current politics and economy. Also, where did my Japanese go when it was finally about to get handy?

Last week on Monday I was out to a bank with my boss in the morning and I was thanking him again for letting me take a day off on Thursday. No problem, said he. In the afternoon the boss gets an email and seems kinda surprised.
- What time does your thing end on Thursday
Well, about 10 pm, I will be there the whole day. Why? 
- We have to go to travel fairs in Poznan.
2 minutes later I get an email saying 'We leave on the 12 pm train'.
And I think 'dang'.

On the one hand really excited about the fairs and my first business trip, on the other
totally depressed, as Thursday was the first day of the actual conference and because of the trip I could only be there for the first 3 morning hours. First off, I was about to miss a most interesting two day event. Second, and more importantly, there were people counting on my being there and doing the interviews, as previewed much earlier. Luckily, they managed to find a girl to fill in for me (an actual reporter, mind you) and I felt a bit better about having to stand them up.
The 3.5 hrs on the train was spent working - drafting letters and dealing with customers. A quick taxi ride to the hotel, check in and 10 mins later already running to the fairs. Leaving a suitcase in another taxi's trunk, a frantic search for the driver whose phone number couldn't be found anywhere, a quick decision to run to the train station, getting the suitcase back and entering the fairs. Walking around, meeting all those travel agents, resting eyes on all those travel magazines, seeing all those foreigners trying to seduce me into visiting their country and doing business with them - I was in the right place. A stronger notion of the same came on Friday, while I was discussing potential co-operation with an African DMC. He was showing me the map, explaining which coconut farm our clients would go to, which shacks they'd spend the night in and all I could think to myself was "this is it, that's what I need to be doing" and smiling like an awfully goofy person. 

Oh, and another thing - how come Poznań's night life is so much better than Warsaw's? Why is the capital so much behind?

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Today the second week of my career has started. Hopefully I won't cause any drama or catastrophes, just as I managed to avoid them last week.

The first thing I did after work was to go to a local Cutural Center to find out whom to speak to about a photo exhibition, will call them tomorrow morning. Also, they have their own online radio. I wonder if they ever do any travel material? If not, then it's high time they did, wouldn't you agree?

The second thing was to find out about the possibility and conditions of renting a danceroom for my upcoming workshops. I went to the same place I recorded in a year and a half ago for an online SYTYCD contest, a fitness center/gym right across from my house. I asked for the rates, the lady asked me for the reason and after a couple of minutes "Wait, aren't you that girl..?" "Yes, I think I am" "Well, you're hired. If you ever want to start teaching, I want you here".
Unfortunatelly, the financial proposition she could make was veeery unattractive but still, that was nice! So, I've rented the room for the 5th of Nov and that's when my Sexy Dance workshops part 1 will take place. Anyone interested gimmie a shout!

The third thing I did was figure out how to easily find more Poland based Asians for my interviews. To think I hadn't thought of it before..

And now it's time to read a bit more of my beloved P.J. O'Rourke 
(man, this guy and his writing are something else!).

Monday, October 24, 2011

On the paradox of choice

An issue that's been on my mind ever since I graduated uni. Was finally able to do all the things I've always wanted to be doing and see all the places I've wanted to see and .. I did nothing.

Cause when you can do pretty much anything you want, how do you choose where to start?

I was randomly going through some TED talks and found one about the matter at hand. For your consideration:


Friday, October 21, 2011

Mon-Thu. What next?

Monday was busy.
Tuesday was busy and tiring.
Yesterday was hectic and exhausting.
Today was madness and I'm so tired I can't stand the thought of having to get up in 5 hours and starting all over again.

It's definitely going to be an exciting time and the job will keep my on my toes. I just hope I want fall asleep somewhere along the way. Or during one of the upcoming business meetings.

A ver.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Office

Nah, don't get your hopes up - it'll be about me again, not the TV series (which I have never seen, by the way).

Today was first day of work!

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On Friday I went for a meeting with the director of a Polish travel agent's that co-operates with my company and after I left, I just couldn't wait to go back there Monday morning and start working!.. I know, right?

Was pretty excited and happy today, which I guess isn't really a state of mind I shared with the majority of the working class. Got to the office a bit before 10 am (my official working hours are 10-6 but the real ones are more the "when I work, you work" sort of thing) to sign the contract and waited for my boss's arrival. He got there, gave me a fancy notebook and I was finally ready to note down what I was supposed to be doing.

It was a rather laid back day and it picked up a bit of pace when it turned out I was leaving for my first business trip this very Thursday! It's a pretty cool one - the boss and I are going to Poznań for some travel fairs and staying there till Saturday, but at the same time it's horrible - there's a big international conference I've been hired to work at as a journalist and interview panelists coming down here from allover Asia and Europe, and 2 days before the event starts I had to notice my editor I wouldn't be able to be there! Instead of interviewing people till 10pm I've till 11:45 am, when I have to run to catch my train. I felt really shitty, and still do, but there's not much I could do. Actually, there's nothing I could do - the job will pay the bills, so it has to come first.

Oh, how I'm growing up!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Young Professional in Warsaw

Guess who's the new PA to the Director of Business Development for Eastern Europe, Baltics and the CIS Markets of one of the major Italian tour operators?



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The last couple of weeks have been very laid back and hectic at the same time. Laid back cause I didn't have that many responsibilities, hectic cause I had a lot of events to attend, a lot of friends to meet, went back to university, went for my first proper job interviews..

The first one was last Thursday - a part-time at a bank, a proper job contract, stabilization, commitment, they were looking for a team member for at least a year and a half - scary things! I went for the interview certain I wanted to land the job but as the interview progressed I had to try harder and harder to convince myself (and the recruiter) that I actually wanted it  At one point the recruiter asked me why I wanted to work with them, as he could clearly see my head and heart were in a different market. I left the office (which I really liked and would have loved to work in, by the way) going over his questions and my answers and trying to figure out how I really felt about the whole thing. I was pretty sure I'd get invited back for the last interview with the Big Boss and needed to be sure I won't be wasting his time. Thus, after a lot of ponding, I wrote them on Friday thanking them for their time and declining the offer of the last interview.

On Wednesday last week I was already sure I wouldn't follow through with uni - it didn't feel right. Not only the fact that I had to get up at 6 am and sit through some of the most boring classes you can imagine, not even the fact that some of the professors talked to us as if we were 5 years old. It didn't feel right, 'cause it basically seemed like going backwards instead of moving on with my life. I didn't go to my classes on Friday and Monday, this Tuesday I had to go to one of them, as I had volunteered to give a little speech about Aristotle and his Poetics (don't even ask). As soon as that was over, I left and don't ever intend on going back.

Straight from there I went to another job interview - a foreigner needed a personal assistent, a job in a travel agent's, had no idea about the technical aspects of the offered position. I went for the interview more for the experience than with the will to get the job, as the other travel agent's who wanted to send me on the guide course was thinking about offering me some event managment related tasks and I was looking forward to that. Also, dance had yet again shyly welcomed itself back into my life and I was considering pursuing that path again. The interview was very short and not 'traditional' by any means. I was asked one question and then given an assignment due in the evening. I left the place super excited and with the feeling that it might be it - I wanted this job! Didn't mind the full time aspect of it, was thinking how cool it would be to work in one place for at least a year or two, was all happy inside when I thought of all the responsibilities and tasks that would lay ahead of me, thought the potential boss seemed really laid back and a nice person, most of all, and the salary would be enough to allow me to save some travel money. Plus, there were real prospects of travelling within the job itself.

So I got back home and panicked, thinking I didn't know how to write those letters.
However, I decided I would deliver the best drafts the guy's ever seen.
So I sat down and wrote them.
I then had a team of more experienced and able people check them and give me suggestions, wrote and rewrote certain parts over and over again.
And then I sent them out.

Yesterday morning I got an email saying my drafts were 'satisfying' but he was waiting to see what other candidates deliver, thus inform me about his decision on Friday.

I guess the candidates didn't deliver or he simply decided those were the best drafts he's ever seen, 'cause I got a message about an hour ago "Hello Magda, you won the job".

I always knew the moment I drop out of university, things will be a whole lotta better. Too bad it took me so many years to have the opportunity to do so ;)

.     .     .     .     .

Tomorrow I'm going to sign a contract for three trial months and I'll be finally fully qualified to attend all those Professionals in Warsaw events - it always felt kinda strange to be there, seeing how I was neither an expat, nor a professional. Well, I might still not be an expact but the professional part's already there!

And now I'm off to think of a routine for tonight - am filling in for a friend who teaches dance in one of the city's cultural centers and have yet to create what I'll teach today. Sexy dance - here I come!