The tech bubble has popped!

I left Brazil when I was 23 years old and I didn’t really have a professional working experience there. I worked as an intern here and there and had one part-time job which was the only one registered in my “working card”. I don’t really know the specific term in English, as I have not yet seen a country that has the same working registration card as Brazil. Anyway, it’s a document where you have all your registered employers and every working person needs to have one. It’s the law.

In Ireland my first jobs were as a cashier in a bargain store, as floor staff and barmaid and as a retail staff. It was only in 2009 when I moved to the business world and when my professional working experience really started. I worked in a small office with the two owners with a footwear distribution company. I’ve learned so much during the time I stayed in the company! In fact, I think that most of what I know about business, on how to run one, I leaned there!

It was only in 2011 that I entered the corporate world! And then everything changed… Oh, the corporate world. Definitely not for everyone. Definitely not! You need to be quick, watch your back (all the time), cover your ass (again, all the time), give more than you can (and want), play the bullshit, swallow a few frogs, fight for something to get better and not always get the credit for and the most important of all, be ambitious! Do not dare to come to work to just do the core job. Even if you do it very well. Only this is not enough.

Yes, the big companies make sure to give you a cool and functional working space, food, treats, drinks, nice parties here and there. If you work hard, you want to play hard too, right? It’s just fair. So, they make sure to balance things out. And yes, we do learn a lot as things change very fast. You must keep up with everything!

I had the privilege to work for three of the biggest tech giant companies out there and for this, I am extremely thankful! I never forget the felling of coming home after my first induction day in the first one I worked for. I was certain that I was a very lucky and special person for getting hired and that I would never leave them! But I did leave them 2 and half years later.

When I was hired for the second company I was once again reassured I was a very special person! I had another wow experience but the truth is, I had listened to the “oh my God you’re so lucky to be here” speech before. Everything sounded a bit familiar and felt familiar too. Once again, 2 and half years later and I was out of there!

When I was hired in the third company, of course I heard again how lucky, amazing and special I was! The speech was also the same as the others and honestly, at that point I had been there done that and I just didn’t get amused or wowed! In this one I stayed just short of a year as life got in the way and I moved to Malta.

So, I think it’s fair to say that my main professional working experience is in the corporate world, more specifically in American tech companies. For the past 6 years I have worked for 3 different companies but it really felt like one! Now that I am out of a so-called corporate company and a different industry I see, feel, live and breathe the difference! Hello freedom, I missed you so much!!!

The hiring process for most (not to say all) of the tech companies are long and exhausting. You need to prove and outstand yourself in every round to many different people. You are interviewed by the recruiter, hiring managers, peers, other managers, directors and whoever else they want to. What happened to trust the hiring manager’s decision? Is that because the hiring managers can’t make a decision on their own or is that a way of not taking the whole blame in case the candidate ends up fucking it up after being hired? So yes, once you are offered the job after this exhausting process you do feel a bit special because, why wouldn’t you? I mean, you were THE chosen one among thousand applicants and you pass all the 100 interview rounds! And in case you are still not really sure you’re special, don’t worry, they will make sure to tell you this in your first day at work.

This is the hiring process I know, or knew. This is the one I was used to. When I moved to Malta and started to hear back from the jobs I applied for I was a bit in shock. The first company that wanted to proceed with my application sent me an email a few weeks later asking me which of the following given dates I was available to come in for an interview. First, I was surprised that the hiring manager was the one contacting me directly and secondly, there was no phone screening. Just come to the office, as casual as this.

The interview was with the hiring manager and it was very light. It was all based in my experience, the usual “walk me through your CV” thing. Of course, she asked me for few examples of things I’ve done but overall it was so relaxed and it only lasted 1 hour. When she thanked me for coming I was like “what do you mean? Don’t I need to stay here for the next 4 hours and meet another 100 people before you decide I am good enough for the job?”. No, it was as simple as that! Thanks for coming we will be in touch and have a nice day. Ok, there was a test later which I didn’t do really well and I have never heard a rejection from them. They just didn’t bother to give me feedback. Something very common in Malta as I have never received a “no thanks” email for all the other jobs I applied for in here.

My second job interview in Malta was as straight forward as the first one, with the difference that I got the job! The hiring manager scheduled a phone interview with me, which we chatted for like 40min and at the end she invited me to come onsite for a face to face chat. The next day I was in the office and we had a casual talk, chatted a bit more about the job, discussed salary expectations and 30 min later I was out of there with an informal job offer.

Until this day I can’t believe how light and relaxed the hiring process seems to be in Malta. But why shouldn’t it be? It’s not rocket science: you see a CV you like and find the candidate suitable for the position, you meet the person face to face, ask straight forward and relevant questions, see if the candidate has potential and then you make a decision. I was hired because I know the job suits me and not because I didn’t crack after meeting 100 people. I was hired because I am capable and not because I am special. I was hired because the hiring manager could see my potential.

Since day one at the job I feel so free and comfortable, as I was supposed to feel! I don’t have one thousand meetings every day anymore, which by the way 90% of them were just a waste of time. Meetings are required whenever there is a real reason and they are short and straight to the point. Do you know what else I don’t have scheduled? 1:1! My God the 1:1s, how I hate them! Ok, I know the reason why 1:1s exist and honestly, some people need them as they don’t feel comfortable approaching their managers to talk about whatever they want to talk.

If I have a problem that I need the manager’s help I will approach him/her and talk about it. I have no problem what so ever to approach people, speak up about anything and more importantly, I will let you know once I feel I am ready to progress in my career. Here, I do what I am supposed to do, I am trusted and if I need any support I know where my manager is and she’s there for me. Just like it should be! The “my door is always open” policy still works just fine.

Why do we must talk every week about what I am working on and how I am doing when you’re the manager and knows very well what I am working on? And if I am unwell or whatever I will let you know! Why twice a year I need to waste almost a day writing down all the projects I have worked on and had an impact on when the manager was there and should know the answer to this? Are annual reviews just a way of making things easier for managers because they can’t remember what everyone in the team worked on individually?

Why every 6 months or every year I must do a career progress plan? Even if I don’t know yet where to go next, I must write down something because I cannot just do what I am doing. My manager “has” to help me with my next step even though they all know that a whole team cannot be promoted! So why the pressure? The good people, who perform well and fight for what they want will make things happen regardless of an Individual Development Plan (the famous IDP).

I was in that corporate, pushing, tiring environment for so long that in my head all companies were like this. It shocked me to know that the world outside the tech bubble is not like this, at all! There are companies doing their own thing without pushing their employees too hard or putting an extra (and unnecessary) pressure on them. Work/life balance you said? Remove the bullshit from your company structure and work/life balance is not even a thing!

Now, do not get me wrong please. I did enjoy the past 6 years working for the tech companies and I did learn a lot. I would not be where I am now if it wasn’t for what I learned in these companies. I met so many amazing and intelligent people, I was part of many Milestones at these companies and am proud of achieving great things together, being there and having my fingerprints all over. Indeed I was lucky to be part of that and I am special. But I am not special because I was accepted In a company that “everybody” wants to be.

This post is not about being ungrateful or trying to fix the tech companies “problems” or any other company’s structure. I don’t know how all companies work and I can only speak about my experience in 3 tech companies. This post is about me opening my eyes and mind as I am now exposed to a completely different work environment. This post is about me being free of the (sometimes) unhealthy work environment tech companies create to their employees with all the unnecessary pressure and unconscious competition against peers. I don’t hear the words awesome, impact, career, career, career anymore on my daily basis! I don’t need to leave my calendar opened to remind me of a “maybe-we-could-skip-this” meeting I must have today. I can work on what I was hired to work on and the extra mile is completely up to me and me only! It’s is refreshing to be experiencing something new for a change and for knowing that not everyone does things the same way. After all, why should they? We all are our own individuals in this world and that’s the reason why we are special!

The Maltese way

Before coming to Malta, I have to be honest and confess that I knew nothing about the country! The first time I’ve heard about it was in the Eurovision when Malta appears in the live voting round to give their points.

When my boyfriend told me about the possibility of coming to Malta I then started to search about the country and everything was sounding appealing to me. What not to like? Nice weather all year round, 3 thousand hours of sunshine a year (!), short winters, it’s in the middle of the Mediterranean, cost of living is cheap. According to many researches, Malta is in the top 10 countries with the best climate in the world. I can definitely live with that!

After living 10 years in rainy Ireland, I must admit that the possibility of living under the sun again was very, very much desired! I was born and raised in Brazil, more specifically in Mato Grosso State which temperatures reach 40 degrees Celsius pretty much every day, for at least 9 months of the year. Before moving to Ireland I was used to spend the days outdoors, sleep and live with the aircon on, wear flipflops/sandals everyday, have more summer clothes than winter clothes and overall feel more energized because of the sunshine. Yes, the thought of having this again excited me. Very much!

So here I am. In the small island of Malta! When I got the green light I packed my bags and dog, got ride of things I had for 10 years, quit a job I liked very much, said goodbyes to friends I love and were family to me, bought my ticket and boarded the plane! As simple as that!

As I wrote in my previous post, G was waiting for me in the penthouse we rented! Yes, in Malta we can afford a penthouse, with a terrace. All looked great and all until we started to settle in. The crakes slowly started to show up and what looked amazing turned into not so amazing.

There were wholes in pretty much all windows so the humidity was consistently coming in which turned into mould spreading all over the apartment’s walls. One thing that I didn’t know about Malta is that is a hell of a humid country! With all the sun shine you would think that mould is not a problem but it is! In January I was introduced to this amazing little appliance called dehumidifier and we became best friends for life! I used to turn it on at 7pm and by 6am the 11 litters container was full! Winter was tough!

Apart from the humidity, Maltese constructions don’t have insolation so as you can imagine, it gets pretty cold indoors during winter time. This plus the humidity, winter can be a bit of a pain but luckily winter is very short (January and February really) and a dehumidifier is a must have!

The beauty of living in a new country is to learn something new about it every day. It’s discover the good and bad, be exposed to new experiences and be reminded that we should never take things for granted. I had forgotten this. I was way too comfortable in Ireland and couldn’t see things in a different perspective anymore. It’s amazing though how much Malta reminds me of Brazil! Not just because of the weather and beaches but in some little annoying things that I had completely forgotten about it as they were not part of Ireland.

Maltese people love to use their car horn! It’s used for anything and everything. When coming to a junction for example, the simple rule of respecting the traffic sign of who has the preference to cross is immediately disregarded by just horning to let the other car know that someone is coming. In general, everything related to traffic is bad over here! For such a small country is seems that there are more cars on the streets than people. Traffic can be very bad during rush hours and this is also because of how people deal with it. It’s very common to see someone parking in the middle of the road to run to get something in the shop, or someone stopping in the middle of the road to have a chat with someone. So all of this plus the disregard of traffic signs and you get the picture. Horns, horns, horns all.the.time.

The thing that Malta seems to lack, really, is a proper system or structure or both. Everything seems to be figured as they go and very often you will hear or be told “that this is the Maltese way”. After a while you kind of get used (or have to) to things being slower as they should or disorganized and before you know it you will also be saying “it’s the Maltese way”.

Also, be ready (women) to be harassed in the streets by disgusting man! I actually completely forgot how that felt, thank God! Being raised in Brazil I was constantly hearing “compliments” (it’s not!) from men in the streets, or being looked at in a invasive way, having car horns beeped at me when a man drives by and things like that. I don’t know why this kind of unacceptable behaviour is so common in countries with hot weather. Do not even think about saying that is because women wear less clothes! The way a woman dress will never, ever, justify or define this absolutely repulsive behaviour. The problem lies and always will in the man who commits such atrocity!

To be honest, this (harassment) is a topic that I do want to address but in another post. But getting back to what I was talking about, unfortunately Malta is part of one of the countries that find that they have the right to “compliment” women as they are minding their own business in public. Coming from Ireland, where I can say with conviction that in the past 10 years I cannot recall once being harassed on the streets, it was a shock to come back to this type of culture. Again, I was raised in Brazil so I was born knowing how to deal with this and bounce back. Being “out of the game” for 10 years, I was completely unprepared this time around.

I could go on and on and on about the little things that I am not such a fan of in Malta but I rather focus on the good things… and there are plenty of them! Yes, the weather will always be number one in the list. It will be until I get this out of my system… cut me some slack, I lived in Ireland for the past 10 years! But apart from this is so amazing to be living in a place that is affordable! You can actually live a pretty decent life in a mid range salary and just to know that 60% of my salary is not going towards rent is the most incredible thing! Whoever lives in Dublin knows exactly what I am talking about! Here you can rent an apartment in a good location for around €800 or €1,000 a month. You can even find cheaper depending of the location and condition of the apartment. It can go as cheap as €500 a month!

I love that Malta has a very chilled out and relaxing vibe! Apart from people beeping the car horns all the time, the life style here is pretty laid back. Malta is surrounded by stunning historic buildings and nature so it’s hard to feel stressed out. I LOVE how we can find so many bars that do great cocktails and it doesn’t cost you an arm like in Dublin. Happy hours (2 cocktails for the price of one) are spread all over Malta and it could be hard to pick one spot so we keep trying them out. And of course, how not to love the holiday feeling during the weekends?

Overall, I am very happy with the change we made. Coming to Malta was refreshing and I am sure this country will do me good. Just like Ireland did as well. I am already planting my seeds and little by little collecting rewarding things. Malta already played a huge part in my turning point in life and for that, I am thankful for. I’ve been living a way healthier life style and was able to connected to myself once again.

I look forward to the future here and cannot wait to experience everything life will throw at me. Mela!*

 

* Maltese people say “mela” in just about every sentence. Used to mean various different things such as “of course”, “ok”, and “alright”; or just a filler in a sentence instead of “umm”. (Urban Dictionary)

The comeback

Has it really been 18 months since the last post? How many times have I promised I wouldn’t give up? How many times have I wrote that I would write frequently? Yes, just like you I’ve lost count. And yet, once again, here I am but this time I won’t give you or myself false hopes. I will write as often as I want and can! So let me just be honest and upfront so no one gets hurt, including me!

So many things have happened in the past 18 months. I wouldn’t even be able to start writing all of it! I don’t even know if I want to write about it… maybe not and that’s why I stayed away from here for the last 18 months. Maybe nothing was that exciting or maybe I just didn’t bother to write. I think it’s the last option, to be honest. But oh well, what’s important is that I am back! Maybe for a while, maybe for a long time… Who knows? I should, since it’s my blog but let’s just wait and see shall we?

Today I thought about my blog and I decided it was time to log in again. I even had to reset my password! I read my previous posts, I selected a new theme for the site and now I am inspired! Going through my old posts I’ve noticed how many times I wrote that “I couldn’t imagine myself leaving Ireland”, that “Ireland is home”, that “maybe the day to leave this country will never come”… So guess what? The day came, I left Ireland and it was not as hard as I’ve ever imagined! Yes, Ireland is still home and honestly, it will always be. If I was certain about this then I am even more certain about it now!

Where am I now you ask? I am in this tiny little island in the middle of the mediterranean called Malta! Never in a million years I’d imagine that I would be living here. But here I am, for the past 6 months and I love to be living under the sun once again! This is the beauty of life I guess, the wonderful twists and unpredictable, unplanned and unimaginable things that sometimes just happen like that!

All started in August 2016 when my boyfriend one day told me “I am going to Malta in 2 weeks for a job interview”! Just like that. Very casual. I didn’t know he was having conversations with a company in Malta but I always knew he wanted to live abroad for a while and that he was opened for new opportunities. Part of me was “shouldn’t we discuss this before you go?” and the other part of me was thinking that a change would be great!

You all know how much I love Ireland etc etc etc but honestly, after 9 and half years I have to say, the bad weather finally got under my skin! I couldn’t believe that I was in favour of leaving but the truth is that the change came in the right time! Things happened quite fast actually. In a time frame period of about 3 weeks I had to get used to the idea that we could leave Ireland, had the confirmation that we would be leaving Ireland, had to break the news to family and friends, had to handle my notice at work and organize the moving. The moving was the hardest! My God, the amount of crap we accumulate throughout the years! Having to get rid of a 9 years life is not easy, but luckily I am a person who is very disattached to material things. 70% of the clothes and shoes in my wardrobe went to charity, 95% of the furniture in my house went to friends (90% of them to a particular one!) and anything else that didn’t make the cut to come to Malta went to the dumpster. I arrived in Ireland in 2007 with one big suitcase only. Now I left Ireland with one big suitcase (actually, the same one from 2007), two medium size suitcase, one cabin suitcase and a dog!

Kaboosh and I left Ireland on October 28, 2016 at 6am. We took a Lufthansa flight, with connection in Frankfurt, and at around 5pm we landed in Malta! G was already here waiting for us in our new 2 bedroom penthouse in Hamrun! Yes, we could afford a penthouse but not because G is swimming in money. The cost of living in Malta is actually cheap! I say penthouse, which sounds so fancy but believe me, it wasn’t really. I have also said Hamrun and unless you have live in Malta you don’t really know what this mean so hold in there… I will write a post about it one day.

From October 29 (my birthday!) all I had to do was to settle down and get to know the place! Since for the first time in my life I had the privilege to be unemployed without having to worry about paying the bills, I took full advantage of it! Kaboosh and I used to spend the whole days together, just walking and exploring new places. We would sit by the sea and contemplate the sun, the warmth and the beautiful surrounding. Life was running on a slow pace and I was soaking up all the joy this new lifestyle was providing me! I can write about the time I lived the life in another post. I actually have a lot to write about Malta and what this place has given me so far!

For now, just be sure that I am fine and that this is my comeback! I will see you soon!

Good things come to the ones who think through

Remember when I told you I had decided to quit my job and take a break? I can’t believe it has been 3 months already! I have to say, that was the best thing I have ever done for myself! Waking up every day without the noise of an alarm and having no plans for the day was truly precious!

During this break I got a lot of laundry and house cleaning done, went to the gym, met a dear friend many afternoons for coffee, read books, went for endless walks on the beach and the park with Kaboosh and had my sisters over for a week. Yes, I could have done so much more with my time but I did what I felt like and I enjoyed my break, a lot! It was really necessary for my  mind and soul and yes, I could do this for longer but everything, eventually, comes to an end. After 3 adorable unemployed months it’s time to go back to work! After all, bills need to be paid and (unfortunately) I am no millionaire (yet!).

When I decided to quit my previous job I had a plan. A very simple one. Quit, live your life, be happy and you’ll find the right job in the right time! I had money for bills for around 3 to 4 months and a lot of confidence in myself that I would get a job! I know that most of the time things don’t go according to the plan but this time, it did! Not just went according to the plan but it turned out to be more than I expected! I truly believe that what is meant to be, will be. As grandma always says, “what’s supposed to be yours nobody will take it from you”… wise words!

A friend called me at the beginning of October telling me a position opened up in his team and that I’d be perfect for it. Honestly, the job really interested me but it didn’t come up in the best time. A lot of things were happening and the future was a bit unsure for me but I decided to go for it, even though I knew I could have to withdraw my application any time.

I had one and then two interviews and confidence was building up on me. I got more and more interested in the job and the thought of having to let this go in case the other things going on would work out scared me! But I carried on with the plan B (or A, not sure) and by the time I went on site for my final interview I was very certain that the job was mine! I say that because I felt good about the answers I gave and was (surprising) not nervous or anxious. If I didn’t get the job after all, it’s because I was just not the kind of person they were looking for. I could not blame my performance.

I left the company’s building and told myself “you’ve got this!”. I received a phone call few days afterwards with a positive feedback and was told I’d actually have another, and final, interview – just when I thought it was over already. At that point, the other things going on in my life didn’t go through so this job turned out to be my plan A again.

I had the final interview with the hiring manager (over Skype) and that was it. Nothing else to do but wait to see if I’d be the chosen one. A week past and I didn’t hear anything from them. Then another week arrived and still no words from them… I confess that at that point I had to accept that the job was not mine, even though I was so certain it was, and move on! I was applying for any job I’d see and desperation started to kick in! I couldn’t believe the plan would not work out! I mean, I was in my third unemployed month and by now I should have something secured. That was the plan!

I applied for 12 different jobs and only got 3 interviews out of it. One I actually had to decline since the job was in Tallaght and I mean, it would probably take me 2 hours to commute, both ways. The second one it took me a week and half to get a confirmation from the recruiter (she was all over the place and very unprofessional) and the third one I had to record videos and answer unusual questions first. It took me 4 hours to go through the first step of the hiring process!

So far I had silence from the company I completed the whole interview process, application rejection emails coming in, new not-very-suitable-jobs-for-me-but-that-will-do becoming available, money in my saving account running low and desperation levels about to hit the red bar!

Just when I was about to truly convince myself that my plan did not work, I received an email from the company that was giving me silence! And that was on a Friday 13th so no bad luck bullshit anymore! The email wasn’t really saying “congratulations the job is yours” but it said “we will have news for you on Monday”. Monday arrived and tah-dah! I got the call with great news. The job was mine! I knew my gut was telling me the truth since the begging and I knew my plan would work out!

Another few days for work references and background check and I got the official job offer. I sat on it for 30 minutes, just so I could analyze the whole package, and happily accepted it! That is it, I can relax now. I got a new job and everything worked out perfectly fine! Good things really come to the ones who think things through!

I am happy that I kept true to myself and got the courage to quit a job I was unhappy with without having anything else next. I am happy I followed my instincts and did what was right for me. I am happy for knowing that I can count on myself and that I am able to go through uncertain times with confidence and a positive attitude. Remember: everything will always turn out alright!

For now I am enjoying my last lazy days to stay in bed till late, read my book in Starbucks, spend the day with Kaboosh, watch crap day-time TV (I will miss you Judge Judy!) and just enjoy the leisure. On Monday everything will be different and excited! I really miss having a job that excites me, that motivates me, that is fun, that makes me jump out of bed with a smile in my face. I know this new job will tick all the boxes (and a lot more) and for that, I cannot wait!

Bring it on Facebook. I am ready!

 

 

 

Angels have four paws

I love dogs. As simple as that. I love them, I’m obsessed with them, I cannot live without them. My dad is also a dog lover and I have to thank him for passing on this passion to me too. My first dog was called Bob. He was a mutt and came home when I was just 2 or 3 years old. Bob changed my life! He showed me that we are never alone when we have a dog and that he would do anything to protect me.

When I was misbehaving and my mom wanted to smack me, I would run to Bob so he would stand in front of me and not let my mom touch me! He was my hero. Bob always knew when it was time for me to come back from school and how nice it was to see him waiting for me at the gate at 12pm. He would walk with me to the front door and lay down at the entrance because he knew he wasn’t allowed to go inside the house.

Bob lived with us for 12 years and sadly we had to put him down. I still remember how hard it was to say good-bye to my first dog. After Bob we had a brown dachshund called Xule, which means smelly feet in Portuguese. Xule was picked by me and I chose him since he was the only puppy of the litter to come to me when I entered the room. We named him “smelly feet” because he used to like to sleep inside of my dad’s runners or lie on our feet. Xule was barky but a very companion dog. He stayed with us for 11 years when once again, we had to put another dog down. You would think I would be able to cope with the pain right? It was as hard as with Bob. Specially because I was no longer living at my parents house so I couldn’t say a proper good-bye.

Xule had another 2 brothers during his 11 years of life: Toy and Preto. Toy was a black dachshund and Preto was a mutt. I didn’t pick Toy but I was the one collecting him once he was ready to go to his permanent home. Such a tinny puppy who almost died in his first night! We let him in a room outside of the house and he got his head stuck in one of the things we used to block the way. Toy was very independent and would only ask for love when he wanted to. He was the one who stayed with us the longer, 14 years.

Preto (black in Portuguese) was giving to us by a man who knew my dad. He was around 4 or 5 months and it was in a horrible state. He was beaten up as a puppy by people and grew up with older dogs who bullied him all the time. When he arrived to our home his face was swollen, he was very skinny and terrified of everything. I was the first to say “let’s keep him!”. My dad was a bit nervous since we already had Xule and Toy and my mom is not a fan of dogs. We all voted yes and Preto stayed.

It was so nice to see that frightened and hurt dog become into a beautiful dog! We could never rehabilitate his traumas though. He was scared of everything and anything: the wind, a noise, a shadow, a broom, a raising hand… But despite all that he was such a big teddy bear. Preto was 10 years old when we discovered a tumor in his leg. Sadly, we had to put him down since he would most likely not survive the surgery due to his age. I cried like a baby when my dad called me to give the bad news. Preto and Xule were put down at the same day.

When I moved away from home to go to colleague in the South of Brazil, I had to live without a dog. It was so strange not having that little furry thing running around, cheering me up. That’s when the obsession of having my own dog started. It took me years until I had my very first one. I would never imagine my first dog would be Irish!

After 2 years in a relationship with G we decided to have a dog. We talked about it for a year and when we knew we were ready, we made the first move. I searched about dog breeds to make sure we would have a dog with a good temperament. Since we were living in an apartment we needed a small to medium dog who preferably, didn’t shed. After reading a lot I found the perfect breed for us: Border Terrier.

I love dogs who look like dogs you know? So when I saw a picture of a Border Terrier I knew, immediately, that that would be my dog! After few months we found a breeder in Norther Ireland and secured a little pup for us. During that time I was getting ready! I bought a book so I could know everything I had to know about raising the perfect puppy. By the time we brought Kaboosh home I was as ready as a turkey on Christmas day!

Kaboosh came home on May 10, 2014. That’s when life changed for better and for good! Even though I always grew up with dogs that was actually the first time I owned one. This one was my responsibility… I thought I was so ready but I was actually scared! Scared because I knew that this time it was not just fun and games, I was actually in charge of training him, minding him, feeding him… basically make sure he would stay alive!

The first two weeks we had to keep him at home since he didn’t have his second vaccination and was not ready yet to go outside. It was the most two intensive weeks of my life!!! That puppy had so much energy! He would run like crazy around the living room non stop. We crate trained him so he was waking up every 3 hours crying to go to the bathroom. Of course I was the one in charge of this! I cannot even tell you how many times he woke up at 3am or 4am full of energy thinking it was play time!

After 2 weeks of no sleep, stress, doubts about having the dog, and not seeing the outside world everything calmed down and I couldn’t be happier. It’s amazing how things have changed since this angel with four paws came into our lives. I can’t even remember how life was before him. It’s weird to say this but it’s true.

Of course sometimes it’s tough. Don’t even let me start talking about hangover days! Hangover and dogs do not go together. Staying home the whole day in pajamas is not an option anymore… You think you can do it, at least once, until you look at that sad/bored face looking as if he was saying “you don’t love me”. It breaks your heart and before you know it you are out the house!

I feel that after this experience, I am actually half way ready to have a baby (in case I ever have one). Ok, I don’t have children and I am sure everything is 100% worse, and also 100% better, but I am sure that dog mothers go through the same kind of responsibilities! In the end of the day, you are the one responsible to keep them alive – every single day!

It’s funny to look back and remember the doubts and fears I had in owning a dog. But I also remember how determined I was to make it happen. I knew I would do whatever it takes to have my own dog and make him the best dog in the world. I have certainly achieved this goal!

I will never regret the day I decided to own a dog because it was one of the best decisions I have ever made! With him I learned that we are all animals because I could kill someone for him. Kaboosh taught me that a bad day ends the moment I see him. He showed us that our relationship could get even stronger and meaningful.

There’s not one dull moment with him and the house is empty and sad if he’s not there. He is my cuddler, my companion, my everything. He is my true and unconditional love!

9w6nFtKi

Life is too short to live miserably

I have been away from my blog for a long time! I cannot believe the last time I wrote was in January… shame on me! How many times have I promised to keep writing no matter what? I know the answer too. I cannot even use the excuse, “I didn’t have time” because I did. The truth is that I just, once again, neglected my blog and didn’t stay true to myself! I won’t make the same mistake, and I can stand by this promise this time. Why? Because now I really have time. I have all the time in the world!

A month ago I made a decision that changed my life. I decided to leave my job and take a break for a while! I have never had time to spend the days with myself, taking care of me, and me only, since I became an adult. I thought about how nice it would be to turn off the alarm and wake up whenever, have time and motivation to go to the gym, spend the days with my dog, take long walks, read a book in the afternoon, watch movies, series or crap TV in the middle of the day…

I have been working for a long time, and I don’t know about you but I have always enjoyed what I did. I am a person that needs to have a reason to wake up in the mornings. There’s nothing better than do what you love. This way is easy to look forward to go to work. That feeling of being helpful, of doing something that is changing the world (even if it’s only my own world) is what drives me. The feeling of satisfaction. As they say, we should work to live and not live to work.

In 2013, I was contacted by a tech giant company for a job position that (apparently) suited my experience. To be honest, I was not looking for a job since I was happy where I was. However, the offer was tempting and indeed would be a step up in my career. The job was interesting and I had my eyes in that company too. I decided to go through the hiring process and few weeks later, the position was mine!

It was a hard decision to leave the company I was but I knew it was something I had to do. I knew it had to be a rational decision and I couldn’t hear my heart. I had to do what was best for my career. I cried a lot on my last day! It was so hard to say good-bye to the wonderful people I worked with for 2.5 years but once again, I knew I was doing what I had to do.

I started in the new company and the job was completely the opposite of what I was doing before. In fact, it was completely the opposite of what I always had done in my life. I thought “Ok, this is different. You just need to be patient and see where this goes. You can learn something new here”. And I did learn something new… for a while. Then the new became ordinary and that little voice in my head started to tell me that maybe I made a mistake.

I shook off and kept going. Now, to be very honest (which I am) I never fell in love with the job. After a month I told my manager at the time that I was not used to that very slow paced enviroonment and I was struggling to keep my days full, busy. She listened very carefully to my concern and told me to find my way. And I did. After a while I just accepted that this is how it would be, it was the nature of the job, that’s it. I had to do thing slowly, manage my time in a different way. Funny because when we talk about time management usually is because we have so much to do that you need to prioritize things in order to get everything done. In this case, I had to manage not to do all projects that had to be finished in a quarter in one month or less!

Despite all that, I did learn new things, I was working with nice people, the work environment was great but the voice in my head was still telling me that I made a mistake. After few months in the job I had to listen to that voice and accept that yes, I did make a mistake. One year in the job I told my manager that I was not motivated and that I truly believed that the job was not for me. I had so much more to offer and unfortunately, that job would never see my full potential. I hate feeling useless! Don’t get me wrong, I did do a good job in there and I always had positive feedback during annual reviews. But I did feel useless because I knew I was not showing what I am really made of. Throw me in a busy/crazy job and you will see what I can handle! I miss that. Very much!

I tried to make things better for myself but it didn’t work. It’s fair to say that for at least 8 months, I just dragged myself in there. Motivation was zero, passion was none and the days were long and sad. It didn’t take much for me to start struggling to wake up in the mornings and go to work. That tells you something right?

Apart from all this, I was still keeping professional and getting things done. The worst that it can happen is to not care anymore about anything and do a crap job! That’s not me! I would not put my reputation on the line. So I sucked and kept doing my job, even though I knew I was not supposed to be there.

Do you know when you look at yourself in the mirror and see someone that you don’t recognize? Well, I saw that stranger in my mirror a lot! Day after day, week after week, month after month. She was a sad little person that didn’t want to do anything anymore… not even her own things! It was then that I decided to ask her what the hell she was doing in my mirror! The truth is that I knew what she was doing there and most importantly, how to make her go away, for good.

I looked at my saving accounts, made few calculations, talked to people who I love and care (and who love and care about me too) and I heard what I wanted and needed to hear: “go ahead and just do it!” So then, in July 31st I came in to work and handled my notice. I had to do it. I had to be honest with myself and release me from that misery. After all, this was just a job (and one that I didn’t love), it was not my life!

I decided to quit and take a break for a while. That job changed who I am and once again, I felt lost and demotivated so I needed a break to connect to my old self again. I need to spend time with me, to figure what I want next and to take care of me and my soul. I have never had the privilege to do this and thank God (and my savings) I am in a position that I can, literately, afford this break.

A job should never change who you are or make you feel unhappy, sad and miserable. Life is way too short to live miserably! I know I did the right decision this time, for real. I am so proud of what I’ve done! I know it takes courage to do this and yes, sometimes I get scared and insecure but I guess this is part of the deal. I know I will find and get a job when I am ready and I know everything will be alright. I know this because everything, one way or another, always turns to be alright. That’s life!

So that’s why I can tell you, I will be writing a post every week from now on. This is my motivation now and will definitely help me to get in touch with the girl I am. The one who loves to write! Maybe now could also be the time to work on that book that I have talked about so many times? We shall wait and see.

You are not good enough

Everybody has the right to have a roof above their head. Some people have a better one than others and some people don’t have any! Well, I was in a hunt for a new place to call home since G and I were forced to move out from the lovely nest we’ve lived for the past 2 years. I say forced because our agency decided to increase the rent by 200 euro a month! I don’t know about you, but I have principles and that includes not accepting this bullshit!

Suddenly daft.ie because my best friend… or should I say obssesion? At first I was checking once a day, taking my time and without noticing my life became this app! We had a little bit more of a month to look at places, plenty of time you’d think, right? I thought so too until I went to the field!

Oh dear, I wasn’t prepared for the tough rental market out there! You go for a viewing with another 20 people behind, beside and in front of you! What happened to private viewings? No one cares anymore! It’s all about bringing as many people interested in the property as possible so they can all kill each other in order to secure the place! You can see the letting agent laughing in the corner, enjoying the war and thinking about the commission!

We had a look at 10 different apartments – 10! We liked many of them and of course, filled in the application. I thought since we both work for good companies and have good salaries we would have this in the bag… I had no idea how wrong I was! Having good references, a stable job and good salary is just not good enough! At some point, you are asked to send an email about yourself and when you realize, you are actually writing a pitch! That’s right. You need to prove that you are a good person, that you can pay the rent, the deposit, 12 months of rent in advance that you can pay more than what they are asking for and anything else you can promise! At some point I was willing to give a sample of my blood too! Just in case you know?

You view the place, you like it, you show your interest, you oversell yourself and then let the judgment game begin! Your faith is in a letting agency’s hand! I would love to know how they chose a tenant. What are the criteria? How good do you need to be? What do you need to have? Well, I can tell you for sure that what you don’t need to have is a dog! Don’t even get me started about the whole dog drama.

Yes, we have a small adorable dog and in some cases, we did have to mention him. You meet the landlord and everything is going great, you are getting along, everybody is laughing, you feel that you’ve got this… until you have to drop the D word! The laugh turns into a serious face and the head starts to nod non stop while you try to, as well, oversell the dog! The moment the word d.o.g is heard the game is over – check mate! Nobody gives you or the dog credit! Nobody wants to know what you have to say about this lovely little creature, which by the way, is the most adorable and behaved dog out there!

With dog or no dog, you are consistently judged and the truth is that you’re just never good enough! After apartment number 9 I was starting to lose hope of living in a nice/decent place. I could picture ourselves living in a shithole with blue carpet, red curtains and green sofa…Yes, those apartments exist and are available in Dublin!

Lucky us, apartment number 10 was the one! I called the agency after the viewing to say we were interested and once the lady behind the phone got to know where we work she says “well, the fact that you both work for very good companies help you a lot”. My thoughts exactly lady, a pity all the others didn’t think the same! And just like that, one week before eviction, we secured this lovely new apartment! Now I know how the other people felt… the ones that got the apartments I liked but I wasn’t picked!

Sadly, some of my war colleagues will have to move into one of the many cold and old apartments with decor from 1920… Oh well, when in a war you fight and only the strong ones leave the field victorious! I guess that one was me.