One of the so-called “Blockbuster” films I watched recently was “Noah”, starring Russell Crowe. How Hollywoodian it all was and what a twist to the Biblical tale, Bravo! Creationism revisited to suit all tastes, and what a super topic for a long overdue post about a recent turn of events in my own little backyard… Deluge and a couple of terminal (read no win) situations… it was too tempting to pass over.
I’ll explain a little later but first some framework. You may have seen the “Share” going around social media about putting bad days into perspective, i.e., your bad day versus that of the guy who, for a hand full of dollars, sold his shares in some IT start-up venture back in the 70s only to find that their monetary value today was somewhere in the 9 figure $ region, and how you’re not supposed to bitch if it’s raining on your parade, it could be worse… and you might have seen another “Share”, on LinkedIn, concerning a citation by Napoleon Hill about how defeat can be stumbling block as it can be stepping stone depending on the mental attitude with which its faced…
So, now I’ve added some, albeit tenuous, framework… There are some years you can simply qualify as “Write offs”, and move on, 2011 was one such year for me. Then there are also some years that have the makings of a “Write off” where everything gets turned upside down and projects get shot to ribbons, or almost (thanks to some damage control). Years with all the symptoms of going pear shape, big time, and still somehow manage to turn out OK. Potentially difficult situations are finally avoided, clouds have silver linings, options appear out of nowhere and everything finally turns out for the best and why? Well the French have an idiom for that: “Merci qui? Merci Bibi”.
…Oh, and while we are on the subject of the French there are posts and articles going around, again on LinkedIn to name but that one vector, about the French economy. Well, people, make sure your own doorstep’s clean first and let them look after their business. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after living thirty or more years in France it’s that the French may give the impression of living an anachronism, Socialism in its last throes etc, but like the Danes, the Italians and the Spanish they have their way of getting things done and that’s the way they like it.
But back to my “Noachian (Noahian)” tale. 2014 had all the trappings a total wash-out but somehow things are turning out better than expected. OK so there have been, and still are obstacles plus the year isn’t over yet but given the way things are progressing I just can’t help feeling optimistic, even if I would be a lot happier to see certain plans wrapping up sooner rather than later.
So where am I coming from? Well 2014 started as 2013 ended: Nose to the grind stone, wondering what I was doing in a no perspective situation, then along comes spring time and things started getting wobbly at work and alarm bells ringing. I’ll spare the details, as well as the debate, suffice to say that end of June saw me clearing my desk, handing in my electronic key and leaving a mutual “No Win” situation a little earlier than anticipated. Now experts will say that whenever you walk away from such situations its normal to have negative feelings. Personally I hadn’t been in such a situation for a very, very long time and rather than feeling sorry for myself I felt more frustrated but was already working on bringing forward project “Cologne 2.0”.
Why “Cologne 2.0”? Well it’s all about “Twos”. First and foremost it’s about my wife and I and our project, consisting of, 1) terminating a no win professional situation (as it transpired, a little earlier than planned) and 2) terminating a rather pricey rental flat we’d been in since arriving in Cologne, a drain on revenues initially intended for another purpose.
So having identified the two main pain points my wife and I started talking about what to do next. We’d both agreed that we didn’t have an issue with coming to Germany, even if I would have preferred further south, but rather with the situation since we arrived. I could have said no to the job that brought us here but we were both ready to accept the challenge and willingly, rather than passively, accepted to come. The fact that 1) the job was a no win and 2) the flat was, in our opinion, hastily chosen for us while we were still abroad, became apparent almost immediately and from then on it was a case of managing a situation as best as possible while learning a system so different from the one we’d left behind us.
Normally I wouldn’t recommend changing jobs and flats at the same time, especially when you’re still learning the system, but sometimes you don’t have a choice and I bless my wife for all the support and advice she gave me, not to mention the occasional kick in the rear. It helped me keep a clear head, consider options and above all stay motivated.
Freebie and the Bean
Oh, and in case you’re wondering why it’s been over six weeks since the last post (thanks for noticing) how about a little Bitch to explain the delay? One of the things that seriously frustrated me during the house move was the fact that changing apartment may also involve changing DSL/Cable service provider. If you’re lucky you move to an area covered by the same provider. If you’re unlucky you have to change provider and this was our case. Normally that’s fine with me, it invariably takes a few weeks (maximum) and it’s, 1) an occasion to choose a new provider and 2) get a new package and a new deal. The downside, and this really p***ed me, it that this time I had to wait over a month for the Cable/DSL guy to come to connect the line. Seriously? In this day and age? A month? Fortunately I’ve a “Smartie” and a surfstick to keep me connected but I’m amazed the DSL companies in Germany think they can get away with such extended delivery timeframes… In any other world, i.e. the Language/Localization services industry the provider would get slapped with a penalty charge for not respecting the delivery date, but then again we’re in Germany, not the States… or prove me wrong. Mind you, the good side of not having internet, at least for a while, is that books that have been on my “Must read” list are getting read and I’m doing all kinds of healthy things like swimming, cycling and going for walks with the wife!