Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eskerrik Asko

There has been rivality between Spain and the Basque Country (Pais Vasco in Spanish) for ages now. I will not force myself to describe the situation, but it is true that some claim for Independence and others for Independence as well.
I have heard people in Madrid speaking in regards of the Basque Country as a place very hostile, difficult to live, depending on the area they say its ugly...So I have been very curious about it and joined my flatmate into an adventure to Bilbao.
As we went there, my first impression was it resembles Dublin to me. Very green, cold and wet. People carrying their umbrellas with them everywhere they go.
My second thought was.. this is such a silent place. I mean, for being the hometown of many terrorists, Its pretty quiet.
Their way of expressing their controversial ideas is by grafitti, signs hanging on their balconies...

This last picture is from a house meant for "eta" activities. We were very silent while crossing, and trying not to look a lot. Imitating the actions of others. Although people say this place is empty.

Another thing that caught our eyes, was this statue inside of a church which we have never seen before. A saint with a knife in his head. There were some other statues with this same style.

One of the last things we did when in Bilbao, was to go to the most recent Train Station. In there, there was a very pretty stained glass that explained the current situation of the Vasque people. In the very center just below the clock, the shield of the Spanish country. Which leads me to the contradiction of why do they have that, if they claim to be independent.

Despite all of that, to me, Bilbao is a pretty place with a very pretty coast and same people as anywhere. That could be more apprecciated if the weather was less rainy. People support their language, which is a good thing to me, because it keeps you closer to your roots. And we know in the end, that kids will always end up learning others, in order to be able to communicate with the rest of the world.

So when I hear a spanish saying how bad this country is, I dont think of the language as a justification.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Coffee Break

When in my MBA a man by the name of Juan Aitor Lago (who happened to be one of the jury of my final project, and whom I believe as a very wise man), said that in order to succeed you needed to have some key things, out of which I can only recall 3: cash flow, presence and networking. I agree on that, and I truly believe that having money, having the appropriate appearance and knowing the right people can get you very far. Hopefully you, readers, will have them all. Though it is not my case.

A few weeks ago, in my office, they organized a conference by a "spanish" woman under the name of Pino Bethencourt. She is the writter of "El exito en seis cafes" or "Success in 6 coffees". I havent read the book and I didnt know the woman until that day, but according to the people that were in the conference, they say, she explained the importance of networking, how to well manage the contacts that you have during your life in order to obtain some mutual benefit.

My point of view.
It is true that you can loose a job because you did not show formal enough when interviewing with the manager of the department you applied to.
It is true that you can loose the opportunity of opening your own company because you did not have enough money.
It is true that you can loose a job opportunity because the person in charge was your colleague at the university and you did not get along.

So, those 3 things: cash flow, presence and networking are very important.

But I would like to focus on networking... 3 months at Madrid, and I managed to enter a global company because I knew someone from my hometown that was nice enough to enter my CV. Moved from one department to another, because someone knew of a vacancy and knew that I was looking for new challenges. Got hired 8 months ago, because someone knew my work and trusted me enough in order to recommend me.
Network is VERY important, it is something that one work each and everyday. It is the smile you give the other person, even in times when you dont mean it.. But it is there, and it can be the push you need to reach that something you have been dreaming of.

Networking is the cigarrette you smoke with your colleagues at 11, or the coffee you drink at 9, or the lunch you have at 14. It is chitchatting, a total vanal conversation, as well as a very deep conversation on how you hate mingling with everybody, or how you love working for your company, or how you hate the morning conversations when in the train to work.

But the MOST important thing is.. to be smart enough to understand all of this and to take action. Is it easy? Probably not, but I bet is worth it... It has been for me.