A year ago, I was metaphorically speaking sitting at my almost empty desk with my bags already packed (they had actually been packed for months) ready to spread my wings and leave behind a place that had caused me and my family endless misery.
What I learned was that civil servants have traded their souls, their happiness for an empty job and a good pension. I really mean this. And what a heavy price to pay it is.
Luckily for me, this was not my first job in my life - and as we Romanians say, I've seen a lot of water flow under many bridges, so I had plenty of experiences against which to measure everything that was going in Victoria. And boy did it score poorly.
From the lack of professionalism and integrity of the management to the hypocrisy of a system eager to pretend that the "king has beautiful clothes" when there were none, from the brainwashing, box ticking exercises to an environment where bullying was part of the norm. These are not my words, you can find them on the Myers Briggs career evaluation service. An amazingly false environment where truth about the system is only whispered among people you really trust (and repeated extensively in confidential staff surveys) ...... to cut a long story short, everything about the way the place reminded me of Communist Romania, all top down instructions, no listening, no attempt to help, to develop, and yet I was in the middle of the cradle of democracy.
Standing up for ones views was the equivalent of professional suicide and departmental isolation. I know it! I've done it! I've been there and I still have the scars to show.
Anyway, I plan to write bits about my experience in the Civil Service in time. Why? Because I am Romanian.
Having lived in this country for 8 years, I can honestly say that I'm proud of who I am. I'm proud of the level of dedication my generation in Romania showed in our top jobs in marketing, advertising, publishing, media in general. What we had at that time was a hunger ... hunger for knowledge, hunger for results, hunger to learn, have fun and a huge respect for the enlightened mangers some of us were lucky enough to meet and to learn from.
For me, I'm speaking here about Reese Palley (read about his adventures here http://www.reesepalley.com/) an American adventurer, sailer, writer, an intuitive advertiser, a pioneer, a man who did not believe in compromises and who inspired us in the ad agency he established to think outside the box and believe in our ideas. Do check him out guys, you will be inspired by his adventures, I can promise you that!
Another man who made a huge difference in my life was Michael Holscher (read a bit about him here http://www.mariestopes.org/about-us/people/michael-holscher) another American. What he was able to do was to surround himself with the right people for the right job and then give them the freedom to use their creativity and instincts, standing against those proposing safe, well trodden ideas. He was prepared to take creative risks and I'm sure this is why our achievements were way above any expectations.
When like me you are lucky to meet people like Reese and Mike, it's easy to spot a fraud, it's easy to see through the layers of empty words. We learned to stand up for ourselves and our rights and I treasure this more than anything.