What I learned from a good friend

Most of my really good friends are women, and most of them are freelancers. Not always because they wanted it to be from the beginning, but because they are unemployed – although all of them are highly qualified persons.

I am lucky. I have a job. It is not the job I have been trained for, but I got into it because I had gone to a course on programming for the web and a person with that knowledge was needed. I work at a university, not as a lecturer, but as an internet editor in the communication and marketing department, and this department is a part of the administration of the Berlin University of the Arts. It is an interesting and sometimes challenging job, and I have a regular income.
Every time I meet Gertrud, one of my freelancing friends, I am fascinated. She’s got a one-woman business with cosmetics, and it is very hard for her to earn money though she puts in a lot of work. She never complains; she’s almost never grumpy. I told her once how I admired her for her energy to encounter all the difficulties in her life. She looked at me and said: “Well, it wouldn’t help if I would complain and whine – so what’s the use of doing it.” Wow!
So she taught me to go on, to keep on trying in spite of difficulties.

The second thing I am learning from her is self-responsibility and self-organization. At my job the general goals are defined elsewhere – for example not only to present the University with a website in German, but also with a website in English. Me and my collague then have to define the sub-goals and organize the proper activities. My friend has to define all the goals herself – general goals and sub-goals, and then to convert them into activities. Nobody controls her, nobody says “no” to her ideas – and nobody helps her. She is completely on her own. That impresses me a lot, and I try to learn from her. And not to forget: I learn is to appreciate the “luxuries” of being employed…

This is part of Robert Hruzek’s group writing project “What I learned from Friends”.

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About Ulla Hennig

I live and work in Berlin. Taking photos is one of my hobbies, and writing is one of my hobbies, too. So I decided not only to show some of my pictures here but also present some of the thought which came wth the pictures.

12 responses to “What I learned from a good friend”

  1. Barbara Ling says :

    What an excellent post! I love your point:

    So she taught me to go on, to keep on trying in spite of difficulties.

    So very true.

    Enjoy, Barbara

  2. Brad Shorr says :

    Ulla, You are blessed to have a friend who can help you with so many things!

  3. Karen Swim says :

    Ulla, your friend sounds like a wonderful person! I am sure that she would have equally good things to say about you. After all, I have been blessed by your insight and good nature even from across the miles. 🙂

  4. Ulla Hennig says :

    Barbara, Brad and Karen,

    I indeed think that I am blessed to have friends like her. I could tell tales about other friends as well (for example what I learned from you, dear web friends!), but I concentrated on Gertrud because here I learned the advantages and the disadvantages of being employed respectively the privileges of having a regular decent job.

  5. Barbara Swafford says :

    Hi Ulla,

    Gerturd is a wise woman, isn’t she? It’s wonderful to have positive friends like her in our lives. They teach us lessons we wouldn’t otherwise learn in school. What a blessing you have each other. 🙂

  6. Robert Hruzek says :

    I love having friends around who do things I thought I could never do – because now I know they’re indeed possible! Glad you recognize that in yours, Ulla.

  7. Karen Swim says :

    Happy Birthday Ulla!!!

  8. Jackie says :

    Sounds like you have a good crowd of friends! Thanks for the reminder about being grateful for our employment – I don’t have an enormous income as a postgrad student, but it is regular and it keeps a roof over my head! I need to remember to be thankful for that more often.

  9. Swaps says :

    Hi Ulla,

    Your writing is so simple and honest, I could relate to it. You know, I left a comfortable job and joined my friends who are trying to build a company. Work here is greatly satisfying although without monetary rewards.

    Please tell your friend how much I admire her independent spirit. Good luck to her and you.

  10. Mother Earth says :

    I like the aspects of both of your jobs, noone telling me what to do, the luxuries of … I have never had a real 9-5 gig, my tempermant I feel couldn’t tolerate the grind. Freelancing, sales and working from home is a better fit and at some level a luxury. I sometimes wonder if a job-job would put me into a productive or more challenged mode… get me out of what might be comfortable. I wonder if my talents would be more appreciated or more defined. I have no idea what I’d market as my skills – life practitionor ??

  11. mercerd says :

    interesting material, where such topics do you find? I will often go

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  1. Middle Zone Musings » All Entries - What I Learned From My Friends - September 15, 2008

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