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”.