International Women’s Day

Everywhere you hear about how Women don’t have the same opportunities as men. And although there might be some truth in this and there is a lot still to fight in terms of wages equality and cultural biases,  I believe that “determination” is what makes an individual (regarding of Gender) successful or not. I wanted to share this inspiring video about a woman who summarizes a woman’s struggle to these words “courage and determination”.

 

 

 

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Book review: Lee Child’s Make me – Jack Reacher in paper

This was my first Child novel. I’ve already seen some movies based on Child’s famous character but never got the chance to read one of the books. It was one of those authors I wanted to have a taste on, mostly because of his worldwide popularity and because his bookcovers were screaming “take me” from all bookstores at all different angles.

However, I must say the book was meeh… or is it because I expected more?

One could believe that after so many novels based on the same character, the character would be well developed and one would be able to read Jack Reacher without any problems. However, I got no taste of the personality of this character. I didn’t understand the reasoning behind his reactions, what are his objectives, his beliefs, etc. I only understood that he acts impulsively and that he is good with weapons. Other than that, there was no reason to make me like him or care about him. Is this because, in a Lee Child thriller, there is no need to know all these aspects about his famous character anymore? I don’t buy this.

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In this Novel, Jack Reacher suddenly reaches the town of Mother Rest (apparently only because of curiosity at this town’s name). In this town, he meets private investigator Chang, a woman that suddenly trusts Reacher without any problem. In a couple of hours, he suddenly risks his life in order to help Chang and will go through to the end of the world to solve the mystery of Chang’s missing colleague. The book will take the action from San Francisco to other cities while all sorts of villains start chasing the duo that apparently has come too close to the truth. When the plots starts to get thicker, all sorts of scientific explanations arise and some of them feel forced to fit and explain the initial quest of the novel.

Points of view are also blurry in this book. There were many instances when you didn’t follow the book’s point of view. You started to wonder if a certain feeling or line of thought was happening in Reacher’s head or on her colleague Chang? If it was on Chang’s, how did Reacher know she had that feeling? Or did we suddenly changed points of view? Confusing.

Nevertheless, Child is skillful when it comes to describing action scenes, fights, gun exchanges, etc. For those interested in these details, they might find the most interesting narrative in these fight-heavy scenes.

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It might be that this novel was not my cup of tee and I expected more from a famous author like Child, but I’ve read many thrillers before and I firmly believe that all the details described above (character development and points of view) can be equally and masterfully achieved.

It was not a bad story but not what I expected.

Celebrating Christmas in the middle of the Heat

When people think of Christmas, they usually imagine a Snowy postcard image, with Reindeers, snowmen, and people wearing winter clothes. Even if you look for Christmas clothes, you’ll find they are always sweaters – like the infamous ugly Christmas sweater -, scarfs, beanies, etc. It is not as you can find tank tops or flip flops with Christmassy designs.

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As you already know, there is a South hemisphere that will have a very sunny and in-the-middle of summer Christmas. This geolocalization does not ruin Christmas for us. We still pretend to put fake snow around our trees and Christmas decorations. There are still polyethylene foam snowmen decorating the main squares and parks of the city.

However, this Holiday Season has been different in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The city where I live. We’ve experienced one of the worst droughts ever. And water shortage has been the biggest concern of our lives. I haven’t met a person who doesn’t literally pray and wish for rain. It has indeed rained a couple of times this month, but it has not been enough. Valleys and rivers are drying. Wild animals and crops are dying as a consequence. The local government is trying to pull off a couple of solutions, but nobody knows if these projects (dams and tunnels built to bring water from other places) will be sustainable solutions in the long term. We need the rain. Global warming is a fact, and we’re experimenting the consequences.

For Cochabambinos – people from my city – appreciating this resource has become part of our lives. We’ve learned the lesson. We try to save as much as we can and spend as less as possible. I take showers as fast as possible. I don’t let water be wasted. I only wash the necessary clothes and only when needed.  Most Cochabambinos cannot bear seeing people wasting water: like car washers that don’t recycle water or other unneeded uses of water.

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I had relatives visiting a couple of weeks:  my aunt and my uncle, both from Santa Cruz, a city in Bolivia that has no problems with water. Although, they are aware of the shortage of water in this city, their behavior towards water is different from ours. You don’t wash a dish in several minutes, you do it fast. If you buy fruit, you don’t clean them one by one, you save water from the tap by washing them all at once. Of course, it is not their fault, but my aunt and uncle will be far from understanding the meaning of saving water, unless they move over here.

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Unfortunately, you learn to appreciate a natural resource only when there is a lack or shortage of it. When probably it is too late. And similar to my aunt and uncle who only live a city away from mine, other people in the world won’t be able to understand this problem until they experiment it. Whoever that does not pay attention to Climate change is really lost.

This is Christmas. It is nice. But if it were raining, it would be the best Christmas ever for me.

 

 

Delivering Happiness

Well, it took me some time to write this post. I was kind of busy preparing my exit at my current job and readying for my new job. I will start in November working as Happiness Engineer for Automattic (the company behind WordPress.com and many other web solutions that seek to make the web a better place). So of course, I’m thrilled. The title of the position is very accurate actually. Happiness engineers deliver customer support but also go beyond that; they make sure WordPress.com users (mostly) go through a smooth and happy experience as they build and manage their blogs or sites.

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Having the opportunity to help people with their sites’ issues and provide them advice, tips, and tools to make things better are exactly the tasks I enjoy the most. Anticipating their needs and contributing with their blogs’ journeys is fantastic. Of course, we can’t solve everything. And I really wish we could, but being there to support and empathize with them is what makes this a great job. We deliver a little bit of happiness in each of our tasks.

So, how did I find this position? It was not that easy, and it was a long path. Basically, you need to prove you’re a good match for this company. And how do you do that? Well, Automattic looks for people who’re interested in learning every single day and growing each time more (I love that!). And what better way to know if you’re a good match for them than to “trying yourself”? Yes, you do that. You go through a paid trial so they can assess if you’re a good fit for the company’s culture or not. But this trial doesn’t only work for their assessment, you also get to taste the company’s culture and see if the role is made for you.

What other characteristics are awesome about Automattic? The company is totally distributed. Meaning that Automatticians (people who work at Automattic) get to work from wherever they are in the world. Living and being from Bolivia, this is certainly a huge plus. (Although, I totally believe the future will be like this). They hire based on what you can bring into the company and not based on where you’re located or if it’s possible to relocate. And let’s be honest, as a passionate traveler, I’m excited about working remotely.

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However, you can’t only assess a company based on the benefits and your position. You need to hunt for the “totally awesome” career factors. You need to hunt for a company that will push you to grow, learn endlessly, and contribute as much as possible. In the little time as a HE trial, I’ve learned more than what I did in all my career life. Period. I can only imagine how much I will be able to learn once I start working with them. My skills will grow exponentially 🙂 And although many companies push you towards continuous learning, some of them actually limit you without noticing (after all, they want you to make the job for which you were hired and not intervene too much with others’ work). At Automattic, I’m sure I won’t be limited. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a technical background (like me), your opinion and your work is taken into account. You can even rotate and explore as many areas as you like. 🙂

So why do I believe this is my dream job? For me working as HE will let me:

  • Help people every single day and at every single second
  • Grow and learn every single second
  • Have infinite possibilities to contribute
  • Have more flexibility to travel and get to know the world
  • Have really awesome perks (Did I mention you get to travel a couple of times a year to meet the team and the company, you get your home office set up – with the best laptop in the market, the chair of my dreams, a huge monitor, a great desk, endless WordPress swag – and so many other perks?)

I’m super excited. I know the job is going to be challenging (which I look forward to), but at the same time I feel like I’ve received one of the greatest opportunities to have finally the life that I want. I’m also excited to continue writing my books. But the writing journey conditions will be a million times better with a great job supporting me and my family.

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When you land the job of your dreams…

Wow, only writing this title was an amazing experience. All writers must work, there’s no doubt about that (unless you land a big publishing contract that could only come after decades of experience 🙂 ) But wouldn’t it be great to make your writing journey while you have one of the best jobs ever? I’m still so thrilled that I don’t know if I’ll be able to pull off this post or not.

It was really hard. It was Not one of those jobs where you apply, you get an interview and voilá you got the job. It was hard work and nothing else, and this makes this experience so rewarding because you know you fought for it; the results are only about perseverance and never giving up. It’s about being stronger than you believe. It’s about knowing you really did your best. That’s why this is the best job ever. A job where you get to help people, a job where you get to learn every single day, a job where you get to prove yourself every single day, a job where you can contribute, a job where you can grow endlessly, what else could you want?

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Writing is one of my passions! And I will continue writing because it’s in my nature, and I cannot imagine myself living without writing, but when you have a job that makes your day happy every single day, then writing time is definitely going to be the best!

And for all those wondering, what job is this? I’ll get you the details in a next post 🙂