After barely surviving a ruptured brain aneurysm at the age of 24 my life changed, and my future started looking a lot different then what I was imagining it to be! I had to start from zero!
As soon as I was able to read I started preparing my last exams in the psychology master studies in Serbia and started applying for programs abroad. In 2010 got accepted for the European Master on work and organisational psychology and moved to Coimbra, Portugal. It was a crazy decision, first because it was a mistake and I requested to study in Spain, but there was some mix-up and I ended up going to Portugal, and second because I didn't speak a word of Portuguese, not to mention that I was still recovering from a brain surgery and my hair was just long enough to cover the 10cm scar I had on my head.
But, as my mother always says when I put my mind on something, nothing can stop me! I was determined to finally pursue something I always knew I have a passion for — Human Resources!
It was two long years of classes that at the beginning I barely understood, translations and sleepless nights to catch up just with the content of what I was supposed to master. But at the end of these two long years, I triumphally defended my thesis in Portuguese and was lucky enough to become part of a small master family, my 3 girls who supported me at every step of the way!
Life brought me back to Serbia but not for long, as in pursue of my passion I moved to Vienna and started from zero once again. This time as a junior professional I started my professional career at the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, the place that forever shaped me into what I am today! Not only because of the HR knowledge I was exposed to but also because it made me look deeper into the human side of everything, the rights we all inherit and share and the unjust inequalities that surround us. It made me a better person and a better professional!
Something I greatly value is the organisational culture, especially after my experience working in the UN, where I clearly saw I do not belong. Not because the culture is inexisting but because the values it nurtures were not aligned with mine! And so once again, it was the time to move on!
However, I must admit that working at the UN was the most rewarding experience knowing that our small and apparently insignificant tasks are making a difference on the other side of the world. I still keep an email I received from the representative of the government of one of the South Asian countries, thanking me for the contribution and impact my work (and work of my colleagues) made! Who needs promotions and pat in the back when your work speaks for itself!
Working at these two great organisations and many friends I made was the best of what Vienna gave me. And then, it came a time to go back to sunny Lisbon, place I loved so much, and where my heart lived for a couple of years far away from me!
When I moved to Lisbon I knew that was it, I knew that after moving around 16 times in the past 6 years (within 4 different countries) this time I came to stay. And beautiful Lisbon has been an adventure on its own and it is a place I call home! Serbia and my hometown is my zero gravity place, where I naturally go back and where I feel so safe and protected!
The last year of this decade finally brought me the job I always wanted, I am part of an amazing OutSystems team and I am doing things I love, and all my previous experiences, as well as my passions, perfectly blend into what I do now! Talent strategies, writing and a lot of research and great ideas being implemented is just a start for a lot more to come!
This decade has been lifechanging (like any other I guess) and I embraced my gipsy soul and unsettling spirit because now I know that is who I am, and that is what probably kept me alive and kept me going!
Today I am proud of all that I am…
sister, daughter, wife, friend, writer, gipsy, survivor, half Serban-half Portuguese, foodie, horrible singer (which does not stop me for singing), grumpy but caring, pumpkin cake maker, impatient, stubborn, talent person, OutSystemer…
Its been a great decade and I wouldn't have it any other way! It started and ended in the place I love, doing what I love and surrounded by people I love! There was a lot of detours and starting overs now and then but how we would know how tall we are if we are not deep into it!
Cheers to the New Year, may we be kinder, taller and healthier and always circled with those who wish us good.
Cheers to the new decade, may it be lifechanging and full of challenges!