January update :)

long time since I wrote anything about myself actually…

so I`m still in Istanbul… enjoying my last month here since I`m leaving end of February… more about it in next posts… this one is about last couple of months…

well, job-wise last couple of months were freakin` hectic… beginning of October brought the hype around the 2007 Grant Cycle, which means hundreds of conference calls, trainings, days and nights of working with our Subsidiaries to develop acceptable projects with NGOs in the region, then reviewing those projects with the review board and finally making sure that there is no problem with fulfillment (meaning that cheques and software requested gets in hands of NGO applicants). Wow, I`ve just put more then 2 months of non-stop work in one sentence! haha, can`t believe that is actually possible 🙂

Anyways, that process isn`t really complicated, but it certainly takes time until you develop these projects with NGOs… Thing is that most of them take it as granted that they will get the funds regardless of what they submit for approval… It`s like Microsoft is a rich company and they will give us money no matter if we just wrote that project is about youth empowerment and nothing else. 🙂 it`s really annoying sometimes, really… I do understand that not all NGOs are strong and that they don`t really know how to write a decent project, and that`s fine – we can teach them that too! But at least put some efforts in it… Luckily, there`s lots of them that are actually willing to learn and are soooo passionate about their jobs and about helping their people… Especially CSR managers from our Subs… Some of them are inspiring me continously with the amount of energy they are putting in this… Amazing…

So, the process was stressfull, but it really felt good when it was over… Not because it was over, but because I knew that projects are really good and that lots of underserved people in Middle East and Africa will be empowered and that all that work was not worthless!

Then December brought the hype around the Mid-year reviews (our fiscal year starts at July 1st)… Now this is the period of the year when everything is about numbers… and I hate it! It`s basically updating all the systems that we use for different things so that they are in the end combined in our Citizenship tool called Collage. This is supposedly a simple process since this system is fetching the data from all those different systems automatically and then generates reports… Yeah, simple if all those systems and tools are up to date… but they`re not, of course… 🙂 and since our team (CSR managers in the region) is quite new and growing, we have so many new people onboard that don`t really know how to use these systems, so everything is being done half-manually and last minute… so when they update the tool, then I have to check the data and compare it to data that I have offline, which means generating tons of excel sheets, going through them and making corrections… one boooooooring thing, but has to be done… anyhow, results in the end were very very positive and we`re on a good way to fulfil the goal that we have set globally – to reach 250 million underserved people with technology and literacy until 2010. it`s really exciting to see how our work is touching people`s lives every day…

During these couple of months I barely had a private life… It was mostly working, coming home to order pizza and eventually watch a movie with roommates and then sleep or work again from home… Managed only to visit Belgrade couple of times and that`s all…

January brought Belgrade again… went home for new years and christmas and it was really good to be home for longer then 3 days :). And since it was January, it brought lots of drinking exercises (can`t really call them parties :))… Everyone should try to survive Serbia during winter…. seriously… so many Slava`s, then New Years and Christmas, then another New Years (Orthodox church uses Julian calendar) and generally family and friends gatherings… all include lots of heavy drinking and partying, with no excuses accepted… so if you survive that, you can survive anything… apart from drinking, it was really nice to start getting used to living home again, since I`m coming back soon… for good…

enough for now… will write more later about finishing my traineeship and my plans for the future…

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