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The Curse of Potential (or lack of) in Kosovo

A Nurse

I had always wanted to be a nurse. I don’t know when exactly I started entertaining this idea but it must be around the time I read Atonement by Ian McEwan, a read I wholeheartedly recommend. This intense and somewhat persistent wish came about because I never really cared about prestige, nor did I care about money, I believe. I wanted a regular job, with a purpose. I wanted to have time after my shift to go home and enjoy my family, my normal family. But what qualifies as normal in this life? I don’t know if it’s normal that I didn’t become a nurse; that I listened to my mother and went to “the best school in our country”; that I listened to everyone telling me I have potential.

Potential is the exact reason that has put me in all kinds of trouble regarding my profession.

Potential is not always good.

It certainly isn’t helpful when you are trying to make a decision. Actually, potential is the enemy of decisions, and so it has been the enemy of my decisions on profession.

What am I good at?

I like to believe and am quite often told that I write well, I know that I learn quickly and, drawing and painting are relaxing to me. Therefore, I want to and also have potential to either be a writer, a manager (because I study management and it seems like the easiest path on earth) or an artist.

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The Painter. Self-portrait.

However, it doesn’t stop there. I also truly enjoy makeup which seems odd to most. I would any day choose to become a makeup artists and I would absolutely love it. Obviously, I would have to practice some more. DUH. But am I spontaneous enough to drop it all and pick this up?!

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The makeup artist. Self-portrait.

It is the same story with photography, that is, I surely would enjoy contributing in the world of journalism with something groundbreaking. I would immensely enjoy documenting something meaningful. Like a war or peace – if something like the latter exists. This is obviously something I can do as a side hustle, right? right?! I hope so!

photographer-photo

The photographer. Self-portrait.

By all means, I would also enjoy the responsibility and lifestyle of a soldier. I have picked up a lot from my partner who is in the army, and very passionate about it. I’m obviously far from where he stands in will-power and love for what he does but…I can like order. I think what I would most enjoy about being in the army is the purpose and meaning of what I’d be doing. Also, I’m quite protective and I am a person who does sacrifice; which I think is highly reflected in this profession. Sometimes I don’t agree with some army philosophies and I also really enjoy pampering myself and a less intense life, but I think I could learn a different way of life.

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A soldier. Self-portrait.

So, it pains me to know that I can only be some things at a certain time, yet it also excites me that “today, the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times (with an average of 12 job changes) during his or her career”.

Also, while writing this particular piece I did recognize that what I’m most torn about is that I really want to have a job/profession with purpose but I also want to make my hobbies into something more.

Yet, in Kosovo

The scheme meets a major obstacle when one analyzes my circumstances. I live in Kosovo and this is a drawback to all I want or all I would want if I was more decisive. This is the reason why my mum worries that I would have a very difficult life if I became a nurse. Kosovo is a developing country and therefore it offers very few employment opportunities. The ones it offers, are lacking, to say the least. I will have to think deeply and try my best to get the simplest of jobs.

I understand that it’s life itself that gives us zero security, but it’s my country specifically (and other developing countries) that gives me and fellow citizens zero feelings of security. No job security; health security; or personal security; and the list goes on. I know for sure that whatever job I may get if it’s in the public sector – I will likely be fired if the government changes; and if it’s the private sector – they just don’t care.

My Experience

Just recently I had a job in which I realized that everything that has been told to me about being part of the labor force in Kosovo, by almost everyone I know, is true. I heard that some bosses are beyond arrogant, and I was proven it. I also heard that people try to use your skills and pay you as little as possible, never caring about your needs or goals, I was proven it.

Similarly, I was also proven that having a job is a very selfish game, here in Kosovo. The employer is selfish and s/he expects you to be selfish too, because why wouldn’t you be?! Why would you care about the interests of a company that treats you like a machine?! To get things done when they open up the company at 8:00 AM and to stop work, when they shut down the computers at 5:00 PM; except for when they need your skills a little longer or even when you’re home.

What about the Employee?

It all becomes an exchange of interests which I’m not super mad about; I understand it. But I don’t understand, nor approve of the way the employee is positioned, as if s/he lacks power in this transaction and as if merely having the job is a favor done to him/her. I don’t understand why employers don’t see that they are being done a favor, too, by having the skilled people they need in their company.

Nonetheless, not only the companies I worked for but most companies in Kosovo have a similar attitude towards their employees. I do understand the idea of hierarchy, but I certainly don’t support that arrogance is the way to deal with the people who are offering their abilities and talent to your company’s development. As a result of this situation, not only are the skills of employees in Kosovo underappreciated, they are not even valued in monetary terms. Basically, you don’t get paid for what you give and it’s just seen as normal. But if your job is more prestigious, such as being a manager, you might as well get paid more if you get lucky.

So, having potential in Kosovo…

Well, you don’t really. Having potential as a person doesn’t mean you have potential in Kosovo. As a result, having to make a decision such as what profession you want to choose, is a really tough one in Kosovo. Not only is it difficult for my kind of person who feels they can and wants to do many things; but it’s also difficult for people who have a set goal or wish. It can in some particular instances be much harder for those people who know exactly what they want with their profession, because in Kosovo a door can be closed without any explanation, whatsoever.

P.S.

Prague Reflections And The Story Of Me And Miris

Why do I Write?

18 Comments
  • This is so true – hearing about having potential is not helping at all. What does, is putting your mind towards your goals and make it happen yourself. Of course making such life based decisions are though. It pains me to read that doors can be closed without any reason in Kosovo. But I would like to look at it as, when a door closes, another opens. Everyone can turn their life around if they are bold enough to dare them self to make it happen!

    Loved your self portraits!

    25/12/2017 at 10:06 pm
  • I come from a long line of creatives and can really understand your struggle. My career job is in I.T. and food blogging is my hobby (side-hustle). I’d like to say if I had it to do over again I’d follow my heart and only do things that fed my creative side. At the same time, having a stable job that pays a good wage has given me security and options in that I’ve relied on when the going got tough. I’ve been able to make different decisions because I could support myself.

    26/12/2017 at 6:07 am
  • I can relate to this because there are so many things that I enjoy and can see myself doing! I’m sorry that you feel conflicted about it, that must be really frustrating.

    26/12/2017 at 8:31 am
  • This is such a good read and really got me thinking about “Potential”. Also, loved your photos too..really work well with the article x

    26/12/2017 at 2:23 pm
  • Oh that is so sad. Everyone should have the freedom to choose what they want. A door of opportunity should not be closed and should be open for all and all the time. I feel like a skill of a person is being wasted, that’s so frustrating.

    26/12/2017 at 4:23 pm
  • I was almost like you from childhood to college. I absolutely have to follow my parents’ choice for the future. However, in the second year of the University, I received these things that I am depressed and not develop. I decided to drop them and study the industry I love. Currently I am a designer and I am happy about that.

    27/12/2017 at 9:20 am
  • Well, I can understand what it feels like. I am from India, and I always wanted to be an engineer and became one. But, I had friends at the University, who had different interests. But, they were forced to pursue engineering by their parents, and they felt like they were stuck. It’s not entirely their parent’s fault I guess because, in developing countries like India, artists or sportsmen don’t get paid well or get appreciated for their work, unlike the Western countries. It even becomes difficult to make ends meet sometimes. But, still, there are people who give it a try and succeed.

    27/12/2017 at 6:30 pm
  • I think everyone should do what they are good and and what fills their soul. In many countries in Africa, children are forced to pursue law or medicine because parents believe those are the best paying job, and many do not encourage artsy kids.

    28/12/2017 at 7:06 pm
  • I’m sorry to hear it’s so difficult to get ahead in Kosovo. I agree everyone should feel free to pursue things they are passionate about. I hope the situation improves for you!

    29/12/2017 at 6:21 pm

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