Avalon again 2005

Avalon again 2005

Monday, February 4, 2008

"On the Crossroads"

It's been really a while since I wrote an e-mail and/or since I blogged for the last time.

Well, there have been a lot of changes in my life lately.

Last year in November I graduated with MA in International Relations and then I went with my brother to Bulgaria in December.

I came back to SA this week and my brother decided to stay there; in fact, Bulgaria influenced us both a lot.

In this regard, my visit to Bulgaria was indeed an amazing experience.

In fact, Bulgaria has changed a lot for these past five years since I went there for the last time.

It has become much more capitalistic and americanized; the young people are working hard, willing to make money and grow up in their careers and in general, the life has become much more dynamic and intensive.

I do not mean, however, that it is really easy for one to implement himself/herself in Bulgaria; in fact, the environment has become very competitive and the young people there are very well educated, talented and smart.

Just for a single position/job, you need to compete with really smart people.

Despite that, I saw that nowadays there are many opportunities for the young people in Bulgaria and some stand really a good chance to earn good money and grow up high professionally and in their careers.

For that reason, I decided to go back to Bulgaria and try to make a career there.

This is also what my brother decided to do; we came to the conclusion that at the moment we need to obtain some practical job experience and implement ourselves at the work-place and not just continue obtaining more and more degrees.

I felt quite challenged by the environment in Bulgaria and both the difficulties and opportunities it provides, so I made up my mind to go back there permanently in September this year.

In fact, I felt a little bit upset that I have been away from Bulgaria for the past seven years, I guess I miss my country, my environment and my people.

And above all, the GIRLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!............................

But this would be another subject.

In fact, I am still not sure whether I would stay in Bulgaria for too long; I have also changed myself and I feel I need some time to adjust back to the environment there.

Well, I said to myself that if not in Bulgaria, then I would probably settle somewhere in Europe and this won't me a problem, because Bulgaria has already become an EU member and I can live, work and study in almost any country in Europe (or at least within the EU borders).

Well, let let the time show.

I hope that everyone is doing fine and I hope we will see each other soon!

As I said, I am still in SA at the moment and I am available for any meeting with the fellow participants in the "World of Work 2007".

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Where From Now?

Few days ago, I was just informed that I will be successfully completing my MA degree in International Relations at Wits University in November. My research report has just come back from my external examiner and it is a subject to minor corrections, mostly technical and grammatical errors.
It has been really such a long time and effort to reach this end. In fact, I came back from overseas only in order to complete this degree. However, only now I realise that this has been a worthwhile effort and I should not regret that I enrolled for a Master's programme two years ago.
It is also surprising that right now I feel challenged and motivated to study again. If anybody asked me few months ago if I was going to study again after the completion of my Master's degree, I would have definitely said "no". And now it seems that the challenge has just begun, with a full new speed and big courage.
Yet, I also have so many other things that I am currently busy with and I will be for quite a while. Thus, the new job (internship) seems quite challenging and there are still many more projects coming up soon (I will talk about that in a separate blog post).
On the other hand, I need to expand on my social life, but this again is related to time and money. Eventually, I have been thinking about renewing my guitar lessons, but this initiative seems almost impossible at present (again because of the reasons mentioned above).
I guess all decisions will come straight away after I complete this degree and graduate. On the other hand, I want to give myself a little break before I go to Bulgaria in early December. Yet, this experience will be both a lot of fun and yet a challenging experience (I am a bit afraid of how the experience in Bulgaria might reflect on me).
I guess, I will come back to the same question raised in the session on "emotional intelligence" by Shammen Naidoo:
"Know Yourself!" (as philosopher Socrates said long time ago)
(In this regard, check one of my previous blog posts-it talks about that.)
But, let's talks about that next time!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

"Me and the Job"-The "Relationship" at the "Work-place"

Yesterday, I attended an interview with Susan Mwangi (another participant in the World of Work 2007 team) at the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC). I believe the interview went quite well and I would be really happy if we could both be employed at the AICC.
Apart from the common features of an interview, I noticed that a single thing is common to all types of interviews. In this regard, you need to be clear of how you can contribute to the organisation or the company that you are applying for, what value you can add to it and at the same time what you expect to gain out of this experience.
I have been asked this type of question many times, but only now I start seeing that this is indeed a very important theme of the job-application process, both for yourself and for the organisation (the company) that you are applying for.
In fact, one needs to be aware that it is not solely just about you getting this job and your monthly salary, but about your relationship to the work itself, your relationship to your company and team-mates (colleagues) and, above all, how you value this relationship.
In other words, one needs to understand that this is a process in which you have to give your best on the road of working with your team-mates towards the same goal and agenda. In short, you need to be clear about your own position in the company, how you can contribute to the organisation and ultimately what you expect to gain out of it.
As one of the interviewers illustrated very well yesterday, you need to know what you expect to “have in your pocket when you walk out of this building” (ie. when your job ends). You also need to be clear of what you need to do in order to fit in with the organisation’s mission, its values, principles and goals.
Therefore, I am asking all the participants in the 2007 World of Work training programme to think carefully around those themes and make the right decisions when they chose their jobs!
Good luck, guys!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Express Your Opinion!" or "Why Mentoring?

Since the two workshops on “mentoring” that I attended lately, a single thought has kept my mind constantly busy. In fact, what I have been thinking about in the last few days has been a discussion around the purpose, nature and use of "mentoring" “inside” and “outside” the work-place.
More precisely, I have been concerned with what indeed is the single ultimate thing that makes “mentoring” worthy and useful for both the “mentor” and the “mentee”. Throughout this particular blog, I will reveal how I think “mentoring” is useful for the “mentee” in particular.
Thus, I remember that one of our speakers mentioned that a single thing that makes “mentoring” useful is to teach one how to “express his (her) opinion”. In fact, I believe that this is extremely important skill that people need to develop nowadays. “Expressing your own opinion” could be sometimes dangerous today, since you have to deal with social stereotypes and commonly-accepted rules and norms in a given (particular) society. In this regard, individuality and independence could be often judged from a particular cultural perspective, which could often lead to a mis-perception of who this person really is and what his (her) values, goals, and principles are.
And yet, how do you overcome this “cultural divide” and stand up brave to “express your own opinion”? In fact, I think this should be really the essential part and purpose of the process of “mentoring”. In one of my previous comments on Ijeoma’s blog on “mentoring”, I stated that the ultimate purpose of “mentoring” is indeed to establish a close relationship between the “mentor” and the “mentee” in an informal and non-conventional way.
In fact, I believe that this relationship should develop far beyond the professional, academic or university-oriented domain and bring both persons to a relationship where they both know each others’ likes, dislikes, goals and interests. I still remember what my supervisor at Honours level in International Relations said once before. He mentioned that throughout the teaching process, I and he should be related as if he was my “parent” and I was his “child”. And indeed, the process of “mentoring”, “coaching”, “teaching” or “supervising” should involve a close collaboration between both the “mentor” and the “mentee”, and them working together towards the same goal and end.
Above all, your “mentor” should not just be your practical guider or coach, but your adviser in life-oriented matters and decisions, your navigator in choices that shape your future and lead you towards the execution of your dreams, goals and actions. In short, your “mentor” is the one that gives you direction in life and maintains this direction throughout the process of your up-grading and development.
Your “mentor” is also your navigator in the process of your intellectual and professional development; he provides you with knowledge and assists you in the quest of applying this knowledge to the "world of work" and other various practical tasks. Your “mentor” is also the one that guides you in the process of drawing conclusions about life after you have acquired the knowledge you needed about yourself and the “world out there”. Thus, your “mentor” is the one that assists you in the process of formulating your opinion and expressing it in a given situation afterwards. Therefore, he (she) is also the one that teaches you skills that remain with you forever and thus he (she) performs a leading role in the process of your personality development.
In other words, “expressing one’s opinion or the skill of “assertiveness” should be an essential part of the process of “mentoring”. At the end of the day, the "mentee" should be able to face the awards and challenges of expressing his (her) opinion to the wider audience "out there". And this is what I believe the process of "mentoring" is all about!

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Unfortunately, the WOW training programme has come to an end and all of us do not see each other as much as we used to. Yesterday, I had the chance to see both Susans and Maina at the interview at Brunswick. The interview went really well and I wish good luck to all my friends and colleagues with finding internships and good jobs.
In fact, since the training programme has finished, I have had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am looking forward towards finding a good internship that might lead me to my desired career. In this regard, I think that very soon I will be faced with a great challenge and I am anticipating some positive results.
Yet, at the same time, I feel a little bit sad, because I am not seeing my friends every day as I used to. Unfortunately, life presupposes immediate changes to which you need to get used to and in most of the cases this is a difficult and painful transition. Personally, I feel as if part of me has died and I am not aware of whether the future would seem that bright for me.
In fact, I have always believed that social relationships define the course and formation of your personal identity and they help you understand yourself better. Participating in group activities and doing various exercises help you establish relationships with other people and in such a way they also help you understand what you could do together, what you could achieve together (as a team) and how as an individual you can contribute to the whole team. In other words, team-work and collective exercises help you understand essentially what you are capable of doing for yourself and for the other person.
And in fact, this has been the experience that I have been used to for this one month of intensive training. For me, this has been a route of self-rediscovery and self-transformation and through the interaction and communication with my team-members I have largely realised who I am, what I am capable of doing and where I am going. Thus, I have to say that all of my colleagues and friends have contributed to me finding a real sense and purpose in my own life. And for that, I am extremely grateful! That is why I will never forget you, guys!
However, thinking about the future is yet a painful feeling! I feel as if I have been driven between two extremes: my mind tells me that I will find a good job and I know that this would be a good thing; at the same time, my heart brings me back to my memories with my friends. Thus, I realise how much I miss them and how lonely I would feel again once we do not see each other. I keep asking myself the same questions: How could I be useful for my team again?; How could I give and show love and care to them if I do not see them?
And yet, I feel that the constraints of time, distance and personal engagements are very often difficult to overcome. As a result, people need to get used to the idea that time and distance separates people and those physical constraints accompany people constantly throughout their lives. And this thought and feeling scares me and I feel as if I am losing something that has largely become part of me.
Nevertheless, I believe one cannot blame life and nature for doing those things to you. Essentially, this is part of life!
Perhaps, we (our team) should start thinking of how we can keep this spirit alive and think about different ways of how we can maintain and even develop further the friendships and relationships that we have already developed. As Lesley pointed out earlier, this has been just the beginning!
And I believe this is how we should start thinking of ourselves-the 2007 WOW team: as if we are at the threshold of a new great initiative or project that we could together in the future; at the threshold of a new challenge or test in the treasure of life. Thomas suggested we should write a book about our experiences in the 2007 WOW training programme; Susan suggested that we should start a book-club and keep our discussions and spirit alive. And these are indeed great ideas!
However, I believe that we could be even more creative than that and extend the range of activities that could bring us back together as a team, back together as who we are TOGETHER. I really hope so and I am looking forward to see this happening in the near future! What do YOU think?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

"Emotional Intelligence" or "Know yourself"!

Today’s session with Shameen Naidu was extremely insightful presentation into the notion of “emotional intelligence”. In fact, this issue has been one of my favourite topics for quite a while and fortunately enough I had the chance to hear more about this issue today.
As a definition, the term “emotional intelligence” seems to be contradictory. On the one hand, we are talking about our inner world or about our feelings, emotional status and dreams. On the other side of the debate, we have the notion of “intelligence”, which refers to the line and direction of our thinking, the intellectual capacity we possess and the tool that drives and regulates our actions and behaviour. In fact, the separation of these two terms in meaning dates only since the era of post-modernism”. In other words, I believe it is rather a post-modernist invention.
During antiquity and in modern times, scientists, philosophers and thinkers have not indeed separated the world of thought (and actions) and the world of your emotions (your inner world). The first philosopher who draws the connection between the two is the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates. His most famous motto is a popular phrase that we often use today (“Know yourself” or “Get to know yourself!”). In fact, when he was asked to elaborate on this, he explained that what drives you in life is a combination of your feelings, your values, your principles and goals-all developed through the interaction of your mind with your inner world (soul).
Firstly, he explained that our feelings are in fact an expression of our relationship to the things we find worthwhile in life. In fact, the way we relate to somebody or something is a product of our perceptions of good or bad or right and wrong-categories which we have learned to deal with throughout our lives through experience. Later on, these feelings (or perceptions) actually become values and they regulate the choices we make in life and thus define the things that we strive for in our lives. From values then they become principles (and ethical norms) and they largely define the course of our actions, our behavior and our relationship to others. Thus they become driven by our own rationality and justify the choices for our actions and behaviour.
Indeed, according to Socrates, this was a picture of all the stages of personality development of humans. He stated that this was a process in which the inner world (your feelings, perceptions and dreams) and your rationality and mind (principles, norms and ethics) come into co-existence and they both influence one another.
Once again, your feelings teach you about the things you find worthwhile in life and they define the ways you relate to those things. Then they become values and define our perceptions of what is good and bad or right and wrong. When they have been selected by our mind, then they become justified by our own rationality and drive us in our choices, actions and behaviour. As a result, then they become our principles and goals or simply our objectives in life.
In fact, this is what according to Socrates, constituted your “persona” or your “personality”-or in other words “yourself”-the process in which you develop your self-awareness, self-motivation and self-regulation (as what Shameen talked to us about today). Ultimately, this perspective of self-rediscovery and self-awareness becomes the root and value of your relationship to others and to the world at large. In other words, it becomes the sense and meaning of your life.
Put simply, “emotional intelligence” is the root, the means and the imperative that drives people in their lives-the link between feeling, thought and action. Once again, in order to know the world around you, you firstly need to know yourself and this should be the starting point in your quest for knowledge and purpose in life. In fact, this is what Socrates told his students long time ago and yet his wisdom reflects the meaning and purpose of human existence in a very truthful way.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Curriculum Vitae
Valentin Tassev
tel. (011) 477-7838; cell: 0820530119;

Career Objective: To pursue a career in the field of diplomacy and international relations or any journalism or publishing-related field.

Education: University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (2006-2007)-Master of Arts in International Relations.

University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (2005)
Bachelor of Arts with Honours (International Relations).

University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (2004)
Bachelor of Arts.
Majors: International Relations, Media Studies, French Studies, Italian Studies.

Special Achievements (Awards):
2002-awarded life-time membership in Golden Key Honour International
Society for being among the top fifteen percent students in 2001.
2002-prize-giving award by the Italian-South African society for being the best student in Italian studies in 2001.

Employment history:
, Cresta
Tasks and Responsibilities:
-customer assistant; cashier; floor manager.

Brazilian Coffee Shop, Westgate
Tasks and Responsibilities:
waiter; cashier, departmental manager.

UJ New Arts Centre:
Tasks and Responsibilities:
lighting and sound design; technical crew; stage preparation.

-team leadership; attaining objectives through team-work processes;
-inter-personal skills; presentation skills; communicative skills; oral skills
-management skills; customer-minded skills.

Social activities, hobbies and interests:
Sport: Football, Cricket, Tennis and Volleyball. I think that participation in
sports develops various skills, such as conflict management, team
leadership, discipline, commitment, character and physical health.

Membership in Social Anthropology Society at Wits.
Membership in Italian Society club at Wits.
I believe that these activities teach one to be hard-working,
disciplined, organized and always strive at the best.

Referees: Ms Natalie Zahringer
Senior lecturer in the School of Social Sciences; Department of
International Relations, University of the Witwatersrand; tel.: (011) 717-4393.

Mr Brett Coetzee
TOP CD Cresta Manager; tel.: (011) 476-7414.