Avalon again 2005

Avalon again 2005

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.

Monday, May 7, 2007

How to be a "Presenter"?

Today’s session by Des Patel was an insightful introduction into the question of presentation skills. By asking us to do various exercises, she helped us understand that developing presentation skills is just a matter of practice and anybody could develop such skills.
In particular, she highlighted a number of key areas that each one of should work on when doing our presentations-for example, building confidence, speaking loud, projecting your voice, body language, the way you stand etc. In general, I believe that today’s session was an extremely valuable lesson and a good practice for our oral presentations on Friday, the eleventh of May.

Friday, May 4, 2007

"You and I"

Today’s presentation by Roy Blumenthal was one of the most exciting experiences of the world of work training programme so far. In fact, his presentation helped me understand that at the work-place and in life, in general, individuality and your own personal identity are the most effective means by which you project and expose yourself.
In fact, when I came to South Africa in August 2000, I thought that the only way for me to integrate successfully into the South African society was to abandon my values, habits and principles that I acquired in Bulgaria. Believe it or not, this was a wrong strategy and in fact, people in South Africa liked me for who I was-at times a little bit naughty, crazy and too wild. Later on, I understood that your identity and your personality are unique and you should not be ashamed of it. At the end of the day, people like you for who you are and not for whom you are pretending to be.
In this regard, Roy’s session helped me understand once again that we should be proud of our own identity and uniqueness, and not feel ashamed to express it in any given situation. As he stated, all of us are unique and all of us will be remembered in one way or another. Thanks, Roy, thank you, guys!
I would like just to add something to that. As much as people should strive to preserve their roots and identity, they should also try to learn from each other and be keen on opening to other peoples’ cultures and backgrounds. Again, my experience in South Africa taught me that one should try and understand other peoples’ cultures and environments, and assess the historical conditions from which all social relationships have emerged from (in this particular country). Tolerance and mutual understanding are required for one to understand other people and yet this effort helps you also learn new things and develop yourself in different directions. In my own case, South Africa contributed to my intellectual and spiritual development and I am grateful to anybody who took participation into this.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

What does it really mean? "Proudly South African"?

Dear Themba, you raise a very interesting issue-what it means to be a "proudly South African". Despite the fact that you do not elaborate a lot on that, it is interesting that one is aware of the controversial meaning of that term. I will tell you what I think very briefly.
For me, the term "South African identity" is problematic, because not everybody in this country fully understands or appreciates the vaue of the so-called "South African identity". As anyone can see, some people still live in big nice houses, some people are still left on the streets. In fact, there is no room for all these various populations of South Africa to integrate socially, culturally and even professionally. People tend to close themselves in their small social circle and identify themselves in the context of this small community that they have become part of. Even at Wits one can see a gear degree of disintegration among the students from various backgrounds. I will not go so far as to discuss the reasons for that. I think that everybody knows what they are.
However, if South Africans are looking with optimism at the World Cup in 2010 and they believe that the whole world will see that the "rainbow nation" in fact exists, they need to open to each other and show more willingness to understand the different backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities of South Africa. If not, the whole idea of the so-called "rainbow nation" will be just one utopian idea. Besides, anybody who claims that he (she) is a "proudly South African" needs to speak more than just one language, such as English. As we already know, South Africa has eleven official spoken languages. And how many people speak at least half of those? This is what we should start thinking about.
Please, Themba or anybody else, let me know if you believe that I should elaborate more on that issue!

"Conflict Resolution" and the Workplace

Berenice De la Croix's presentation on "conflict resolution" was an extremely valuable lesson for me to understand how to deal with a conflict in inter-personal relationships and at the work-place. In fact, over the long weekend, I was involved in a serious conflict with some friends of mine. In fact, the issue that we argued about was actually a minor issue, but I guess that everybody was trying to push his agenda as always and convince the others that he was right.
Honestly speaking, when arguing I am not very keen on accepting other peoples' points and ideas and I can keep on arguing for quite a long time. However, Berenice De la Croix's presentation taught me that one of the ways to deal with a conflict is to compromise or accommodate your opponent.
I remember that she mentioned that being "assertive" means that you should be both tolerant to other peoples' opinions and at the same time express your vision on a particular issue in an opened and sincere manner. Therefore, "assertiveness" does not mean that one should be a "stubborn" and neglect automatically other peoples' opinions, but listen carefully and acknowledge whenever the other person could be right in his (her) own view. Personally, this was a valuable lesson that I learnt from Berenice De la Croix's presentation and I can see that it already helps largely in inter-personal relationships as much it helps at the workplace.
Thanks, Berenice!

The Cultural Gap and the "Bulgarian Stallion"

This post aims to throw reveal the controversy around the blog name "the Bulgarian Stallion". In fact, this name was chosen with no deliberate thoughts in mind and obviously I was not aware of some connotations attached to this name. The night before I was about to choose a blog name, I watched the movie "Rocky" with Silvester Stallown, quite an old movie about a famous boxer from Philadelphia. In the movie he was referred to as the "Italian Stallion", I do not know why.
I liked this name and when I had to create a name for my blog, I decided to refer it somehow to Bulgaria. And because it had to be my own blog, I decided to name the blog "the Bulgarian Stallion". Only later I found out that this blog name had some sexual connotations attached to it, not familiar to me. For that reason I would like to say at this point that the choice for this blog name had nothing to do with any of those meanings. Obviously, I have not been aware of this meaning from a cultural point of view.
However, now that I know what it refers to, I am glad that by accident this blog name brought some movement and discussion among people. And believe it or not, I will not change it as long as it makes people think and question themselves why there is such a blog name. As Roy Blumenthal suggested, we have to be original and unique in the way we represent ourselves. Thus, with regards to the blog name, let it be!

Monday, April 30, 2007

"The Team and I"

Brad’s session was an insightful introduction into the importance of teamwork at the work-place. In fact, Brad taught us that at any given time anybody in the team could be a team leader and respectively the roles could change as the agenda of the conversation changes. As a result, anybody could given the chance to contribute to the team’s effort and it helps bring about understanding and communication among the team members.
Above all, Brad’s presentation helped me realise that teamwork is essentially about tolerance, understanding and respect among the team members. Obviously, there could be a certain degree of competition even among the team members; however, a team functions well if the members are willing to advance the interests of their collective will rather than individually.
As Brad said, team members should think in terms of “WE” and in terms if “I”, as most people tend to think!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Stress Management-How to Fight Stress?

Shameen Naidu’s session on stress management was one of the most emotional experiences of this programme for me. Apart from revealing some general information about the causes of stress, stress management and the consequences of stress, she really took us through a stress-relieving practice that left all of us in a good shape after the session.
In fact, the same day I was extremely stressed about something and yet her hypnosis made me feel much better, forget my fears, problems and worries, and look at life from a much more positive perspective. I am looking forward to meeting her again and I will definitely make use of some of these self-relieving exercises in the future.


The entrepreneur?
Marius Venter’s session was a very relaxing introductory session into what entrepreneurship really means. By giving us various interesting exercises, he aimed to engage us into an activity that we perform as both entrepreneurs and businessmen. Honestly speaking, prior to his presentation I did not have a clue of what all these complex terms, such as “entrepreneurship,” mean and I was also not interested to know.
However, his presentation and various exercises revealed the number of skills and strategies that we should develop and employ when entering the world of work. In fact, his presentation revealed once again that the process of finding and securing a job is a matter of developing your skills and abilities in various directions. Eventually, you would find a job that does not only test your strengths and abilities in this specific sector or area of expertise, but a job that takes you through a life-training course!

My Friend or my Enemy? "THE CUSTOMER"

Who is in fact the customer? My friend or my enemy?

Aki Kaliatakis’ presentation was extremely insightful to me in terms of revealing new ways to look at the issue of customer care and customer service into the realm of the work-place. Indeed, he illustrated that professionalism into the work-place does not only revolve around being competent about your own product and advertising your service, but also about how you treat your customer. As far as I understood, the way you built up your communication with the customer is completely driven by your own inter-personal skills and attributes.
As much as you can follow your company’s procedures and guidelines in terms of customer service, yet your relationship with the customer should be a reflection of your true-self. And only then the communication and interaction would be real, as much as the smile on your face would reveal the joy and satisfaction you have gained from dealing with that specific customer.
Aki’s presentation was also impressive in terms of the approach he chose to deal and interact with us-his audience. Consciously or unconsciously, we (or maybe I) believed every word that he said. The jokes he made and the references to his own personal life revealed him as an honest and a very pleasant person to me. He really made this session an unforgettable experience for me!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Education and Work! Do they go together?

In today's post I would like to refer to my understanding of the gap between EDUCATION (ACADEMIA) and the WORKPLACE. I agree with some people that education is not necessarily useful and efficient if it has not been applied (anyhow) to the world of work in practical terms. Yet, I believe that all the skills that you have developed throughout your years of education could be found helpful into the world of work one day.
In this sense, I am referring back to a comment that I made earlier in one of my previous blogs. Not always people study a particular discipline, because they believe that they would find themselves solely performing a job in this particular field. Essentailly, EDUCATION has always been a tool for acquiring KNOWLEDGE and SKILLS, and people tend to speculate today that specific education should facilitate only one kind of job. In other words, if you studied B.Com, it necessarily means that you should ultimately end up into a career of accounting or finance.
No, I do not agree. As Roy Blumenthal mentioned before, as Andrew Hofmeyr indicated earlier this week and as Lisa Garson emphasised today, education is in fact a constant process of training, a process of rediscovering your skills and then applying them to the job market. In similar terms, Lesley Emanuel stated earlier that every day is a job-interview day.
In other words, education is in fact a constant process of traning and re-developing your skills, a process of building up your strenghts and abilities in various sectors. When the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, wrote his dialogues, he made it clear that primarily the purpose of EDUCATION is to provide you with KNOWLEDGE about yourself and about your relationship to the world. He also mentioned that EDUCATION and WORK are not two separate entities, but they are rather inter-linked and you always employ what you have learned before to various practical tasks. Thus, when you are given a certain type of job, the skills that you have learned before will come across in one way or another.
In this sense, I believe that EDUCATION and the WORKPLACE are not separated form each other, they rather co-exist. And as we have discussed throughout our various sessions so far, one does need to look solely at the jobs available that suit his (her) degree and qualifications, but to look at the jobs that suit your strenghts and qualities. In this sense, Ijeoma picked it up very well throughout her blog, illustrating Andrew Hofmeyr' point:
"Expose your qualities, not your qualifications"!
For that reason, I draw particular attention to these few points. All of us, the participants in this program, should remember that all that we have learned so far will not be wasted and it will be useful for us in one way or another. And we should all try and apply those SKILLS and KNOWLEDGE to the world of work somehow. Ultimately, the job-searching process is a process of testing your strenghts and abilities and not necessarily a process of finding whatever suits your degree qualifications.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Me, the Recruiter and the Job

Last week's presentation by Dan Sorrenberg was a key introduction into the job interviewing process. I particularly enjoyed that he shared some of his impressions and expectations of constantly dealing with interviewees throughout his life.
Indeed, his presentation was extremely useful in terms of helping me understand how important is how one behaves before and during the job interview. In fact, your strenghts and weaknesses can come across the interview immediately, but one firstly needs to know what indeed he (she) is capable of. Thus, one needs to be clear of what he (she) expects out of this certain job, why he (she) wants it and whether he (she) would enjoy it. In fact, you should tell yourself constantly:
"Do not lie! Be honest!" (as Dan said).
These issues were indeed elaborated more in today's session presented by members of the CCDU from Wits. For that reason, I make the link between last week's presentation and today's presentation.

Me, the Recruiter and the Job

Last week's presentation by Dan Sorrenberg was a key introduction into the job interviewing process. I particularly enjoyed that he shared some of his impressions and expectations of constantly dealing with interviewees throughout his life.
Indeed, his presentation was extremely useful in terms of helping me understand how important is how one behaves before and during the job interview. In fact, your strenghts and weaknesses can come across the interview immediately, but one firstly needs to know what indeed he (she) is capable of. Thus, one needs to be clear of what he (she) expects out of this certain job, why he (she) wants it and whether he (she) would enjoy it. In fact, you should tell yourself constantly:
"Do not lie! Be honest!" (as Dan said).
These issues were indeed elaborated more in today's session presented by members of the CCDU from Wits. For that reason, I make the link between last week's presentation and today's presentation.

Skills? Knowledge? Do we have them? How do we get them?

Today's session really revealed to me all the key-techniques and small details required in the process of finding a job. In particular, today's session provided a profound insight into the process of preparing for a job interview. On the other hand, the workshop on CV writing was extremely helpful towards preparing one for the different stages in writing your CV.
In this regard, the second part of the presentation highlighted the organisational structure and elements that characterise the process of job preparation. In particular, I realised how important it is for one to know how to prepare for a job interview and what his (her)expectations should be.
The first part of the presentation I enjoyed the most. The group discussion on the variety of skills required for the world of work made me realise some important things.
On the one hand, it helped me understand that the job training process is a lenghty process that involves the development of skills that you have never been exposed to before (as throughout your previous years of education). On the other hand, I realised that there is not a specific group of skills required for a certain type of job, rather any type of job could involve a variety of skills.
For example, a political analyst needs to have good presentation, oral and writing skills. This does not mean, however, that he (she) does not need to have good action-planning or management skills in order to put his (her) knowledge and ideas into practice.
Respectively, a company manager needs to have above all good management and action-planning skills. Yet, he (she) needs to develop good oral and communicative skills as well in order to communicate effectively with his (her) employees.
Eventually, the last thought that comes to my mind is that the job training process is a constant process of improving and developing your skills. In fact, nobody is born with skills, they are rather acquired and developed throughout your life (inside and outside of the workplace).
In this sense, the development of skills is a self-learning process, born out of experience, communication and interaction with others. As a matter of fact, we all learn from each other and there is not a right formula of how one develops a skill. As I said earlier, it is a matter of time and experience!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Today's insights

Today's presentation by Andrew Hofmeyr was a profound insight into the dynamics of the job application process and the world of work training. Indeed, he helped me understand how one can apply his (her) skills to the world of work, no matter what skills these are indeed.
For example, Andrew Hofmeyr talked about how a BA student could be more appropriate for the world of business than a B.Com student due to his ability to think analytically and critically. In this sense, the world of work training seems a long process in which you need to apply all the skills that you have learned throughout your previous years of education-skills that you initially believe that are not relevant to your chosen career or job-related field. As he said, your skills and knowledge can lead you to a career that you expect the least. Therefore, one needs to apply them to a great degree, as he (or she) is not sure what options might arise as a result.

In addition, the exercises that Andrew Hofmeyr asked us to do helped me realise once again the importance of team-work activity as an essential component of the workplace.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Personal Profile

My name is Valentin Tassev. I am twenty-five years old and currently I live and study in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have obtained a BA degree majoring in International Relations and Media Studies, a BA (Honours) degree in International Relations and I have almost completed my MA degree in International Relations.
I am fluent in Bulgarian, English, Russian and Italian. I have also done Latin, ancient Greek, ancient Bulgarian, modern Greek and French. My passion is indeed studying foreign languages and cultures. In particular, i am interested in a career in diplomacy and international relations or any journalism (or publishing)-related field.
I enjoy writing, watching movies and playing soccer in my free time. I hope that the current work-training programme will teach me a lot about the world of work and it will help me to implement myself succesfully into the workplace. Thus, I will try my best to make use of it! So far, it has been really an amazing exoerience for me.

Why Blogging?

My first day at the work training programme has been really an amazing experience. In fact, the idea of blogging seems appealing to me and I find it really an interesting forum for the exchange of information and ideas.
In particular, I believe that blogging helps you establish solid contacts with other people and it is also an extremely efficient tool for finding possible employers. On the other hand, blogging helps you learn from your mistakes through the recommendation of others who had read your comments and ideas and who could express their views on these matters.
Personally, I believe that blogging will help me establish contacts with the other participants in the training programme and exchange infromation on various issues. Yet, i think that the guest-speakers and hopefully some possible employers could learn a little bit more about me through the comments that i make throughout my blogs.
For that reason, i am looking forward to it!