Kept the Heels off, t’was a Hiatus Time!

Straight of Hormuz

Straight of Hormuz

Marketa has been traveling the world, visiting far away exotic places, watching dolphins at the northernmost point of Oman at the Straight of Hormuz, stood in awe over the man-made wonders of Burj Khalifa and other commercial miracles in Dubai, enjoyed spending time with her family and friends back home in Czech Republic where she soaked up the breathtaking atmosphere in Prague’s Old Town Square (Staromestske Namesti) and watched the world famous Astronomical Clock.

She also focused on her work in Sacramento in government affairs, advocacy and policy, renewed her nursing license and driver’s license, and kept up with her professional nursing certifications.

So after a little hiatus from writing and blogging, now its time to Put Your Heels Back On, Girl!

"Marketa Goes to Sacramento" a nice movie :)

“Marketa Goes to Sacramento” a nice movie 🙂

Thank you for your time.

The Truth About Lying On Résumés

Recruiter Musings

When I was just starting my career as a recruiter, a well-known trainer at my firm would often utter a phrase that used to bother me a lot. He’d say: “All candidates lie on their résumés.” (It reminded me of Hugh Laurie on the TV show House M.D. and his famous pronouncement: “Everybody lies … the only variable is about what.”) Maybe I’m just naive — or perhaps I’m just a trusting person by nature — but I’d like to believe that most people are honest and ethical, and would not intentionally lie or deceive me with false information on their résumés. Still, I know that sometimes people exaggerate, omit things, or stretch the truth here and there to inflate their profiles.

Over the years I’ve worked with a multitude of job-seekers on how to improve their résumés. While I would NEVER encourage anyone to lie or fabricate anything, I…

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Velvet Revolution… the American Style!

Velvet Revolution… the American Style!

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Unless you have been under a rock (or sedated) for the last week, you must have heard that on Nov 10th, 2014 it was 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. What you may not know, however, is the fact there is another 25 years anniversary coming up! Yes, it is the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in then-Czechoslovak Socialistic Republic (CSSR) on Nov 17th, 2014.

What is most fascinating, and also troubling to me, is the fact that there are celebrations and commemoration events scheduled and planned all throughout the week of Nov 17 through Nov 22, 2014 in Washington D.C. These events include a future of democracy panel discussion, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra performance, Gala at the Czech Embassy in Washington D.C. (no, sadly don’t have an invite), to a Panel Discussion on Vaclav Havel’s Legacy Today (yes, I scored an invitation by simply begging the organizers. Thank you very much!) to the Dedication & Unveiling of the Vaclav Havel’s Bust in U.S. Congress (I will be begging the organizers once I arrive in D.C.) all the way to something most extraordinary!

On November 17th, students, faculty and Alumni of the world-class respected and coveted Georgetown University will be re-enacting – yes, you read right – re-enacting the events of Nov 17th, 1989 in Prague where the brave university students took to streets of Prague and demanded more freedom! Czech students were peaceful, did not make any troubles, except of course for gathering and speaking publicly which was unlawful and criminal in then-Czechoslovakia. To punish the students and make them dispersed, the Communist regime, under the tutelage of president Gustav Husak and Prime Minister Milos Jakes (none were ever held accountable), sent units of Police (Verejna Bezpecnost) in heavy riot gear, with sticks (“pendrek” in Czech), tear gas and water cannons to “take them down”.

The rest is, as they say, history…

havel

So let’s recap: Georgetown’s students, faculty and Alumni, while celebrating International Students Day, will be re-enacting events of Nov 17, 1989 and of coming days, including reading passages of speeches and proclamations made by then-student government and their leader Simon Panek (current Director of Czech global humanitarian organization ‘People in Need‘ and in Washington D.C. for the events) and by the leader of Obcanske Forum [Civic Forum] Vaclav Havel, the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first democratic president of Czech Republic. Why is this so extraordinary and remarkable?

Because there are NO such commemoration events planned in Czech Republic! That’s why.

Plain and simple. Sad, isn’t it…? I contacted a number of friends in Czech Republic asking them about celebrations. Nothing…

This one fact should tell you everything you need to know about the status of Czech politics and the standings/respect of Czech politicians. I no longer say I am in politics, or that I studied politics, or that I do politics, or that politics is my passion – I do not say that when I come home. I do not speak of politics, about a strategy for democratization of institutions, about my passion for state/nation-building or about my expertise in political systems… Why? Nobody is interested in hearing it.

Sadly, this only further ensues my original worry that while D.C. will have Velvet Revolution the American Style, there are no such celebrations or massive commemorating events in Czech Republic.  But there should be!

How easily we forget that Velvet Revolution brought down 40 years of communism, and after 21 looooong years marched the Soviet tanks back to Mother Russia, tanks that invaded & occupied our sovereignty since the Prague Spring in 1968. Velvet Revolution brought us freedom, liberty, opportunity, multi-party political system, free democratic elections, and it also opened our doors to Western culture. It brought us choices and responsibility, and maybe that is the problem?

Czech

The only questions comes to mind: What happened in 25 years to Czech society that we do not celebrate, ney, that we don’t even turn around in our beds to commemorate such a historic and historical occasion?

What happened to Czech people, politics and culture that we no longer appreciate the freedom to study abroad, for example, or the freedom to travel to Egypt or Italy, decide an election, shop whatever and wherever we want, learn foreign languages, etc…  What happened is certainly THE question.

Well, what happen is LIFE, life happened. And with life came the loss of fluffy future based on political slogans seen through rose glasses.

Now, devoid of the proverbial ‘rose glasses’, we must face the ‘horrors’ of having to be responsible for ourselves, having to be responsible for our choices, for our society AND for the status of our political system & political culture. Scary stuff I tell you!

There is no longer “them” (as in the communist) to be blamed for the status of our lives, politics or the status of our culture. Now, it is “us” and that is starring at us in the mirror every day. What will we do with “us” ? Will we turn “us” back into “them” -> as in allow the Communist who inflicted so much devastation and pain onto my country back into full slay of power and openly into government? It is all up to “us“!

Yes, people are disillusioned, tired, fed up, hurt. They are learning the hard way that democracy is hard and “freedom ain’t for free” as they say. People feel betrayed and used, as if there is no justice. And perhaps there isn’t, not right now anyway.

So what are we going to do about it? Do we have it in ourselves to stand up again, demand changes, demand accountability, demand AND accept responsibility and finally demand some respect? Can we do it?

Will it be “us” or will it be “them”? …Tis the question. 

                                                                                                                   Czech 2

So for now, I will be in Washington, D.C. commemorating my Velvet Revolution, revolution “I did” and where I was active. I will be commemorating my home country that I love so much, but for now, I will be celebrating Velvet Revolution the American Style!

PS:

We better remember that during the 1948’s national election, it was the Communists who were elected during the last democratic elections for next 42 years, because they promised pink fluffy future of political slogans seen though rose glasses.

http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/vaclav-havel-bust-will-be-dedicated-november-19

http://www.25yearsofdemocracy.org

Czech Velvet Revolution 25 year Later: Powerful & Powerless

Czech

On November 17th, it will be 25 years since the fall of Communism in the Czech Republic.

The so-called Velvet Revolution started by a group of fearless university students who protested on Narodni Trida (National Blvd) in the center of Prague, Czechoslovakia, in the Soviet Sphere of Influence. The police was called in since public gatherings were illegal and free speech forbidden. They used water cannons, batons (“pendrek” in Czech), pepper spray and violence but the students did not move…. and that’s how history started on Nov 17th in the evening hours. As a new nurse, I was on-call in my new position in ICU/OR on Nov 18th, and I was in Prague by November 19th!

It is almost unreal realizing you have been a part of history, and played an active role in a democratic revolution ridding your home country of 40 years of Communism, oppression and Soviet occupation. Unreal. Also Amazing. Responsible. Powerful. Powerless. Hopeful.

November 17th is and should remain a very important and a historic day in Czech Republic, even though the current democratic transition and the democratization of Czech institutions, political system, education, civic responsibility and accountability, to name a few, has still a lot to learn and implement; but it is our system, our implementation, our problems.

The level of political frustration and apathy reached its highest levels, Transparency International – Česká republika rates us not particularly favorably, politicians are not held to the rule of law, embezzlement is rampant, and the Communists were never punished (against my advice in my town). This lasting hurt and historical injustice, in addition to the ongoing feelings of current injustice, only breeds apathy, anger, unwillingness to get involved, unhappiness, unstable government, wide shifts in national and international policies, and a political system of 50+ parties (13 political parties just in my home town of 15K people).

czech vlajka znak

Czech Democracy has a lot to learn and a lot to accomplish. “They” say it takes 40 years to change a political system and its society. Let’s hope so, Czech Republic has only another 15 years to go. The problem is, however, who will be the power or the entity that the people wait for to usher and implement these lasting changes, changes that should be done within those 40 years ? Let’s hope we will figure out fast that is us, and only us. If we want democracy, we must be willing to fight for it. The old political wisdom says: People have governments they deserve…

It is up to us to decide to either throw in the towel and say let the socialists and communist fully win in the next election and give them back full power, let’s close the borders, forbid free speech, make Russian language mandatory, Western ‘anything’ illegal again and bread will be cheap, OR let’s decide to stand up, speak out, start taking responsibility for our destiny and let’s start demanding some accountability! Czech Republic is worthy of such effort, we are worthy of such effort. Let’s prove the old political adage ‘People have governments they deserve’ right, because we do deserve better.

Democracy ain’t easy but I do love it all-the-same…

(not) Moving Up? Women, Do You Know What Skills You Are (most likely) Lacking?

Upward move from middle management requires a particular sets of skills. Do you what they are?

Women, I implore you, if you are interested how to get – or why you are not moving upwards – from that ingrained middle management position even though you are liked, respected and your team works well under your leadership, click here and listen to these 14 minutes that can change your career and your life!

Why is it that in the last 20-30 years we have not closed the gender gap in organizational leadership? Why is it women still make only about 17% of leaders in their organizations? Why is it that if women make 50% of middle management why only less than 1/3 make it to top management?

That’s where the 33% is missing! Wonder no more!

Susan Colantuono is a wonderful un-hurried speaker who make TOTAL sense. I was sitting on my couch going Oh My Gosh, Oh my lord, Oh good grief, Oh my…(you get the picture here!) thinking how much sense it made and wondering why women don’t get to hear THIS very advise? Susan made me see very clearly the amount of work and strides we, as women, made to be now fully represented in ‘middle management’ at 50%, but not any higher. Why? What is the reason? What is the barrier? How do we overcome it as women and as a society together? Are we not educated? Not smart? Not strong? Not decisive or shark-ey enough? Not able to make tough decision? Not willing to stand up to authority? Not willing to risk?  Nah, that can’t be it… Why? Simple, because I KNOW!

And here is why:

Who EVER worked with a team of strong, authoritative, opinionated, educated, fearless, fierce, decisive, responsible, tough, hard-working, life-and-death-facing, crises-decision-making, disastrous-consequences-averting, administration-challenging, patient-advocating, doctors-opposing, and hunger-and-exhaustion-fighting intensive care unit (ICU) Registered Nurses (RNs) – they know better! Our continuous assessment, ongoing analysis, constant prioritization and re-prioritization, fearless leadership, team-building and communication skills, along with our ability to gather data, organize work and people, follow through, administer, implement and survive almost 13 hours of never-ending organized chaos and madness -> don’t tell me we cannot lead an organization where people don’t die if we delay our decision or where people’s health does not deteriorate if our analysis and communication is not performed within few minutes or hours?

What other organizations work under THOSE set of circumstances?

So reflecting upon my own career, thinking back on advise I have received or the words of wisdom I heard and let’s be honest – I never heard this! True, initially, studying nursing, the core objectives were clinical knowledge, taking care of babies and delivering the best nursing practice. Next, during my political science & women’s studies, I have not heard this either – probably thinking we will talk politics or policy (the operative word here “talk” I guess) so we will not need it. Where I finally figured out the importance and the need for a different set of skills, and where I truly comprehended what that aspect & ability could and would mean to an organization, was in Grad School and that was thanks to singing up for a series of  MBA classes over 1 year (2 semesters) at the UM School of Business!

Yes, we were/are told to beef-up on certain skills, skills that would bring us to middle management positions. So we did that. We are now more assertive, we lead projects and teams, we communicate better, we empower and engage others, our teams love to work with us, etc…. HOWEVER, those skills will get us and keep us at the middle management level, especially since the next upwards move requires a very different sets of skills and acumen. Do you know what they are?

Listen up, take notes and put your plan into action!

Educate, engage, empower, enrich.