Monday, September 29, 2014

schadenfreude and other feelings

stockholm businesses

Schadenfreude isn't an emotion I'm that familiar with, at least not on a personal level. Somehow it seems a waste of energy-feeling. In Swedish the word for it is "skadeglädje" which is pretty much the exact same word as in the German Schadenfreude. I adore the German word, it's rather beautiful and encapsulate the emotion well (like Weltschmerz does) whilst the Swedish one feels bitter and uncomfortable.

In Sweden there's also a saying "skadeglädje är den enda sanna glädjen" which means "gloating is the only true joy" - which I find just sad. You must live a really sad and bitter life if there's nothing else you enjoy so much as schadenfreude. (Though feel free to laugh a lot over the illustrative picture to the world in this online dictionary here. And feel the joy.)

But now I'm going to tell a little recent story which is a case where I actually did experience schadenfreude on a personal level. And it strangely enough made me all giddy and happy in a very odd way.

I applied for a job, I didn't get it. Not because I wasn't good enough but because my texts "weren't quite right at this time". Since I'm absolutely convinced they were both good AND right I'm also pretty certain the reason I didn't get the job was I don't move in the "right" circles or know the "right" people. But still, I did expect the ones that did get the job would produce excellent texts and being fully knowledgeable of the concepts of transcreation and localization. Because it seems *rather* silly to hire someone not for their competence but for their *know the right people*, right? Right.

The other week I noticed that the website was updated and revamped with new texts - and it was a source of amazement and yes, a lot of schadenfreude. Because they were really shoddy. Like Google translate bad. Clearly not translated by someone who've heard of transcreation or localization. In fact translated by someone who is not very good at Swedish. The texts lacked flow, felt very strained and odd.

Obviously the company which was hiring wasn't looking for quality and enthusiasm, for someone who gets their brand (although that was what they claimed to be looking for, "a very special voice" indeed), clearly they were looking for someone who knows someone "right" and possibly they can write a bit too. When I saw that spelled out like that, in poor writing I began to giggle. It was in fact liberating somehow.

I wanted that job so much, when they went with someone who produces this low quality it is clear it's not the high quality company with attention to details I thought they were. Of course I can feel wistfulness over that fact, but I also know they don't deserve me and my passion.

I'm not sure it would have been better if the texts of the someone they went with would have been awesome or the shoddy case as it is. If the texts had been high quality awesome I could at least have felt they made a decent decision and I'd continue to love them for their attention to awesomeness. Now instead, I gloat, yes I do. And the schadenfreude I feel is of the liberating kind. Which I suppose is a good feeling and not, in this case, a waste of energy feeling. Quite the opposite. And for that I am grateful.

Since I think it's important to be open with the fact that the running your own business as a freelancer is not only such fun - which was also obvious in another recent situation - but also involves people that waste one's time for no good reasons at all. Here's another recent incident of the job kind. Which is a blend of nuisance and lessons learnt.

I was approached by someone on LinkedIn with a job offering. It sounded nice, the company gave me a lot of information so I could make an informed decision if it was something I would be interested in. I decided I was, I signed an NDA, did a transcreation and copywriting test, I gave a counter offer to their initial proposal since that was way too low for the job in question and argued for everything they'd get with me onboard. And then I waited to hear back with a possible counter offer on their part and then we could sign an agreement.

Because surely, if you contact someone on LinkedIn it's pretty obvious what their job experiences and educations are, do they have recommendations and endorsement and if so they *may* be a hint they're good at what they do and have solid knowledge of whatever competence you're looking for right? Right.

Apparently that's not always the case. Because the answer I got back was "We feel you have significant senior qualities for this job and we don't have the budget to pay you xx." Such an annoying behavior. Since a) my arguments/qualities were things already clearly visible in my LinkedIn profile. If they had read that properly BEFORE they contacted me and felt that was too much for the job in question they should not have contacted me at all. And I wouldn't have spent a lot of time contemplating it, mulling over the numbers, working on the texts.

B) If I had felt it was a job below my "significant senior qualities" of course I wouldn't have made the effort I did. I would have said thanks but no thanks on an earlier stage. Also c) I think negotiations regarding the salary is a standard thing when you're discussing a job. Offers and counter offers are norm.

I wrote back and said "Thank you for seeing me as having significant senior qualities. But it sounded like a fun job and I'm sure we could have agreed on a salary. Feel free to give me a counter offer." - do you think I got a reply? Well of course not.

Sometimes I get the distinct feeling that companies/people aren't used to freelancers having a mind of their own, standing up for themselves and aegue for a reasonable financial compensation for quality work. Like we'll only be grateful for being contacted via LinkedIn (and other places of course) and therefore saying yes to anything and everything.

Which brings me back to this article about freelancers being their own worst enemies. Our time and competences are just as valuable as anyone's. It's about high time more of us acknowledge that simple fact. We are freelancers because we value the freedom in how and where we work, but we still need to get a reasonable pay for a job well done. And if we don't stand up for our own value and argue for our competences, noone else will.

Do you have an opinion on this?
And what's your experience?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

prosit has a new computer

new computer

Say hello to my and Prosit's new computer! I'm so pleased to finally get it. The old one, which came to live with me 4+ years ago, has been acting up more and more lately so it was time to look for something new. And this is what I decided on. It's a HP Pavilion and I feel it offers what I'm after as well as being rather snazzy looking. I'm so glad to have a white/silver computer this time, it's fresh and inspiring and hopefully we'll spend many years (well, at least 4+) together in a most prosperous way!

I've just ordered what I hope to be a fantastic customized skin for the new PC, very Prosit it is, because surrounding oneself with beauty and inspiration is always a good thing to do of course. And then there'll be a proper case for it. I'm hoping that I can get one from Swedish company P.A.P, like the one for the iPad. But it may be the silly little case of they only make cases for MACs. So if that's the case (no pun intended) I'll try and find another sturdy cover that's made of recycled materials.

The new computer has been inspected by the small sized woollies and I think they're pretty impressed. They have also promised to do their bit with keeping it clean and fresh with their little pink vacuum. If not there may be a case of restricted cafe visits and with-holding pastries. And that would be disastrous from a bobbaloo point of view I'm sure.

new computer

Saturday, September 27, 2014

a colour coordinated shoe display


Quite smitten by this window display. Not my type of shoes, I do not enjoy flats neither do my feet, but oh the colour coordination is charming and inviting I think. With matching belts. And a little red bobbaloo sized scooter thrown in. Simple fun. But only the display.

The price of the colourful flats is 895 sek which is about 125 usd or 97 euro. I doubt they'll last for years and make your feet happy. I'd take a pair of El Naturalistas anyday, thank you very much.

Friday, September 26, 2014

the cat and the pug

whenever we have a distinguished pug visit the three youngest cats are more and more intrigued. the pug named malte loves the cats and would definitely like to play. and since he'a a gentler sort (and not as clever) than the terrier loaf malte i think they'd enjoy eachother very much. small steps. every time.

the latest visit there was even a close encounter of the mutual sniff kind. and a bit of excitement. cuteness galore.

the pug also enjoy a good brushing and rub, which gets him even more excited. he's such a fun and quirky dog. at least when he gets to visit us. i'm pretty sure he doesn't live a very excited life in general, there's a lot of potential in that dog that hasn't been fulfilled. so i hope he gets a bit of well-deserved r&r (as in rumpus & racket) when he visits us.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

the cat piper of stockholm

today i was a very popular bunny amongst the feline herd. making up for lost cuddle days.

for this i am truly grateful. you can call me the cat piper of stockholm. the benevolent kind of course.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

the prosit office of the day

i really enjoy having meetings and working at cafes. the obvious drawback when you're alone at cafes working for longer periods of time the getting more tea/coffee and loo breaks are terrible inconvenient if you don't have someone really reliable to watch your things. this i tend to do the latter very rarely.

but when it happens i enjoy it. and today i spent some hours with this as my office. not too shabby me thinks?

one of my favourite spots in gothenburg, antikhallarna, where antique shops share the halls with a really sweet cafe that serves excellent fika and especially fab waffles.

so of course i had a waffle break!

now on a train home, 3 hours delayed. so far, who knows when it'll arrive in stockholm... but i did have some lovely meetings and work done in gothenburg, when i finally sleep in my own bed i'll remember the good stuff of this trip. like a really nice office of the day. and waffles.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

thank you for the music, gothenburg

a very pleasant business mixed with pleasure day in gothenburg was rounded off with a fantastic event where we got to hear abba's designer speak about his work with abba (it's 40! years since the one with 'waterloo' in brighton) and one of abba's original musician play some tunes. so many memories, laughter and tears. well i cried because if it's something i am truly proud of that sweden has produced it's abba. their music has brought so much joy to so many people and still do.

i will write a bit more about this fun event later. for now, glimpse only.

so thank you so much for the music, gothenburg ~

Monday, September 22, 2014

the toilet paper mountain

when one says 'hey, we're out of toilet paper' one doesn't really expect that someone will bring home a mountain of it.

on the other hand, the house also holds the scandinavian bobbaloo settlement and them bobs are well-known for being finicky with their poo paper and such.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

intimus and other swedish books


Since I am now a happy owner of a returned reading mojo I thought it appropriate to write a few words on some recent and not so recent read books. This time from Swedish authors only. Most of them I loved, one I certainly didn't (good I picked than one up at a thrift store then). One author being one of my favourite writers, others are great and one not so great at all. Let's begin with the best one, possibly not the book of the six I enjoyed reading most, but definitely the most ingenious and well written one. I rate them from 5 to 1, 5 being the best, 1 being the worst.


Intimus by Jan Arnald 4/5

I finished this book last year. One of very few I've read since my lack of reading mojo begun nearly foru years ago. But this one I was drawn in to immediately, it's incredibly well-written, ingenious and like nothing else I've read.

Jan Arnald usually writes under his nome de plume Arne Dahl, the man behind some of Sweden's most well written, clever crime fiction ever. One of my favourite writers, really smart and layered crime fiction is really a joy to read. His books about the so called A-group, a special force within the Swedish police is great pieces of literature and not only for its genre. (Too bad the screen adaption is crap.)

But this isn't about his crime novels, this is about a dizzying novel that takes you from South America, to England, to Australia to Sweden. It's about astronomy, explorers and their discoveries, nazi genetic experiments, about love and hate, violence, life and forgiveness. The book takes you on a journey through the centuries, from the 18th century to this day. It's a difficult to describe the book, but very well worth reading, obviously. His crime fiction is translated into many other languages, I suppose this one will have been too.


Döden på en blek häst (Death on a pale horse) and
Tistelblomman (The Thistle flower) by Amanda Hellberg - 4/5

Swedish writer and illustrator Amanda Hellberg lives in Oxford with husband and kids. "Death on a pale horse" was her debut novel about Maja Grå (Grey), suspense novels with supernatural elements. It was a book I picked up as travel literature in 2011 - and it was impossible to put down. I finished it straight away. Well written with a clever plot and suggestive.

She's written more books about Maja Grå, but for some reason all haven't been published as pocket books (my book of choice), so "The Thistle flower" is the third book in the series. But it's possible to read it without feeling there's a piece missing. Read it last year and enjoyed it very much, the setting is in the Scottish Highlands and a ghostly house called The Thistle flower. It's a book that will send chills down your spine. Very much worth a read! Not sure it's translated, yet.


Kinesen (The Man from Beijing) by Henning Mankell - 4,5/5

Henning Mankell is a well-known and internationally acclaimed crime fiction author already, his character chief inspector Wallander in Ystad have been translated into many languages and also turned into several more or less well-made movies (in the English adaption he's played by Kenneth Branagh). To be honest I've only read two of his books, not because he's a bad writer, quite the opposite, but mainly because the screen adaptions is constantly shown on TV so you know all the stories too well...

This book is not about Wallander though, it's a very intelligent and gripping crime novel that takes you from China to America to Sweden. It's a story about history, sins of the sins of the father, the present, the future, world politics and a mass murder in a remote Swedish village in the north. When it was published I remember reading about the Dutch Olympic team getting the book to read and learn about China and Chinese history in order to understand China of today when competing in the Olympics that year. Not sure that's a true story, but yes it could be because it's certainly an enlightening, well-researched and smart novel.

Read it if you haven't, it'll teach you a lot of things, about how everything is connected, how all of us are connected on different sides of the world, through history. I wish we could become better in being taught by history though.


En man som heter Ove by Fredrik Backman - 4/5

When it was published in 2012 everyone raved about it. I was obviously in my non-reading state and didn't read it then. I finished it last weekend. In tears. Because yes, it's a very moving debut novel, from the then 30 year old blogger and former truck driver Backman, where laughter and tears go hand in hand. The main character Ove is a bitter and sad man, but also a very caring, no-nonsense man with a very high sense of justice. There is deep sorrow, love, laughter and a cat, a very human book. Well-written in a non complicated style than will appeal to most I think, easy read but also very emotional in a restrained way, like its main character.

I know this one has been translated into several languages. You should read it too.


Bara vanligt vatten (It's only water) by Kajsa Ingemarsson 1/5

To sum this books up in one sentence: his is really badly written chic-lit. Many years ago I quite enjoyed her first book "Små citroner gula" (Little lemons yellow), have read a few of her books since but for every book I've found them to become more stupid and superficial. The genre calls for stupidity and simplicity I guess. Not my cup of tea.

The main character is a best selling author of Swedish crime fiction, she's around 40 years old, obsessed with the surface, from clothes - the constant brand dropping is nauseating - to being skinny, to plastic surgery, make-up, hairstyle. She's mostly a stuck up bitch through out the book, even when she's haunted by the tabloids over a personal love life incident. The book is almost 600 pages long and yes, badly written and annoying yet I couldn't stop reading it. I have no idea why. I also vowed I will never read another book by Ingemarsson, journalist and TV-personality before she became a writer, again. Too many great books out there to be spending time with the lousy ones.

Currently reading three books and I've finished a couple of others recently. Guess I'm making up for lost reading mojo. So before you know it, there'll be more book reviews in this blog!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

how to not impress a cat

personally i think...
'I am not impressed by this grocery shopping. Personally I think there is just too little meat is served in this residence.'

The life of a vegetarian/vegan cat owner.
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