Mea culpa: back in EU politics

This post is archived. Opinions expressed herein may no longer represent my current views. Links, images and other media might not work as intended.

In early July 2016, I announced that I quit the EU policy analysis scene. I am now reversing that decision as things have unexpectedly changed for the better: I got a new EU-related job, albeit a short term one, and may have more opportunities in the foreseeable future.

In the rest of this announcement I provide the context and relevant details. Here is the gist in case you do not have time to read the whole thing:

  1. Coming back also means that I will be writing about the subject, just as I used to do (provided sufficient free time).
  2. I am not completely abandoning the plan to pursue employment opportunities in front end web developement. I am a freelancer and am willing to be a policy analyst “by day” and a developer “by night”. If some full time job comes along, then I will adapt accordingly.
  3. I am rejoining Twitter. I now recognise that it is the de facto medium of communication for EU professionals and those interested in those issues. Tweet me @protstavrou.

Context and why the U-turn

My earlier decision was informed—indeed determined—by the pressing need to get back in the labour market. I was unemployed and desperate to find a job. I tried a number of things but nothing seemed to yield any tangible results. To escape from what appeared like a mental and practical dead end I decided to switch careers. The new focus would be on front end web development, which is the other field I am competent at.

I was quitting the policy analysis scene on the basis of what appeared to be the most pragmatic course of action. What I failed to account for, or anyhow underestimate, is the appreciation some people have for my input or opinion. This is the kind of recognition that is not easy to trace in web analytics, social media buzz, etc. It is the quality, not the quantity.

People form their impressions of others and generally keep them to their own. That is to be expected. But my situation was so dire that I needed a “pat in the back” and a clear sign that I was making meaningful progress towards landing a job. I missed that.

A friend whose name will not be disclosed as I did not ask for their permission, was already trying to help me escape my predicament. Alas, their support came at a time when I had already made up my mind and was mustering the courage to take the leap of faith into the great unknown that is a new career path. It also did not help that my friend’s resources were scarce, preventing them from offerring immediately workable alternatives.

Anyway, the point is that some people care and would have employed me [sooner] had they had the means.

So on to what triggered my change of mind.

Shortly after I made that announcement I was offered a job in policy analysis here in Cyprus by a person who knows me quite well. This is a short term project on a clearly defined subject. Details cannot be published until later in the year, or perhaps the beginning of the next.

The good thing is that if I do deliver what is expected of me, I will improve my chances of working on similar projects. My fate seems to be in my hands, at least to an extent.

Yet I cannot overlook the fact that these are short term fixes. It is not like I got a full time position on a five-year contract or something. In practice, I am freelancing on policy analysis, which is great in its own right, though may still prove to be somewhat of a precarious arrangement.

In an attempt to expand my revenue streams, I will continue to pursue opportunities in web development. Some freelancing on that front will do no harm. And, of course, I can combine the two in a single package if need be. Consider me the Swiss Army Knife equivalent of an employee. Such is my desire.

The transitional phase

I still have to make some changes to my website. There may be parts that need to be brought up to date. I started by rewriting my profile and contact pages. Check them out and share your thoughts if you think something is amiss. I will take care of any irregularities in time.

For those of you who use RSS/Atom (the kind of stuff parsed by Feedly), I have to warn you that my current feed is a “catch-all”. It delivers everything I post on this website. Obviously this is not an ideal setting. EU policy should be kept separate from coding stuff. However I am not eager to proceed with multiple content-specific feeds for a couple of reasons:

  1. It is the kind of complexity that may confuse new readers.
  2. Because of my employment outlook, I still need to remind people that I am not just a policy analyst.

Besides, I have realised that avid RSS followers, myself included, are a dying breed. Most users get updates from their social network of choice.

Which brings me to the next point: I am back on Twitter @protstavrou. It was foolish of me to quit in the first place. Twitter is where all the EU policy people are active and, quite frankly, I much prefer it to Facebook. So if you feel like it, tweet me your “hello”. I still do not intend to be the most vociferous of users. Will limit my presence to updates about my writings and probably some carefully curated links from third parties.

To conclude, I must apologise for all this mess. Please excuse me for going to great lengths just to cope with extraordinary circumstances. Things are stable now. I am regaining confidence and am looking forward to improving my condition. Thank you for your attention and understanding. See you around.