Why Hyper Island at 35: The personal side to my career decision

What may seem as a gap in my CV for some, or a bold move for others, was the outcome of a well-thought process which started a couple of years ago. This piece is an opportunity to talk about the number of steps that led me here.

Processing stuff after feeling pain

Making a life in a place takes time. From finding a job, or getting enough clients, to having a strong network of friends and a support system, a home, and the comfort that comes with settling in. It took me a while to achieve what I wanted to in what became my second home: South Africa. It wasn’t always easy to do it either. It was lonely some times because of different reasons, not only because when I chose the life I had for 12 years I also left the people I loved the most somewhere else, but because finding those who deserve one’s love is rare. While I was focused on doing something that I would be proud of, and building a career in a different country, in another continent, I sometimes forgot why I was doing it all.

I eventually reached the milestones I figured would make my life easier such as owning a house, and the friends and people I loved were there to hold me at the hardest. When I thought things were stable and life finally resembled what I had envisaged, I had to deal with challenges that made me question the achievements. I revised the things, the security, and even myself. Up until that point I had been going for years in automatic pilot, because it was necessary in order to survive, without stopping to think about what I dreamt about and review if it was still worth pursuing. I felt devastated, hopeless, as if a part of me where trust in others resides was never going to be the same again. I also felt that I owed it to myself to pursue at least one of the dreams I had.

All the roads that led me here became one

In my experience every time I have tried to control something external to me, the more pressure I put the more life unfolds however it wants to, as if it did it on purpose, just so that I see that clinging does not mean closeness, but mere attachment. So even with me wanting to disappear from Johannesburg when everything collapsed, I could only do so when I allowed life show me the right time, but also when I felt ready.

I always wanted to live somewhere new, start from scratch and prove to myself one more time that I could make it, and be a good anthropologist regardless of the context. The opportunity was never clear and other than regular visits to a very close friend in Europe, the possibility of doing that was just a vision, but nothing concrete.

I looked for work but quickly realised the move had to be more evident and bold. I had a few conversations, asked some questions, and had some ideas in my head of furthering my knowledge. It was then when I heard of HyperIsland, the school I currently go to. It seemed to me that studying was an opportunity to set the change I wanted so much in motion, while also opening myself up to new learnings in my discipline. I will be writing about that soon, perhaps less personally.

Changing the course of things is not easy but necessary

I am into my third week of the studies. I switched my course as well, a decision that was founded in what I want to do with my career, the range of experience I have, and the things that align the most with my interests. I am not sure where I’ll be in 6 months time. I sold my car, I rented out my flat, I don’t have a job, or a significant other to go back to. I can write my story from scratch if so I want to, or return to the life I had, perhaps to improve it or change it significantly. I can choose to continue learning, and I must know that regardless of my choices I don’t control life and what happens in it, except for my ability to make some decisions.

I give up clinging onto the past. I am here because of it, it set change in motion, it made me pursue dreams again, and aspire to a better me. It may not be the easiest choice, but it’s the more liberating one and I trust the most rewarding one.

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Source: http://hyperisland

On thick data, and interpreting the meaning of phenomena

I have followed Red Associates for quite some time (http://www.redassociates.com/) as they successfully integrate ethnography and social theory into effective marketing executions. 

In the below video, the speakers point out the difference between being aware of the meaning of something, and the interpretations of that - named phenomena-. 

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