Saturday, June 9, 2012

Drink champagne

There's a proverb in Russian:

Кто не рискует, тот не пьет шампанское.

Literally, he who doesn't risk, doesn't drink champagne. 

Lately my life in Kharkov has started to get a little more risky. I've been reading a lot of material like Colin Wright's Start a Freedom Business and Chris Guillebeau's The $100 Startup. These books have pushed me to think more about my future. I don't want to stay in Ukraine and teach the same lessons over and over again. I want to stay in Ukraine and find challenges. I wouldn't call myself a businesswoman.... maybe an explorer following Voltaire's poetic idea: if we don't find anything pleasant, at least we'll find something new.

Another recent book laid out the concepts of Good Work, Great Work, and Bad Work.
  • Bad Work = the soul-draining worthless stuff we all get stuck with at some point: meetings, pointless tasks, etc.
  • Good Work = the stable and enjoyable stuff that we can do well. Hopefully this makes up the majority of our work time. 
  • Great Work = the ideas and jobs that really move you, the risky stuff, the stuff you're passionate about doing (or trying). 
Your goal should obviously be to avoid the Bad Work and to find a balance between Good Work and Great Work depending upon your personal situation at the moment. My regular teaching job definitely qualifies as Good Work. The IELTS tutoring is the same. It felt like Great Work before, but all Great Work decays into Good Work over time... and then it's time to find new Great Work.

In 2012 I've had more crazy ideas than I've ever had before. D and I can bounce ideas off each other for hours. I don't know where all this inspiration has come from, but it's definitely welcome! We've pretty much spent the first half of this year accumulating a giant list of ideas and discussing it endlessly. Now it's time to start implementing more of these ideas.

In order to do this I cut my hours waaaay down at work. The plus is having a lot of energy to spend on other projects... but there's also a minus: those limited working hours only came to $35 (after rent), and that was a bit shocking! I'm still doing an equal amount of "work", but it's work that is focused on the long-term instead of an immediate pay-off. Or rather put, Great Work, I hope. One really nice thing has been a collaboration with a local English teacher. We've come up with some pretty radical ideas in terms of language-learning and I'm excited to put our ideas into action and see the results. We'll have a trial run of our plan in just two weeks! There are a lot of exciting possibilities down the road and it's sometimes hard not to keep thinking ahead. It's exciting simply to see some ideas crossed off the idea list as they actually start to happen!

So, expect some changes throughout the summer, dear readers... and maybe some champagne?


  1. How exciting! I can't wait to hear more about your Great Work. ;) And let's hope there'll be lots of champagne in the (preferably near) future!