I’ve started doing something about my next career move. I’ve been working here since May last year; I’ve been in the NGO/thinktank sector working on the Balkans since January 1997. Before that I had six and a half years of “full-time” postgraduate study combined with political activism, including fighting (and losing) elections in 1990 and 1996.
I’m a bit tired of being outside the tent pissing in (to adapt President Johnson’s pithy phrase about J. Edgar Hoover). Also I don’t want to work here for the rest of my life, or even in twelve months’ time: when I joined, the job was Balkans only, now I’m getting pushed more and more into covering Russian-related stuff, which I don’t have an expertise in. And I really really don’t want to work on Chechnya, and that is inevitable if I stay.
Plan A is to aim rather high: I’d like to be one of the advisers in the “cabinet” of a European Commissioner, all of whose jobs are up for grabs next year. This will take some serious political lobbying and also some luck. I’ve started sounding out the various possibilities but basically this will be signed and sealed either between February and May, when the ten commissioners from the new member states are appointed, or six months later when the new fifteen from the current members come in; I’d prefer to stick it out here for another six months, but may not have that option.
But if all that fails I have a plan B. I’ve been hawking my CV around the various lobbying firms here in Brussels, and been getting moderately positive vibes in return; it certainly seems like a less political process where I can trade on my skills rather than my qualifications (which are in astrophysics and history, so not obviously related to a career as a Eurocrat). It would mean trading the intellectual challenge of the work I do now for greater financial reward, but I’m beginning to feel that I could bear it.
Anyway, back to the current job; finish first read of (too long) report on Transdniestria, see if I can get pan-Albanianism out the door, and do something on ceasefire monitoring before Christmas.
And at long last I have a user pic.