I was really in a huge dilemma whether to accept the fellowship or no. I was having a dream career and I was doing great. Most of all, I have built some very crucial relationships… professional ones. In journalism things like “sources” and “collaborators” are essential to lead a successful career and I was mostly worried to loose this network and relations more then loosing the status and my job itself. But I was encouraged by my supervisors to take this chance, because I would be able to get back at work once back in Albania.

But there was a challenge… I committed to contribute for my previous work, writing different articles and coordinating works from here. I was skeptical, because by nature I am a “control freak” and unless I am there in person to oversee everything and supervise the projects I conceived or that I was involved in, that would be close to impossible.

But I am happy to say now that one of the things that this project called Atlas Corps Fellowship taught me, though as a “side effect” and not as a primary goal, was being able to work oversea and in long distance. Being able to keep alive and “feed” your relationships, the professional ones, though in a very very long distance. And these six months it really worked for me.

I am doing fewer projects for my back home company right now, but when it comes to quality of those projects hasn’t decreased. And this is a great news for me. I was skeptical at first and not very convinced that you can do certain jobs and duties in distance. Especially when you are a perfectionist and professionally “selfish”. But while I was trying to find ways to make things work from here, I also improved myself in ways I didn’t even know they exists.

It turns out, if I can put it this way, that projects like the Atlas Corps fellowship program has not only “effects” but also sometimes very important and worthy “side effects”. While trying to figure out how things work on professional and personal level, we learn much more things that supervisors can teach I. And, bottom line, I learned how to deal with distance and still fulfilling some commitments in a very new form and way, that I was not aware I was capable of. I also learned how to be more open and trust more my team. I gave them more space, first because I was “obligated”, but when I saw how perfect things worked out, I started to turn this into a regular practice. And I have done many interesting articles, editorials and other works from here, which worked great for my company, though now I have to create based on another reality and other inputs and inspiration.

And I learned that I am good at keeping long distance (professional) relationships! Yayyyyy!

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