Category Archives: Ukraine

Any male accountants out there?

Going through some openings on a Ukrainian job site, I was shocked… For all the progress we’ve made, for all the democratic principles (you would think) have been brought in to the country, it felt like we were back to 19th century…

How do you like companies looking for “a lady, 22-35 y.o., for an accountant’s position” or “a man, 25-45 y.o., for a sales director’s job”? I’m not talking about one or two exceptions. In fact almost all bookkeeper (accountant) positions I have seen are open for ladies only (and mostly younger ladies at that!), and a large portion of sales manager jobs (especially in Business-to-Business) are reserved for men! 

I am speechless. Talk about equal opportunity employment… Probably the only ones practicing that in Ukraine are multinational corporations and institutions… The rest might not know what it is…

I was just reading somewhere about a new practice in the UK (employed by the National Health Service, if I am not mistaken) whereby they remove all personal details from the application, including name, date of birth, etc. So at least at the pre-screening stage it really is just the qualifications that matter. For now, Ukraine seems light years away from that. 



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Ukraine & Poland hosts to EURO 2012!

UPAnother proof that miracles happen: Ukraine and Poland just won the right to host the UEFA Euro Cup in 2012! The bid was considered an outsider compared to Italy a.k.a the football nation. However, with impressive promotion campaign and lots of fingers crossed (or fists held, as we say in Ukraine), we did it!!! I’m proud that my native city Donetsk will also be host to one of the games. And I’m especially happy that this comes at a time when Ukraine needs something positive to unite around…

Hopefully the event will also help improve the infrastructure and bring in tourists, investors, and other important people such events are supposed to bring! Although of course this will come to cities which already are much better off than the rest of Ukraine (Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, the capital Kyiv and L’viv) – but let’s hope for the “spillover effects).  In any case, I’m excited!

See you in Ukraine in 2012!

Links:  UEFA website, Official Ukraine-Poland Bid website , watch the bid promo video on YouTube

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Small changes, big changes

Yesterday I got back after a surprise visit to Ukraine for Easter. On our way home from the airport, my brother asked me what it was I noticed about Ukraine that was different from Holland… It seemed like a strange question, because I’d been to Holland and back home many times before, so all the big differences had already been discussed! However, it got me thinking not only at that moment, but throughout my whole trip…

Here are a couple of things I noticed:

* More diverse ring tones on cell phones. I was changing flights and spent seven hours sitting at Kyiv airport waiting for the connection. Most of the people in the waiting area were businessmen (and women) aged 35ish and up. So you wouldn’t expect the latest “My baby, I’m your love” kind of pop song as their ring tone. Well, if you hadn’t expected that, you’d be surprised. The whole Ukrainian and world MTV Top100 list was there! So yes, not just teenagers, but serious business people spend their time downloading these tunes from the internet, or exchanging them with each other! I wonder why our economics is underperforming! 😉 Anyway, it sparked a discussion in the family as to why this was. In the end we agreed that because the fact of OWNING a mobile phone was no more a differentiator and a way to show status, and still relatively few people could afford having a car, people were trying to show their status with WHAT KIND of mobile phone they had – which includes the quality of pictures, sounds, tunes, etc. I wonder what the research says about the reasons of this phenomenon (if it has been done at all). 

* Increased size and diversity of health warnings on cigarette packages. Finally Ukrainian legislation on this issue is catching up with the global practice. It used to be a standard “smoking is hazardous to your health” text on the bottom of the pack. Now it is big, around 40% of the pack, and the warnings name all diseases you didn’t know existed. This gave rise to jokes like this one:
A man asks a cigarette seller: “Could you please exchange this impotence pack I have for the lung disease one? I’m going on a romantic date!”.  

* Ukraine still has the best-tasting veggies. Ever!

It’s interesting to see change happen so fast – in sharp contrast with Holland and Europe in general. Coming back home after 3 months only, I saw new shops opened, new laws adopted, not to mention big changes in politics – but I’m not going into that now! The dynamism is exciting, but the big ups come in a bundle with very, very big downs. Just like everything else in life.


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Ukraine promo video

I saw the video in Kyiv Boryspil airport a while ago, and now found it online thanks to volodja.

It’s quite an inspiring video, although to me most scences look like they could be filmed in any Eastern European country… It’s also very general – kind of geared towards toursits and investors and politicians at once – I wonder if that was the idea? In any case, it’s a nice effort in promoting the country.

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