abc Collection – J is for Jewelry, Jobs and Justice

Here is the “J” installment of my abc collection. I choose about three words and write something regarding them trying to relate them to Switzerland or the Swiss or my life in Switzerland. This week’s words start with “j”. “J” is for jewelry, jobs and justice.

jewelry, jobs, justiceis for Jewelry

Perhaps time’s definition of coal is the diamond.
~ Kahlil Gibran

In other words making something beautiful like a diamond takes time. The first time I saw what you can make with glass intrigued me. That looked like fun. I saw where a course was being offered and I though, sure, why not? First try it out, see if I fit the mold before making an investment.

Well, the beads I made in that one day course were okay, not fantastic and not necessarily pretty, but okay. Pretty much like what the other class members made. So I bought some basic equipment and some glass and got ready to practice. Only thing was, it took so long to make even the smallest of beads and some of the colors were impossible to work with. There was this one blue that just turned a yucky red, like little pieces of coal. But determined as I was I kept at it. If I only knew then what I know now.

A year or two later a Swiss friend of mine also got bit by the glass bug. She took a course and also bought some equipment. She started making big, beautiful and colorful beads. Together we decided to take a week long course. I thought if I can’t make bigger and prettier beads by the end of the week then I will give it up.

jewelryMy beads turned out fantastic! Without wanting to get technical here the problem was not the way I was making the beads or handling the glass. The flame I was using wasn’t getting hot enough to handle more glass and it was only gas. Plain and simple, I had the wrong equipment. I bought the right equipment and set out to practice, practice, practice.

It was a long process, 7 years, but like diamonds, some things just take time. By the way, as you can tell from the picture, not all “beads” are round…



jewelry, jobs, justiceis for Jobs

A certificate does not make you certified. Attitude, performance, commitment to self and team, these and a certificate make you certified.
~ Author Unknown

The Swiss love their certificates. Don’t even consider applying for a job without some kind of paper saying you can do the job. Preferably some kind of Swiss training. When I first came here, fresh out of college, I thought I could get some kind of job in the design/art industry. After all, I graduated with a degree in art, it seemed like the next logical step.

I applied for several jobs and was able to go to an interview, twice I believe. I didn’t get either job. Although my portfolio was sound I had no Swiss certificate saying I could actually do the job. I ended up teaching English which I had minored in. I had no teaching experience, so I suppose being a native speaker trumps that. During that job interview I remember the person taking apart my diploma because it said on it I had graduated cum laude. Where were my grades, could I prove it? Geez.

Of course not only people applying for jobs are scrutinized for certificates, companies are too. There is a company located in Switzerland, Swiss Experts Certification SA that certifies, well, almost anyone according to Norm ISO. I’ve worked with companies that proudly presented their ISO certification on their website and others that were not ISO certified. Honestly, I couldn’t tell a difference. No, wait. Come to think of it, the ISO certified people all stirred their coffee counterclockwise during the break!

jewelry, jobs, justiceis for Justice

Justice may be blind, but she has very sophisticated listening devices.
~ Edgar Argo

Well, yes. On September 25, 2016 Switzerland voted on exactly that. A law to change and increase the secret services’ competences. The referendum was accepted by 65.5% of the voters.

The new law makes the secret service legally allowed to tap phones, survey e-mails, bug private apartments and access computers. Of course, to be fair it was after some horrendous terror attacks in Europe. Catch the bad guys and if you have nothing to hide, where’s the problem?

Of course, those who were against the law in the first place are still against it. They say there is more than one problematic to this new law, the largest being the invasion of privacy. Another being they believe that it will not stop terrorist attacks. I say Switzerland, do what you have to, to keep your people safe.

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