Did you notice there is a person in hiding on the Quistic team page? He won’t let me show you his picture or give you his real name because he’s scared people will find out he works for an American company and they will come to his house to take his money.
“What? Who would do that?” I ask.
“The mob. Or the police. In Ukraine it’s the same thing.”
So I used this site that picks Russian names to find one for our team page. I suggested some and we settled on Dmitry Petrov.
This happened six months ago. Before the revolution. It was when I was confirming a job offer and solidifying the terms of his employment. We had a Russian translator on the phone, but Dmitry’s English is good enough that he didn’t need one.
Until I said, “What else can we do to make your job good? What are your personal goals for your career?”
He was silent.
I said, “Did you hear me?”
The translator said, “There is not really those words in his language. He doesn’t know what you mean.”
I said, “Well, tell him I want to make sure the job helps him in his life. I want him to feel like this job is good for him and his family. Ask him what we can do to help him grow?”
Then I hear only Russian. A lot, back and forth.
I ask, “What is happening?”
The translator says, “He is crying. He has never heard any business person talk this way. I had to tell him that you really mean it.”
“Okay. So ask him what I can do to make the job good for him.”
Russian back and forth.
“He says that he wants to be paid on time. If you tell him you’ll pay him it’s really important to him that you pay him.”
“What? This is all he wants? That is ridiculous.”
“You have to understand, people don’t stick to agreements in Ukraine. And a lot of Ukrainians work for Russians in the US and the Russians know the Ukrainians aren’t used to getting paid reliably, so the Russians don’t pay them.”
“Okay,” I say. “Tell him we’ll pay him regularly.” And then I add, “Tell him we’ll pay for health insurance, too.”
“He understands you. He is crying again.”
The translator says, “He really appreciates that you care. But there is no way to pay for medical care in Ukraine. It’s all free and it’s all terrible. If you get sick you treat it at home. The hospitals are too dangerous unless it’s an emergency.”
That was six months ago. Now I talk directly with Dmitry. We are comfortable with each other.
He gives reports from the revolution.
I say, “Is it in your town? Are you okay?”
He says he’s okay. He will let me know if his Internet will be down. Then he says that his town is far away from Kiev, but there is a schedule for protesters. His town makes sure to have enough protesters on the street to keep the police busy so that the police stay away from Kiev.
I tell him don’t worry about missing days of work. He misses two because the Internet is down. Or it’s his turn on the protest schedule. It’s unclear which it is, but I’m happy to pay him on those days.
And then last week, when the president left, Dmitry disappeared for a day.
We worry when he disappears.
Also, I had plans this week to change the name of my homeschool blog to education. It makes more sense because I really think everyone should homeschool kids, and I really think college is a complete waste of time for someone’s career. So I need a place to do all my educational rants.
Also, I feel like my life is coming together because I can rename my main blog my career blog and my homeschool blog will become my education blog and then my life will have perfect synergy because I think careers are about lifelong learning and education should be about discovering one’s passion and how one fits into the world.
But I have to wait a week because we have lost our developer in the revolution. And then his son is sick and when his son is sick, it’s always a crisis: imagine not being able to go to the drugstore to get Tylenol.
I offer to send Tylenol but you can only send money to Ukraine. To get a computer to Dmitry, we sent money for him to bribe the postal service. I don’t even know if I’m saying this right because it’s hard to understand a world where there is nothing but there is everything if you are with the right people.
He reappears. I try not to rush right into how I need a new menu bar.
He says he is full of hope from the revolution.
“Are you scared?” I say.
“Sure. Who wouldn’t be scared?”
“Yes. I see,” I say. I pause to think of something else good to say.
“Okay. So can we work on the new menu bar now?”
And look. Here we are. A new menu bar. Via Ukraine. And for Dmitry, it’s just another day in the Ukrainian revolution.
I asked my translator what I could do to help.
He said, “He has a job that he likes. He has regular hours. He gets paid a good salary on time. He is really really happy.”
And I think that actually, all Dmitry is hoping is that the revolution can give this type of opportunity to everyone. Well, and that he can put his real name and picture on Quistic’s team page.