My work is my hobby!

November last year, I went to a training on new media tools for NGOs. The training took place in Georgia and it was held during a very busy period at my work, but I still decided to go. Imagine my surprise, knowing that I left my colleagues with a lot of work to do before our Annual Conference, when, at least the first days, the training did not meet my expectations.  Still, it was one of the best experience of my life. I knew then that the choices I made or did not make were the best ones. I was working (and still working) for GRASP, a global network of Romanian young professionals and students, coordinating the communication activities and strategy at a global level.

My bachelor was in Communications and PR. As I like to say, this departament chose me and not the other way around. I just wanted to prove to myself I can pass the entry exam. I had no idea what communications means and what my field of expertise will be after I graduate. Since the first year, I started volunteering in a student NGO, then I started working in the field, but not for a moment did I stop to assess my career path. I like to think that I loved too much what I was doing to put this into balance. All these were followed by a master’s degree in European Communication studies, by jobs, internships and volunteerships in different communication departaments: within Greener, an environmental NGO in Romania, within the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, within Romanian Center for European Policies. Now when I think about all these, they seem normal and natural. I would do the exact same things because this is how I realised that I was lucky enough to discover my passion when I applied for my BA programme.

And now coming back to the Georgia story. I knew then that communication is a way of being, but I could never be complete if i don’t put my skills for the use of a cause. It is then that I understood that contributing to social change is the only way that I can feel my personal and professional life will have a purpose. Communications for NGOs, NGO organizational capacity building, community engagement, social entrepreneurship – these are the things that bring joy in my life. I definitely know that along the way, I will discover other things that will add up to these ones, but I know for sure that we cannot afford ourselves the compromise not to do what we are meant for.

There were times in my life when I was not sure that I made the right decisions. There were times when I thought I wasn’t the proffesional I imagined to be. And it might sound unrealistic, but I often dreamt about a moment when I will be offered the perfect job. And dreams come true. At the beginning of last month, I received a job offer – no CV, no interview. They knew my work and they felt I am the right person for the job. I knew the organisation and I felt it is the right place for me. Now, while I am consulting for GRASP, I am doing communications for PACT, a Romanian NGO doing community development in rural areas in Romania. I am busy as a bee, but happy! And one can say I am jobless, because I have two wonderful hobbies that help me contribute to changes around me.

Training, learning, teaching

Ioanna, it was really lovely reading this post. You´re very fortunate to know what makes you happy right now, congratulations. The total immersion and engagement in what you are doing is something that resonates with me. I have a questions for you, or rather us both. That training you did in Georgia, knowing what you know now…how would you make it different?


Hi, Nadia,

How would I make it better? I think I did it in the end, but that was not the focus in my story, that;s why I did not mention it. I took the best parts - the people I met there, and I also learnt that seeing the best part of things is not as easy as it seems, but in the end I did it. I went there to learnt things about social media and comms in general, but I came back learning more things about myself and that the best strength one has is to ability to adapt.

Maybe if I had to change something - I would be more flexible after day 2, not 4 :)))


Hello Ioana, I m glad to meet a person as happy and fulfilled as you are!! I like your statement about “jobless but happy” but I am wondering two things: 1. according to my experience ( I am working at a social business, Hub Vienna and I am always surrounded by social entrepreneurs) I know that this field, unfortunately, for the moment is not the best paid, do you think that having a affordable life would be a problem later on for you? Or you choose to drive your life in “less is more” and 2. have you ever though of starting your own social business? I mean it’s obvious that you really like what you are doing so why not having your own projects and be self driven?

Thank you :slight_smile: Have a nice day


Hello Luna!

Nice to meet you as well. :slight_smile:

Your questions are not new to me. Of course, life in the NGO sector has it challenges. For the moment, I am fine, financially speaking as well, with what I am doing. Probably in the future I will have to evaluate a bit, but I still cannot imagine myself without doing something meaningful.

Regarding the second question - is funny that you ask as I am very interested in the field and I am working on a project of this type. In addition, the pogrammes I am getting involved in with PACT promote social entrepreneurship in rural areas. At some point, I will probably start my own social business.  It’s the only type of business I can imagine myself doing :).

I hope I have answered your questions! :slight_smile:

Have a great weekend,


Hello Ioana,

can you please

Hello Ioana,

can you please give me more info about PACT? I m not sure what it is about… :confused:


PACT stands for Partnership for Community Action and Transformation and is a Romanian NGO that is working in the South of the country to facilitate the sustainable development of rural communities. For community-based organizations, PACT is transferring funds and knowledge, promotes the spirit of initiative, partnership and social responsibility and actively supports the changing process.

Our team has a long standing history (over 9 years, since October 2002) of working to support grassroots civil society in South Romania, gaining extensive experience in facilitating the formation of community based organizations, using a methodology of training and consultancy (on themes such as project planning, project management, fundraising, organizational management, participatory planning for community development) and grassroots grant making. If you want to keep you informed about the programs we are developing, like us on and we will be connected. We are working now on a new website and in two months tops we will have an English version as well. :slight_smile:

I cannot wait to tell you more at the conference! :slight_smile:


Wherever life takes you?

That’s a spirit I don’t see very often, but for a while now I’ve tried to open my eyes and really pay attention to what Romanian youth are doing, and there is a lot of energy, sometimes latent but sometimes channneled towards making good things happen. And that’s what you seem to be doing Ioana, congrats!

I like the things you mention, that Com and PR chose you, that you didn’t stop to think much and just volunteered, and worked and worked. And as we can see, with enegy, hard work and a good mindset come great achievements. This is a model of Ryding Edges I hope to see more often in my country…  some of us spend just too much time thinking, hoping, evaluating where they are at each point, like I used to do before I got my first job that I love, before I did something that I love and not because a part of me felt it had to. But then if I wasn’t consciencious enough and really tried out things, I probably would have gotten lost in the way, like so many of my peers did.

Looking back, do you think your work and taking up every opportunity  were more of a strategy to face the future, or is it part of who you are, of your personality ? Were you optimistic all the way?


Dear Noemi,

I have to admit that for I haven’t been aware for a long time that I need to have a personal and professional development plan. Most of the time, things happened to me and I accepted them as they were. At this point, I would not change anything, but I was lucky. I don’t regret anything and I don’t think planning every step of my life is would be a better choice, but I know for sure that the secret is to do what you like. Or at least for me. Sometimes can be hard, but good things happen to do who believe things can change. In addition, I cannot imagine my life without doing something that matters, without producing a grain of change. It wasn’t easy and I won’t be easy trying to find a balance, but this is the challenging part, the one that makes you move on. :slight_smile: