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You did click....welcome and thank you for everything you've already done for me. As you remember, I started thinking about giving more meaning to my life when I realised that I was no longer happy with what I was doing. Age may have something to do with it; I felt I wasn't doing enough for a civil society which had given a lot to me. Most importantly, I felt I would not be in harmony with myself if I didn't make an effort to help strengthen the social cohesion here in Belgium, in Europe. At the risk of preaching to the converted I think growth in Europe is still a long time to come and we need to find a new way of living together. Until we get there we are in for stormy times and it is up to the older generation to keep the ship afloat for lack of pointing the way. The younger generation is probably in a better position to decide what kind of future they want. Their life is longer....

That's all jolly good but what is to be done? Luckily I am surrounded by loads of wonderful people who have helped me think about «who I am and what I want to do when I'm grown up». How can I enjoy work again, feel useful, make a little money on merit (so as not having to ask my wife permission to by a CD or two, one of my little weaknesses ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ ). In the course of my meetings with you I found out that I was not looking for a «real job», traffic jams, a super salary, key performance indicators, power over other people....a page has been turned. There is no doubt it has been a wonderful page of my life as it has allowed me to meet many of you. If I want to be consistent, the first question I must ask myself is «Do I really need all these things?»; well, it is true that I miss my beautiful Audi a little and also the invitations to pleasant and prestigious events. And most of all I miss my colleagues ...23 years of my life in this company which I am proud to say I helped build, strengthen and prepare for the future to the best of my abilities.

Alright alright Olivier, why don't you come to the point I hear you say? You are busy and have other fish to fry.....but I don't at the moment ☺ ☺ ☺ ☺ and I'm indulging this phase because I know it won't last !

As the journey is the destination, I thought I should get going by making myself available for volunteering work. I shall soon take part (according to my capacities) in projects under the experienced leadership of Toolbox to help very small non-for-profit social sector associations to overcome their difficulties (see www.toolboxh2o.org for details). Ashoka (www.ashoka.org) has also asked me to coach some young social entrepreneurs. One friend from my youth years recruited me to help giving life to a new association of former students of European Schools, of which I am one myself (see www.alumnieuropae.org ), another one invited me to join work on fostering the development of Emergency in Belgium (see www.emergency.it). I am grateful to them for trusting me and look forward to having a great time working on these noble initiatives. I am also delighted about two offers for part-time work; one is by a powerful European association which wants me to help them explain their views on financial issues to the European institutions, and the other one by an philanthropist and social venture association who would like me to assist them in various ways. Both offers correspond to my requirements in terms of "meaning"; we shall see about the terms of remuneration as I am unfortunately not in a position to work entirely for free (remember, I have that problem with my CDs ☺ ☺ ☺)

Here we are; as I told you, I'm on my way again, thanks to you, your kindness and the trust you placed in me! I am aware the journey will be a long one still and that I shall have to prove to be worthy of your trust. I am ready for it.

With kind regards

Olivier

16.2.2013

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