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Well, about 9 months ago I made a move and took up a job in my old country, Hungary. I would like to write a couple of posts about my experiences; not to trash my country but to put a mirror up from the perspective of someone who has been away for 16 years.

Let’s start with the main issue here that will surely come up: bureaucracy.

The company I am working for decided to make a leap, and enter into the 20th century, and institute the option for home office working. It is a big leap; we still are clocked in and out as if we were factory workers, and our overtime is not actually paid. (But you do get hell in a handbasket if you are below your time. It is also expected to put in about 5-10 extra hours a month. It’s all charmingly antiquated and socialist, I have to say. I feel as if I was in this weird mixture of a strict highschool and the ’80s Hungary.)

Anyhow.

Home office. 6 months of trials.

First, you need to fill out a risk assessment form. The first thing on that form is the need for a complete examination and certification of your home’s electrical systems. Which costs a lot of money. And it’s not as if you were doing anything else but sitting in front of your computer, anyhow. (This was not a deal-breaker; apparently they did treat it flexibly, even though they did say going to be enforced with an iron fist. I guess the outrage made them double down.)

We got a 10 page of document detailing all the rules concerning home office; this is normal for this place. There is a weird disconnect between the whole point of home office, and how my company sees it, though. Home office is supposed to be a flexible option for you to do your work from home when/if needed or wanted. It implies trust, and allows you to actually have a better life quality. It also makes sure you don’t come into the office sick since you can just work from home, and don’t have to get sick days off (for which you would need a doctor’s note even for one day, so it is a pain in the ass to handle. As I said: bureaucracy.) So the company’s idea is that you only get two of these day a month, and you have to file a request two weeks prior of these days. Let’s make the flexible option as inflexible as possible.

And then the kicker: I did get the permission to work, but not the VDI option. (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: the thing that allows you to actually work from home, and connect to the system at work. Why this antiquated system? Well, because, unlike other places, we have desktops, not laptops, so no option of taking the laptop home. As I said: antiquated. We can be happy we don’t have to use telegrams any more.)

In fact, all VDI requests were suspended, because of the home office initiative.

Yes. You read it right. This is the email I got from the IT:

“Dear User. Your ticket 22321 was suspended for the following reasons:

Dear (Fossilyellifish)! We would like to notify you that your home office request has been accepted! As you might have read on the Intranet the IT department currently will not fulfill new orders, but we thank you nevertheless for supporting the home office initiative with your request. This will help us to survey the infrastructure needed for the system. As the capacity is extended we will gradually grant requests, until then we would ask for your patience. If you have any more questions, please contact us at …” and so on and so forth.

So they actually did not do an assessment prior of setting up the whole system; on the other hand they explicitly said it would run for 6 months. So, in other words, the system is set up for failure – after the six month period, they are free to point at the low number of people actually taking the opportunity and declare the whole thing a failure.

To make matters even more interesting, they actually took away the VDI access of a new starter (returning from maternity leave) upon her request for home office (she did get a permission for the home office, though), and granted VDI for the deputy of my boss, who does not even have a home office permission yet, since he did not submit the paperwork. He submitted a request on all our behalf I might add. So his was approved, the rest were not.

Interesting.

Somewhat Kafkian, but interesting nevertheless.

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As a Hungarian I’m always faced with this issue: people associate goulash and goulash only with Hungary. (And it’s guly├ís, anyway.) Somehow bowmen, Neumann, Szilard, Semmelweis, Jedlik… and the others are not known as much. OK, Rubik and Puskas are, so there’s that. So after the “oh you’re a Hungarian? Are you hungry?” jokes, goulash usually comes up. Not to mention you can buy it in a lot of places all over the world. Or something that’s called goulash. So what is goulash? It is a meaty stew or soup (depending on how much stuff you put in) named after the herdsmen who were tending the grey cattle characteristics to the country since the Middle Ages. These hardy and quite majestic-looking cows were driven to all over Europe to the markets in their tens of thousands.

I guess there is a reason why this food became a symbol of the country for outsiders; after all, this is probably all they have seen of it. But anyhow. Back to business. You want to cook goulash.

You will need (exact measures and ingredients are up to everyone to decide for themselves):

1 cauldron 6-8 onions 30dkg of bacon (the mostly fatty type)

6-8 tablespoons of paprika 2.5 kg of meat (pork or beef -the best is the shins)

1.5 kg beef

Vegetables: carrots, turnips, one celery (save the greens), half kohlrabi tuber some chili paprika (elective) tomato and peppers (elective)

salt, pepper (to taste)

7-9 garlic coves

1dl red wine (elective)

1 fire (You can do it in a big pot on your stove, but open fire is the way to go)

The process:

1. You wait until the fire dies down a bit.

2. Start browning the diced bacon, until the fat comes out

Lots of fat…

3. Add onion and brown Onions

4. Remove from fire, mix in the paprika, add some water. (It’s crucial to remove the cauldron from the heat, because the paprika will become bitter if heated excessively. It also needs to be mixed at this stage so that it can dissolve in the fat.)

5. Put the cauldron back onto the fire and cook it a bit

6. Once boiling, add the meat (and wine should you want to) and cook it until the meat is mostly cooked (pork, and especially, beef take much longer to cook than vegetables)

7. Add vegetables, tomato, peppers, potato cut up, add water so it covers all, continue cooking

Veggies cleaned and cut

Mostly everything is in now

8. Once the vegetables are close to being cooked, taste and add salt and pepper

9. Add garlic and chili; add the green from the celery

10. Keep cooking. Once the vegetables are cooked, you’re done.

The finished product

11. Eat with bread. So that’s it. Nothing fancy, in fact.