- Tell us about your background.
I grew up in Petrovac na moru. It is a beautiful little town at the sea in Montenegro. After finishing high school, I decided to enroll in college in Belgrade. I thought it was a better solution because of the more opportunities that Belgrade offers.
I come from a traditional, honest and hardworking family. I had a beautiful childhood and I am grateful to my parents for everything. They are my role model.
- What are you doing currently?
My current position is People and Culture Specialist in the Manpowergroup company. I took a short break to dedicate myself to our private family business which has now been particularly hit by the crisis. We own private accommodation in Petrovac na moru/Montenegro, so now I am trying to help my parents with marketing plans for this and for the next year.
- Why did you decide to study Economics and tell us about your college time?
Long ago, when I wanted to enroll in design, there was only one design college in Belgrade that was already full of students. I was so sad, but I didn’t want to lose a year and wait at home doing nothing, so I enrolled in economics.
Although it was harder to study college you didn’t plan on, I had big support from my parents. At that time (more than 20 years ago) there were not as many different faculties as today, so I didn’t have much choice but to choose between few colleges that suited me because of my previous education.
The best thing is that I have acquired work habits, I learned what order, work, and discipline mean. Society from college made that stage of my life easier. I knew that with a degree in economics I would have more job opportunities, although it should not be your guiding star, but only the desire for knowledge for later advancement.
- Tell us about your journey after you completed your education.
After studying, the struggle begins. Even though I thought I would easily find a job that would bring me enough money, I was wrong. I had no work experience, and without experience, you can’t have a good job position. I realized that I should not lose hope and that I should be persistent in looking for a job with the lowest-paid position. It is the only way to learn, gain skills, and have progress after a while. You should never be ashamed of lower and starting positions in any company.
If you work hard and fight for it, everything is eventually rewarded. I had a lot of different positions and I learned something good from each and applied (the experience I gained) later in life.
- You also worked as a professional model, tell us about that experience. What are the challenges and benefits of being a model?
I have always been a passionate lover of fashion and everything connected with it. I was lucky enough to meet world-famous creators and do fashion shows for them. It was a beautiful experience. I didn’t want to get into it more professionally, I just wanted to try myself in that field as well. As a hobby, it brought me great pleasure, because I lovingly did shootings and fashion shows, met wonderful people with whom I still have contact, and had good earnings with which I could buy what I wanted as a younger girl.
Now, the fashion industry is different. Unfortunately, it is no longer paid as it was before especially in Serbia. The fashion industry is also quite affected by this crisis.
- Can you tell us more about your experience in the tourism industry? What do you like and dislike in this industry?
In Montenegro, a large part of the population is engaged in tourism. Tourism there is the main source of income. If you want to be a good host, you have to learn more languages, deal with languages you don’t know, and always be kind to guests. We have private accommodation that we rent in the Summer, so whenever I am there, I help my family by introducing guests to their apartments, I show them where the beach is and what is worth seeing in Montenegro.
Dealing with strangers teaches us about their customs, desires, behaviors, culture…It is an amazing job.
The downsides of dealing with tourism are that if it is your only income inflow and there is a crisis that people cannot travel, you may be left without the main income for living. Montenegro is now in a difficult financial situation, but we will not give up. We should always manage to learn from the worst situations. It makes us stronger and braver and always gives us some different ideas for boosting business. Hard times make us be better people as well.
- What were the key challenges you faced during your transition as an HR professional and how you overcome those challenges?
The key challenges in HR departments are learning new technologies, multitasking, finding solutions quickly, constant learning, good relations with all employees and always being up to date with changes. It is not easy at all, but that is how you become ready for today’s world full of fast changes, you develop in more directions, deal with various novelties, learn a lot, and grow.
You need to be a good team player, and not be afraid to ask whatever is not clear to you. If you do not ask, you cannot learn. I work in a professional and great team, and I am so happy and proud because of it. The teamwork and the hierarchy of positions in my company are well organized. It is the most important thing for work and for success.
- Did you do any internships or live projects as a student? Why are internships important for a student?
As a student, I wanted to have some income, so I first volunteered at a law office and later got a minimal salary that helped me mature. I started to value money and spend it less wastefully.
Internships are very important. They are the way to get out of the comfort zone, try to do tasks, learn, develop as a person, feel useful, and later you can apply that knowledge in any company. You become faster, more versatile, and, of course, you feel better when you are helpful.
- Any tips for students on how to get internships and what should they focus more on the company, the money, or the project while doing any internship.
My advice to students is not to be afraid to knock on any company’s door. More and more companies appreciate when young people are committed to knowledge and work. It is not a shame to be rejected. It is a shame not to try it at all. They should be honest and persistent.
They should focus on the project while doing an internship. Money will come, but this is the last thing they need to focus on.
- How are you dealing with this pandemic? How are you managing the stress, any tips for students?
The pandemic has made us slowed, discouraged, isolated, and lonely. We are all scared for our future. A lot of people lost their jobs, some companies went bankrupt, there is less money, no traveling, no gathering for a long time, but at least we have hope.
I think that situation here is going better now, many people have been vaccinated, and I hope that we will get out of this pandemic soon. My advice for students: Stress is always present, but you should not fall, or give up. Every bad situation will pass. You should stay on your feet and move on. Only then you will find a way out and some good opportunity for your development. Lack of money can be a big problem, but start with a small income and with a great will to progress and learn, and salary will grow J, but never feel less valuable and don’t give up no matter how hard it is.
- What inspires you in life and keeps you going?
The biggest inspiration in my life is my family. All the good and bad things we went through together holding on to each other. Family is the most important thing in life. Good behavior, stability, good manners, perseverance, loyalty, and a lot of other things I have learned from them. We do not live in the same state, but we are tied together as if we are in the same house every day.
I would like to form my own family. This is the main thing that keeps me going.
- What is your idea of success or your mantra in life?
A successful man is a fighter. Today life is full of ups and downs, and the one who manages to handle both well, step by step, makes progress, and achieves the goal he has set.
For me, successful people are people who have a normal balance between private life and business life. If one side suffers, success is worth nothing.
- Other than work, what are your other areas of interests _hobbies, passion, future plans?
Since I am from the coast, I love to swim. Swimming makes me free and happy. The sea has something that delights me again and again. I try to be in the water as much as possible when the weather allows it. I also like reading, cooking, walking, watching movies, and painting. Of course, travel is unavoidable whenever a nice opportunity arises.
- Tell us more about goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
I would like to diligently and thoroughly always do every task at work on time, to learn something more every day, to be helpful, and to feel productive. Step by step to keep progress.
As for private business, I want to improve marketing and to expand the tourism we serve as much as possible and improve our service, and we will certainly justify the trust.
- What are the three most important tips you would advise our readers (students and professionals/entrepreneurs) from your experience to become successful?
-Never give up.
-Don’t let anyone discourage you.
-Do not hesitate to seek help or an alternative job until you become more experienced.
- Your favorite quote and book
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you” – Princess Diana”
Books are my great love. From some of them, you can learn a lot, and in some of them, you can truly enjoy. For additional work on yourself I recommend: “Be your own PR expert” –Bill Penn and “The Process of Education”-Jerome Bruner
And books that make you think deeply, but also enjoy the descriptions and stories are all books from Haruki Murakami. Warm recommendation for this writer.
You can connect with Sladjana Gregovic on:
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