Romania- Rusted and Rutted – Life Beyond the Iron Curtain


There are many reasons that make Europeans look at Romania and Romanians with awe!

 It was a Romanian who was instrumental in bringing to this world the instrument to write in the modern times – The fountain pen as early as the 1827! This contribution to writing has continued even today, but the medium of writing has changed from ink to computer texts, with many Romanians contributing to modern writing through their intellectual capabilities in Microsoft and other software giants of the world!

 The list of Romanians inventions that changed the way to make this world a better place is extensive, noteworthy with inventions like the Jet engine, Insulin, The Perfect 10, and so on.

Apart from this the ability to work diligently, with absolute focus and hard provided the opportunity is right at reasonable cost is another phenomenal aspect of many a Romanian, who is working outside Romania and side Romania.

 What is intriguing here is that all these contributions to making this world a better place (except in software technology) by Romanians has unfortunately ceased to exist anymore. Beyond intrigue the aspect that distresses many a social psychologists and performance analysts is the reason for the lack of aspiration or zeal in majority of working class Romanians!!!

 What contributed to this demise of aspiration and creativity? What happened to the creative people? What should be done to bring about a Romanian renaissance? Questions those are worth pondering and that crucial for a new Romania.

What’s ailing Romania and Romanians?

 The answer to the above questions lie in the Psycho-Socio-Economic factors that surround the making of modern Romania and the diversity of people who are the policy makers, administrators, law makers, and the multitudes of those who constitute the workforce in the current days.

 During the post World War II regimes till 1989, life of all Romanians, including many baby boomers, revolved around the following four unwritten doctrines for their survival, if they had to exist –

  • Follow the rules
  • Do nothing that is not asked of you
  • Going beyond the call of duty is totally unacceptable
  • All that belongs to you doesn’t belong to you!

The Players and the Participants

 This systemic enforcement and encroachment on people’s psyche resulted in a new breed of survivors – comprising a majority not of the fittest, but of those, majority of whom were disinterested, blinkered and in few cases opportunists to the hilt.

 In management terms these three types of people can be described as those who are followers, focused and the leaders.

 This way of life resulted in many psychological and social implications including lack of trust, self-preservation, making a quick buck, beating the system, lack of loyalty etc. in many people. But the worst development or outcome, to have developed from this period seems to be the concepts of “ opportunism” and “Apathy”

The point of all these observations is that the majority of people in Romania are filled with those who come under the three categories above. Post 1989, with the revolution done and away, a new system of governance came in to place.

Majority of policy makers were apathetic people, who were and are followers and focused. While the executors of these policies, the leaders, comprising the third category – Opportunists!

 Apart from these three types of people, there exists one more group, like in all societies.  These are the rebels of the society– Rebels who became entrepreneurs, thriving and living life through intriguing means that border on thrills and spills – thrills of achieving and doing new things in an enterprising manner. Spills, in cases where the path to success was filled with gray areas.

 Like all countries, the Leaders and the Entrepreneurs represent the face of Romania. Sadly, there is no emotional connect or any bridges that fill the emotional gap between the leaders and entrepreneurs and the common people, who still live their lives following the rules or in a rut filled with bureaucratic procedures, lacking inspiration or aspiration.  The void this diversity has created is too huge that it is very difficult to address and hence is not being addressed at all – either through education or through enablement.

 To worsen matters, these baby boomers have brought up their millennial kids in an environment filled with an eternal paradox. A paradox that makes these millenials to aspire for an open world, through processes that denies them any latitude through its multitude policies, rules and stipulations! Thus creating a group of demotivated, disinterested, visionless generation, who are readily misled and taken advantage off.

 The Reality and the Path ahead

 Reality that is facing Romania is the extensive brain drain that is happening due to lack of opportunities here.

With Romanian private sector filled with foreign players, who believe in optimizing their investments, empowerment and enablement of a Romanian professional, through knowledge enhancement and exposure is limited. With the current education opportunities not addressing the global demands in a corporate world, employees who work in these corporates are sadly denied of affordable self-development programs and are hugely dependent on the official ones. For many a Romanian, this option is not even available, as their organization doesn’t have the budgets for any of these things.

 While in the state run organizations, development courses are by far unheard of, as these programs are not the driving factor for progression and rewards. And even if they are delivered these programs are done as processes to be completed than to enable performance.

 Thus, with no development options available and people stills tuck in a time warp, Romania and Romanian professionals seem to in for a long disintegration. Since this is the picture the investors see on a regular basis, even they are forced to exit this market to other greener pastures.

 Can this situation be reversed? Can something be done to make this better? Can the Romanian professional look ahead and get the knowledge to become global players? How soon can this be done? What can be done to get the life on to smoother roads from the current rut?

 Solutions to all these will be shared in the forthcoming articles in Misca musings.

 See you soon.