In North America, hard work will get you places, though not always those places you want.

I played along and climbed the proverbial ladder fast.

Writing on the side, I made the quota and joined Professional Writers of Canada. But in my day job, I was managing things, not ideas. This had irked me for quite a while.

Until it hit me: in North-America, creativity relates to everything. It really matters – in business, in finance, in law – as much as it does in design, in arts, and in culture on my home turf, in Europe. West of the Atlantic, creativity is distributed.

This “democratic” view of talent powers America. Inventiveness plus effectiveness equals success. But the opposite also applies – talent minus substance equals nothing.

An excerpt from a legal text is shown; the heading reads: "The De MInimis Rule"

This meant I needed to learn hard numbers, budgets, tax rebates, funding & financing, licensing, optioning, bilateral agreements, export insurance, foreign markets, the de minimis rules. I had to master data, way before data became a thing.

So I did. Then I zoomed upward, from a low-level Marketing job to a post of a Project Director in TV Development, in just over three years.

A career in Business Affairs & Administration is a far cry from the promotional and media work of my youth. But it meant that when the UN was seeking experts to develop the capacity of civil servants in my war-torn home country, I was ready.