Success Stories
March 18, 2020

Melitta, 64: "Still learning to say no."

As part of our series "Tell us your story", we encouraged senior talents to share their knowledge with us. Here’s one story:

Her best friend would say about Melitta, born in 1955, that she is a lioness to her four children. Melitta herself sees her completion of three (!) studies as the best investment of her life, in addition to founding her family.

Melitta is currently working on newspaper articles, a book and a dissertation

1. The best thing about my age is…

...after more than 40 years of intensive professional and family work, I can now lie on a rock like a lioness in the evening sun and look at my children and their children calmly and happily.

2. What would my best friend say about me?

A lot! "Lioness for your children," disciplined, dedicated. "You'd better knock twice before you go in, or you could just knock the doors down", very caring, eager to learn, smart, vulnerable, bright eyes, "a Mensch as the Jews would say", style-conscious, extremely capable.

3. What is the best investment you have ever made - financially, in terms of time or relationship?

There were two investments: choosing the father, now ex-husband of my four great children, and booking a cabane in Gänsehäufel as a meeting place for everyone in my family. Personally it was studying abroad, my second and third degrees and climbing the Großglockner.

4. What mistake has brought you forward in your life?

Staying silent and fearful of not being able to be successful on my own, I was in a terrible relationship for far too long. If I had known…

5. When did you learn to say no?

Still learning.

6. If money was not an issue, what would you do?

A lot! Practice the piano, learn Pashtu, have more concerts and readings at my place without endless applications and begging for subsidies, go climbing again etc.

7. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Don't ever let your family tell you what to do. Don't ever let them belittle you. Believe in yourself, try and learn. Be around people who encourage you.

8. What is the worst advice you have ever received in a professional context?

"You shouldn't take this job, it's much too stressful for you."

9. And the best?

"Why don't you write a book or an article about it?"

10. Which challenge are you currently looking forward to the most?

Writing newspaper articles, a book, and a dissertation. Further developing my knowledge of archives.