ATEC - Episode 39: The Blessing of Burnout and Other Unexpected Gifts ft. Ana Tajder

Episode 39: The Blessing of Burnout and Other Unexpected Gifts featuring Ana Tajder

When bombs reached her home in Zagreb, Croatia in 1991, Ana Tajder, the daughter of actress/artist Jagoda Kaloper and architect Radovan Tajder, fled to Vienna to escape the war and soon made Vienna her home.

Though her parents were artists Ana rejected a life of creativity, choosing instead to pursue her MBA. But after nearly a dozen years working in marketing and advertising and for the UN, she began to experience depression, anxiety, and an overwhelming sense of burnout.  While home nursing herself through the flu one day she began to write and all at once rediscovered a passion she had forgotten. Soon after her first novel From Barbie to Vibrator  was published in Croatia in 2008 and Austria in 2009. In 2010, she was awarded the prestigious Austrian State Grant for Literature for her second novel Titoland

In this episode Ana who is now a journalist and author, a podcaster and mother, shares her story of the painful scoliosis surgery she endured as a teenager, losing her home and country to war, and how she created a life for herself she wouldn’t trade for anything. Though she witnessed her husband battle cancer and lost her mother to lung cancer, Ana feels blessed and grateful for where she is today. She believes the ultimate goal in life is to find the one thing you’re meant to do and she wouldn’t change hers for anything, regardless of the experiences she’s gone through.

Ana Tajder is an award-winning author and journalist originally from Croatia and Austria. She published two memoirs: a female coming-of-age chronicle called “From Barbie to Vibrator,” and “Titoland,” about her childhood in Yugoslavia.

Ana’s work has been covered by dozens of media outlets in Europe, where she has given numerous interviews and been a guest on TV and radio shows as an expert in feminism, immigration, and diversity. She has published well over a hundred essays, articles, and interviews in English, Austrian, German, and Croatian newspapers, magazines, and journals. Ana recently launched her podcast “Thank You, Mama” in which she talks to women from all over the world about the most valuable lessons they learned from their mothers.  



I’m a writer, a teacher, a native New Yorker, and I love hearing about people’s lives. When I think back to my elementary school days at PS 20 in Flushing, Queens whenever we began social studies or a history lesson I wasn’t that interested in learning about battles, topography, or politics. What I wanted to know was how people lived: What their families were like, how they adapted to their circumstances, what they ate, how they celebrated, how they felt.
Sociology became my major at Binghamton University and in my life so far I’ve been an actress, a salesperson, a Zoo Keeper’s Aid, a volunteer animal trainer, an ELL teacher, a mother, and a wife. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had, all of which led me to create this podcast which is one of the most rewarding projects I’ve undertaken. I couldn’t ask for a better job than having in-depth conversations with survivors, thought leaders, authors, social justice warriors, and people who believe that we are all connected and then getting to share their stories, insight, and vulnerability with listeners.
I’m so glad you’ve landed on this page. I hope you find stories here which resonate with you and that you’ll tune in every week. 
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ATEC (Episode 10) (ATEC Pin 3)