Be my guest

Dear reader,

As the time offers new opportunities and brings in new ideas, I got something new for you, too. I have seen a lot, and I have much to tell – so, be my guest in this blog where I will share my vision of life and career of a modern international woman as well as my opinion regarding the cultural differences and integration problems in different countries.

This blog has been created, first of all, as a help for my Russian friends to explore new opportunities and lifestyles outside of Russia. I will give my best to write as simple as possible, and often you will find a Russian translation below. I hope that you will be able not only to enjoy the reading, but also to improve your English, as learning languages is essential for your future.

See you soon,

Russianladyabroad


Дорогой читатель,

Как время предлагает новые возможности и приносит нам новые идеи, так и я кое-что для тебя приготовила. Мне удалось многое увидеть, и многое осталось несказанным – поэтому приглашаю тебя стать читателем моего блога, в котором я поделюсь своим видением жизни и международной карьеры современной женщины, а также собственным мнением относительно культурных различий и проблем интеграции в разных странах.

Этот блог был создан, прежде всего, для того, чтобы помочь моим друзьям из России открыть для себя новые возможности и варианты устройства жизни за границей. Я буду писать преимущественно на английском, стараясь подбирать максимально простые выражения, но порой буду добавлять и полноценный перевод на русский в конце поста. Очень надеюсь, что ты не только насладишься чтением, но и сможешь подтянуть английский, потому что изучение языков крайне важно для твоего будущего.

До скорой встречи,

Russianladyabroad

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Thought for the day

Every person who lives abroad sometimes has a question, if the life in the home country would be better, easier, and closer to your heart.

This might be a week or two when I am sick and tired and start looking for a one-way ticket to Russia. In order to support me, my mom sends me pictures, which became my very own “meanwhile in Russia” journal.

I was always very much impressed, how little Russians cared about the environment since 90s came into the play. However, that is one thing to leave the shit behind – and this is another thing to leave in the very shit you collect every day.

This is an example of mentality I could never understand.

Behind the car: “Vika, Happy Birthday”! and “Gulia, please forgive me!”

A very special sense of life’s humour.

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Kindly yours,

Russianladyabroad

10 things to do when you FEEL that they will fire you – editor cut

This is a special article for a friend of mine, who told me that I need to invest more time in this blog by giving her some advice in her difficult situation. So, here I am, telling you all obvious parts of the bitter truth and preparing you for the most unpleasant (not)surprise: cancellation of your contract. I also was fired when the Renewable Energy industry collapsed in Germany some years ago, therefore I will be glad to share my experience on this matter. Here is what you do when you know that you are spending the last days in your company:

1. Get copies of all important papers

Get copies not of the whole secret stuff, but of the emails, which might have got you fired. Of the “OK” notes from your boss for the projects which could lead to the cancellation of your contract. Of the meeting‘s summaries which will demonstrate that you have told the ugly truth but your boss did not want to hear – and, if he would, the disaster would not have happened. In other words, prepare all the documents you might need to defend your case in a court, especially if you work in a country like Germany, where you get a reference letter with a specific grade from each employer. You should be able to defend your interest in the end, especially if you expect your boss to let you go in order to defent his reputation.

2. Collect your contacts

Very often, you will lose the access to all the contacts in your corporate phone book and your email the same moment you will get the cancellation letter. You might have clients you would like to take with you or clients, which could offer you a job right away – do save the contacts in advance to use all opportunities.

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Winning the fight for new ideas: how to make your CEO hear you

I always envy people who find time to post pictures, posts and ideas in their blogs every day. I am anyway not that kind of person, as I am still in my early 30ies on the high wave of my career. So, yes, I have some office dramas from time to time when I sit in the office till midnight to get things done and limit my online communication to “OK” and “please buy toilet paper”.

I did not write anything for quite a while. That’s because I have been fighting for a very important project with all management levels and most of our departments to get an approval for it. And I won. Therefore, for lunch you will get some ideas about pushing new ideas and projects to CEOs, who are always busy:

  1. Get in touch with the Business Development at first. They do know, how the strategy looks like, what kind of clients what is currently looking for, which factors will determine, whether a project will be accepted or not. Business Development may supply arguments, which will help you to get the project accepted by the CEO.
  2. Prepare the financial information and discuss the conditions with the Sales Department. Even if the formal content of the project will not convince the CEO, the financial gain might.
  3. Get in touch with the Legal Department and discuss the contract details, if any. Have a look at the contract templates and think about possible deviations. If the decision process in your company is as long as in ours, you will have no time for starting writing a new contract from the scratch after the approval.
  4. Do not underestimate the power of influencers. If you know somebody who smokes with the CEO during the lunch time or watches football with him on Saturdays, use your chance to tell him and ask if he could try to persuade the CEO to consider your idea.
  5. Always keep good relationships with the assistant of the CEO. She or he is the only person who might find those valuable 5 minutes in the schedule to inform the CEO that there is an idea or a project worth his time. He or she is the one looking for a small gap in the CEO’s schedule for you. Small people may be of a big help.

Especially if you are a woman in a male industry, the way of fighting though all management levels for your project may become a nightmare. Practice your elevator pitch, prepare short and clear summaries, use visual information and never forget about asking others for support.

Good luck in your projects!

Kindly yours,

Russianladyabroad

Doing grammar mistakes while working in a foreign language: how to win the game

Nobody is perfect – neither are your foreign language skills. However, many of us working for a foreign company or even in a foreign country had problems with grammar mistakes in our emails, official documents, presentations etc. How to deal with them with grace – and how to avoid grammar mistakes while working in a foreign language? I am not going to give you advices like “use the grammar tool X” or “read twice before you send it”. Let us to be honest – many tools will correct obvious mistakes, but none will look into your head and rewrite your sentence in a way you wanted it to be. So, how will we proceed?

  1. 4-eyes rule

This is a simple rule meaning that at least one colleague should check every important document you are sending out. This rule is obligatory for audit companies and very popular among consulting companies – but it can be applied everywhere. Just find a colleague who needs a grammar check himself from time to time and ask if he could proofread your email. In small teams, the team leader is often the one doing this job. Please note that reading important documents, which have an impact on the company’s image is not the same as reading somebody’s homework at school – if you made a mistake, it is much easier to correct it while proofreading than to correct the consequences of a badly written email. Don’t be shy to ask somebody to proofread your work – this is a part of the work like any other.

  1. Better in than out

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Thought for the day

Since I discovered that the “Russian chocolate” in Europe is a hot chocolate with vodka (I am only wondering, where did they taste it in Russia..), I understood that the food from other countries and the way people transform it in order to make more attractive to the local market can tell a lot not only about the taste and food preferences, but also about the business culture of the country.

By comparing the transformation of simple native things like sushi, pelmeni, burger etc., we can learn more about the expectations of the nation we are dealing with.

Here you go: an exciting video about what Japanese think about American sushi!

 

Thanks to the Asian Boss for the video!

Kindly yours,

Russianladyabroad

Sneaky photographer – Bamberg in Germany

Today I would love to share with you a short photo story about a UNESCO city Bamberg in Southern Germany, about 1 hour from Nurnberg and 2 hours from Munich by train. This is an amazing opportunity to spend a day (and a night) enjoying the fleur of the old Germany.

The buildings in the old town were built between 11th and 19th century, therefore the city looks like a cartoon village from Hansel and Gretel. Bamberg was far away from any military point, therefore you will see many original facades. It is not overpopulated by tourists, and after 22 you will find almost no foreigners on the streets. There are an old town, a castle and a monastery open to you in Bamberg.

If you look for a magical experience in an old German city – this is a place to go!

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More information in this video (in German):

Kindly yours,

Russianladyabroad

 

Woman with the baby carriage in the working world

Today in Forbes Woman Russia, I read an article about the self-presentation of women in social networks. It was mostly about the fact that internet is tired of the Instagram and Facebook presenting ideal life of a businesswoman, who wake up with perfect hair and makeup and never look exhausted.

This is a very interesting idea, especially because I just coloured my hair blond so my colleagues and my BF would not see swelling around my eyes 😉

A good career, even and especially with a “work-life balance” requires a lot of personal investment. You will get much more tired, if you care to get more from your life. If after your day at work you will go to a sport studio or to a language course or even for a coffee with a friend, you will be more satisfied, but also more tired. Did you ever wonder about those pictures of coffee cups by the window, and why people do them in fancy cafes?)) Because, when you have that damn cup of coffee, you look like hell, be it before or after work.

This is essential that one cannot come to a presentation looking exhausted, but this does not mean that you should present myself as a person who never gets tired. Personally, after such fairs like IFAT, I am just tired from the social interaction, so the next 3 days there will be no meetings with clients, and I may come to the office wearing less to no makeup.

Another point I would like to mention are mothers, who want to demonstrate that a career with a child is possible. They come with their husbands moving a baby carriage with a 4-months child to give a presentation about their mother-friendly employer. Are you kidding me??? A mother-friendly employer will give a woman her peace for the first year, which is of an ultimate importance to her child. You may start your career and change it over and over again, but you will never be able to take back the first year with your child.

Today one can enjoy the benefits of home office and flexible working hours. Especially for pregnant ladies and women with children this is an opportunity to keep the career and still invest a lot of time into their families. In Germany, one can also choose to work 70% or 80% of the usual 40 working hours per week, which gives even more time for children. In many well-developed countries interested in increasing of the women in management rates, men can also get a part of the total time off to raise their child to support the mother. This looks like a world getting used to working women to me.

The appropriate integration of women into the working world does not mean that every woman should act like a man. This does not mean that she should step back from her life as a woman in order to demonstrate everybody the commitment to her career. This only means that she, with all her female problems and female looks, should be accepted and understood not less than men are.

Always yours,

Russianladyabroad

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