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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10 reasons why your education and work experience have no value abroad – and what to do with it, Part 1

If you study in a foreign country, your ultimate goal is to get a job after the graduation. This is, however, quite difficult, as you will soon understand that you are not getting even a half of interviews the locals get. Nationalism? Discrimination? Or, probably, just not enough understanding of the local labour market? The “We are sorry to inform…” emails become especially painful when you are applying for a junior position while already having a lot of experience from your home country. What are you doing wrong? Let’s analyse it 😉

1. You had no job while studying

While Russians usually find a job to survive through the university years in a local restaurant or supermarket, Europeans have lots of vacancies at universities (helping out professors) and in companies (like Werkstudent in Germany, which is a work for 20 hours a week in time slots when you have no classes), which allow them to collect the RELEVANT work experience. Let’s imagine, a German works as a Werkstudent during the years 2-4 of his Bachelor program. When he graduates, he will have 1.5 (3 years, ½ of the usual working hours per week) years of experience AND the same diploma as you do. You had an “Assistant” job in your home country, he had a “Werkstudent Project Management” in the country you both are applying in. Who will get the job?

What to do: If you work in a country with student jobs available, get one as soon as you feel confident about your study. You will get no “foreigner discount” for havong no student job and just studying, but your CV will look weaker without it.

Special advice: If you have a scholarship, get the information if you are allowed to work at all. If not…probably, some job-related volunteer work would do.

2. You had no extracurricular activities

We all know that you need to study hard, and many majors just leave no time for any parties or even social clubs. This, however, puts your career in danger if you look for a job in UK, USA or some European countries. The more social your job is, the more important social clubs, summer schools and team challenges will be for your CV. The more technical your field is, the stronger importance things like conferences, scientific clubs etc. might receive.

What to do: This sounds really bad, but nobody is going to control, how many time you spend in your Students for International Politics club. The only thing, which is important, will be your position – are you a leader, a change maker or just a member? Use your time wisely.

3. You have no letters of reference

This is a very common problem for many countries. Beware that your experience is not valid for many employers if they see no paper behind it.

What to do: Write a letter of recommendation in English by yourself and ask your manager to print it out on the corporate paper and to sign it.

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Thought for the day

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Cities are what people create – cities are what people inside are. Some cities, just like we all, take, some give, some offer you people in exchange for a small fee of experience. While Barcelona always GIVES, Frankfurt immediately takes away. Most people come here for work, but never make their home here – therefore, you meet this very special “office city” without any expectations.

I paid for this visit with my time – a month, which disappeared right before my eyes. It’s time to get back to work!

Coming soon, starting tomorrow:

  • Why confident talented Russians get fired in Europe
  • 10 reasons why your education and work experience have no value abroad – and what to do with it
  • Shopping time: which things people from CIS-countries do not value at home?

etc.

Kindly yours,

Russianladyabroad

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

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