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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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?
- 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.
- Better in than out
In the previous articles, I already talked about mixed degrees and professions-dinosaurs. Now it is time to write more about professions, which I see in many highly technological companies, and which will become more popular with time.
Today I have an interesting idea to share…Everything in life comes not in cycles, but in waves. Every wave is a bit higher than the previous one. Sometimes we can catch the wave, and sometimes we just get wet and can’t see it, but this does not change how things are working.
Some years ago, I had a difficulty to get an unpaid internship for my Diploma thesis in Russia. This is not in our culture to get somebody running around and disturbing other employers for free. Therefore, I got a small job as an interpreter and agreed with the employer that he will sign the Diploma thesis papers. We went to Munich for a large construction fair, he liked my translation work and asked to stay as a Financial Manager in his company. I denied and went abroad.
After 5 years, I was standing in the very same hall as a speaker talking about complex project structures and high-level IT issues. This is the same spot, just a much higher wave.
This life will give you a change to return and look back – not for a revenge, but for a moment to spend thinking, how much you have done. Do not waste this moment – it is there for you to plan the future, not to regret or to judge your past.
Any idea about the future, which new technologies will bring? Innovations bring the fastest changes at the labour market we have ever seen. There are hundreds professions, which did not exist 5 years ago, such as Innovation Manager, Knowledge Manager, Digitalisation Executive, Blockchain Consultant etc. They all are the products of the new digital era. However, the most progressive industry digitalisation fair Hannover Messe showed last month, that there are many usual professions, which soon will not be needed anymore. Prepare yourself: the mid 21th century will force you to do more intellectual work and spend more time by the computer. Here are some professions, for which technologies have already found proper substitutes:
An episode form the Black Mirror coming true: what can be more exciting in the era of digitalisation? However, not everything looks so bright.
Already during the MoinBlockchain conference in Hamburg this year, I heard about different interconnected scoring systems, which may be implemented in European banks. People were thinking about connecting with Facebook, tracking the purchases..Nevertheless, how about a whole city? A country? What if your behaviour in the grocery store would affect your credit rating? What if your late work would positively affect your chances to rent a better flat? This experiment on the so-called “social credit” will take place in China:
(a short version with a video for non-native speakers)
(the whole version for native speakers)