And here I am.. fashionably late with the new
style of the website, but I hope that you will enjoy it on your mobile devices
as well 😉
I guess, you know that I never reappear
without a fresh container with motivation. I would never disappoint you, so,
here I am, packing my things to get a Lobbyist training with the European Parliament.
What a Russian soul has to do with the
European Parliament, you would ask. Everything and nothing: during an exchange
semester in Germany in 2010, I got a student excursion to the European
Commission in Brussel. I was very excited when we were offered to seat in the
seats of the Commission officials, you know 😉 Many important decisions are
made there, decisions, which affect the world politics. So, I was happy and I
wished very deep in my soul to be able to work in the European politics one
day. Just for a bit. Just for life experience. A strange wish to a non-European
person, isn’t it?
9 years later, whole 9 years later I was
invited to get an intensive Lobbyist training – but not in Brussel, in
Strasbourg. All costs covered. I still have my Russian passport, I have just
applied for the German permanent residence permit, and I was wondering at
first, what gave me this opportunity. Talent? Motivation? Strength? Nope.
Curiosity. Because I applied for a place in the program one day before the
deadline, the same day I found it. Just for fun, just because I was curious if
I have any chance.
There is one popular joke in Russia. A man
dies and asks the God: “My whole life I wanted one thing: to win a lottery.
God, why didn’t you give me just that?”. And the God answered: “Actually, I was
going to. But you did not buy a single lottery ticket”.
Buy your lottery ticket very much in advance,
I know, I know that many Europeans and especially Americans consider Russian people quite morose. We do believe that you may smile when you want to and not when it is comfortable to others. Nevertheless, I spent a lot of time in Europe and got used to the “professional smiling”. But that one shocked me for real.
That was a Russian guy who moved to Europe about 10 years ago. He had a nice job, a nice face and nice clothes. The problem was..he was smiling. All the time. I saw his brand white teeth through the whole conversation. He was smiling while I was asking a question. He was smiling while answering my question and after he would answer my question.
Did he do an operation? Does he have any problems with the muscles of his mouth? Is something wrong with my makeup?
-Ivan, did you study in the US?
-Yeah, I did!
-Now I get it..
Dear all, the gestures and the facial expressions are sometimes even more important than knowing the language of the person. Try to pay attention to how people look like when they are interacting and to do it the same way – this will help your international career a lot.
When working on this article, I thought I would write a list of reasons, why talented Russians (and guys from CIS-countries with the similar mentality) get fired in Europe already during the probation period.
Let’s take Germany, a usual job not involving IT or scientific research, where people will forgive you whatsoever if you do the job. The main reason why Russians get fired is that we are UNSOCIAL. Unsocial according to the European standards.
If you are Russian, you know for sure, how our satirist Zadornov made everybody laugh by telling, how people smile 24/7 in the US. If you work in Europe at a position where you see people at least twice a day – congrats, smiling is the easiest thing you are going to need. Here is my personal list, why you may be considered unsocial (and therefore get a label “you are not good for the team spirit” and get fired) while working, for instance, in Germany:
- You don’t spend the dinner with your colleagues. You just wanted to go shopping during the lunch break to have some minutes off from talking? Forget it. In Germany, people expect you to eat with them every damn time they want to eat together. Because you all are a team! The worst is, even if they eat somewhere very expensive and not tasty, you are still invited in an obligatory manner.
- You don’t drink coffee with your colleagues. We all know days, when you count minutes to get a project done and all your deadlines are burning. In fact, I have such days at least 3 times a week. Buuut….when your colleagues invite you for a cup of coffee, you go and drink a cup of coffee, even if it’s your 7th for today. Because you are a damn good team member.
- You don’t tell, what you did on the weekend. The question, which is usually asked on Monday, makes me sweat every week. Hmmm…what did I do on the weekend? Had sex with my BF, slept till lunch, watched TV?…Nope, I need a good story and everybody should see, what an interesting person I am. Because I am a damn team member. And I just love telling everybody about my personal life.. Continue reading
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.
A friend of mine has inspired me to write this article. Living abroad since 2013, I already forgot, how many character traits, clichés, ways of thinking and bad manners I overcame in order to be where I am now. Every time I give a comment about a need to change any “typically Russian” behaviour, I get something like “You are a Russian hater!” in exchange. As a “Russian hater” (a hate of myself, I suppose, by definition…), I might feel free to just give it all and list here ALL “typically Russian” traits, which will make a sustainable international career almost impossible to any Russian who sees no need to change.
If you think that everybody will accept you “as you are” and you will have no need in changing yourself while building your career abroad – you are very wrong. These 7 character traits will cost you a career, no matter, how smart, talented and experience you are –therefore, just trust me and get rid of them!
The Power of Positivity has presented a unique video on how a grandmother helped her blind granddaughter to get a university degree, when no books are available for blind people. I hope, they don’t mind that I publish their video on my page 😉
Disabled people have much better chances to get a degree and a job in Europe. Moreover, in countries like Germany there will be financial advantages of hiring a disabled person.
In Russia, we think that we have less disabled people, because our women get pregnant earlier and bear healthier children. Nope, my dear, that’s because they have nowhere to go and no sources to go out…
Power of Positivity опубликовала уникальное видео о слепой русской девочке, которой бабушка помогла получить университетское образование, не имея доступа к книгам для слепых.
Инвалиды в Европе обладают шансом на достойное будущее, образование и карьеру. Более того, к примеру, в Германии законодательство построено так, что компании, нанимающие на работу инвалидов, выигрывают на налогах.
В России мы привыкли считать, что у нас меньше инвалидов на улицах, потому что наши женщины рожают раньше и вынашивают более здоровых детей. Нет, мои дорогие, это потому, что им просто некуда идти, да и возможности выйти у них тоже нет..
For my international readers: We usually don’t speak about this topic with foreigners, as we don’t expect people, who don’t know how life in Russia looks like, to understand our point of view. So please be nice in commenting, as this is a very difficult topic to talk about 😉
The reasons, why being gay is not widely accepted in Russia, are very complex.
During my international Master program, I spent the first semester in Barcelona. There I have seen a scene when two guys with long beards were lying on the grass and kissing each other – and I felt uncomfortable. Nevertheless, not because that was a homosexual couple, but because they have been kissing in public. I came from a very conservative country, we do not really appreciate that.