Tag Archives: career

Business dinner in Europe

As I told you before, dining culture is extremely important, if you wish to progress in your career in Europe. Unlike casual lunches with colleagues, described in the previous article, dinners might be more of a problem.

In France, the main problem for me was that all the waiters wanted to speak only French, even though they were perfectly able to speak English. Just because they love their native language. One might look strange, showing with his hands that he would like to have a dish with a swimming fish during a business dinner.

In Spain and Italy, I had difficulties to hear my colleagues, because many good restaurants are very loud.

In Netherlands, I had to go for some business breakfast to a cafe next to the trade fair building. Honestly saying, I was ready to cry while paying for my simple “bio” croissant with ham and a small cup of coffee. It was the most precious croissant in my life..

In Germany, you can eat well for a small price or eat so-so for a very high price. It depends. In Hamburg, for instance, one can find 11 Michelin restaurants, and some more, which had a Michelin star before and still have a good kitchen (but much lower prices). As in Germany, some professions require having dinners and lunches with your clients, many companies pay the bills back to their employees if they invited an important client to a dinner – therefore, feel free to accept an invitation from your German business partners.

If you are looking for a very special place to eat with your clients or partners, I would opt for this website:

https://www.viamichelin.de/web/Suchen_Restaurants/

Is will not only show you the Michelin restaurants with a very special kitchen (a good place for a very special date, a proposal, a crucial contract-related business meeting), but also very good restaurants with the approximate price ranges for a meal.

As food is a brilliant opportunity to unite with people and progress in business, I wish you to find just the right place for your occasion.

Kindly yours,

Russianladyabroad

 

 

Why confident talented Russians get fired in Europe

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.. Read more

10 reasons why your education and work experience have no value abroad – and what to do with it, Part 2

Hi, please check out the Part I of this article to catch up on most important reasons why your CV may not work abroad! Here are the next 5 factors:

6. You have no experience in the country where you are applying

If you worked many years in Asia before, employers cannot be sure, whether you will be able to do the same kind of job in Europe. It is not easy to admit, but with every half of year spent working in Europe, you will see that your experience from other countries will be more and more valued. I suppose, in my case it has lasted 1,5 years until my Russian, Chinese and American experience was fully accepted in Germany.

What to do: Find yourself a job 1-2 levels lower than you are used to or look for a position in a company with offices in your country. In a couple of years you will be back on top as you will prove that your skills and qualifications are not worse than those of your European colleagues.

7. You are not studying in one of the top universities

Many foreigner students are glad to accept scholarship from less popular universities. This gives you more flexibility and security during the study, but might cause problems after the graduation.

Read more

Thought for the day: just a joke – certifications for dummies

PMP: If you still don’t get what a deadline is and that your clients sometimes want something from you, this is the time to get a professional certification.

Agile: If you want to pay us to understand that expectations of your clients change from time to time, deadlines may be moved and colleagues may not deliver on time, let’s get another certificate!

Scrum: If you work in IT, don’t like programming and want to become a Big Boss one day, here is an extra paper to give it a go!

Design Thinking: If you are not Picasso, we may at least teach you how to paint. The same way you will do innovations. Creativity through logics – for the most untalented.

CAE: If you still think that a good English is not a must have, you may spend some money on our certification!

If you know other expensive certificates, write your jokes in the comments 😉

Your Russianladyabroad

Thought for the day

People should be worth more than machines. That’s, probably, why the expectations from what a person CAN jumped to a very different level in past 15 years. It’s not enough anymore to be able to use a computer – it’s essential. Your English should be very good if you want to see any positive changes in your career; your ability to overcome work overloads should be impressive; your intercultural understanding should be very progressive; your creativity should jump up to the sky even if you’re a logical type; you should speak at least 2 foreign languages fluently; you must be a good team player at any time.

I am currently helping a friend to become creative. Yes, I am not joking. He is a very talented Senior Manager in a famous consulting company, who works at least 10 hours a day (this is Germany, my dear, just 10 years ago people would count every 15 minutes of the extra workload!) and analyses every issue logically, going into the depth of it until he finds a solution. As I am something in-between hard logics and creativity, I went to look for information on how to open one’s creativity. Guys, there are COURSES and even CERTIFICATES on creativity out there! People with absolutely different talents are expected to cover all the important personal traits available! Logics for creative people, creativity for mathematicians, language courses for engineers..

HR departments tell us that they are looking at the “individual strengths” of the candidates. Yes, they do – in order to push us with the additional courses to opposite directions, which creates an “all inclusive” employee.

The truth is, we will never be there. We will work extra hours, visit all the “complementary” courses in order to shift from our real talents to universal soldiers who can just a little bit of everything, burn in the gym in the evening to correspond to the beauty standards and take Arabic courses on the weekend. This will not change a thing.

Relax, we will never be there. As a person, who can a little bit of everything and speaks several languages fluently, I confirm I rely on you THAT damn much. Because we need people, who are experts in their fields and know the subject into the depth. So, just gain yourself a day off, take a deep breath, get a cup of good green tea and remember: you are talented in what you ARE talented – don not try to be somebody else and everybody at the same time.

Sincerely yours,

Russianladyabroad

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.

Read more

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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