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.
With this week, I will share some observations on the international work in German companies. They might be different from your experience, and I will be glad if you share yours in comments.
First of all, let’s have a look at how some transnational giants handle the diversity.
- When I submitted an application for McKinsey & Company, they announced something like: By the way, we have support groups for women, LGBTQ and disabled! Wait a minute..did you really put me as a woman in the same line?.. I withdrew my application right away.
- When I started working for a BIG4 company in Hamburg, we had about 8% foreigners and only one guy on the floor who did not speak German. Yeah, as international as it might be!
- When I had an interview with the company I am working for now, I asked, whether they already have foreigners in their teams. They told: “Of course we have foreigners, we are a very open-minded company!” Sure, they have! I am the third one!
- Every company I have an interview with asks me, whether I can work well in an international context. I am a Russian who moved from China to Germany after Spain, which one can clearly sees in my CV…but a question from a protocol is a questions from the protocol!
- But enough jokes. If you are looking for a really nice international company..ask, which language is the official communication language in the company. Is it English? Congrats, you are one step closer to an open-minded employer!
The casts system is presented in a very bad way to all Europeans, but I have seen a different side of it on the very first day in India. When your grandfather was a jeweller, your father is a jeweller, you have no choice but to become a jeweller as well. You will not fight for a place at a university of architecture to become an architect, you will not try to collect money for a career of a politician – because you are born to become a jeweller – and you accept it. But you may dream to become a bank works in your next life, if you wish! I believe, this is the main reason why India had so many talented people for many centuries – professional knowledge, generated within the centuries, were transferred to every new generation.
At the same time, we will never be able to understand it in Europe or in the US. “From nothing to everything” is our goal – while in India you are already born with everything you may have. This is the difference, this is the reason, why we will never be satisfied with what we have – but Indians will be. This is the main though we seek in India while developing our soul with Yoga and ancient philosophies. But we will never find it, because this is not the kind of answer we are looking for.
The collective social mind in India means supporting each other. Everybody in a cast system has his place. I have seen people who were born on the streets to beg being children of beggars whose parents were street beggars as well. Haven’t you notice that those people somehow receive food and water to survive? Because the care about other casts is deep in the roots of the Indian social system. A man from the middle class, for instance, would not iron his clothes or shave his beard by himself. He would give this job to others, pay for their services and therefore support their families with money. My travel guide in Delhi being from a “middle class” caste supported six families on the weekly basis, saving her own time for being a guide for us. You might bite me for that, buy I found this system much more humane than the one in Russia, when those buying caviar in the supermarket ignore old people without any money even for bread.
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In Russia, I was a “strong 5 from 10” type. Small, curvy, well educated, with many interests in various areas, I was not in the centre of attention. Surprisingly, this has changed once I moved abroad – but not necessarily for the best. This article will be a summary of stories from some countries, which shows, how men around the world are fixed on the idea of “Russian brides”, and how to deal with that.
Looking for more security, political stability, financial opportunities, better healthcare systems, Russians are ready to invest an impressive amount of money in an opportunity to move to another country. As Russians get less and less satisfied with the life in the country, the amount of agencies promising an almost guaranteed place in summer schools, universities, companies etc. grows as well. This article will be concentrated on pros and contras of working with “work&study aboard” agencies. What can you expect from them? When are their services pointless? What should you look at by yourself when preparing a big change in your life? Let’s talk about it openly.
For this article, I will concentrate my attention on such countries as China, Germany, Denmark, Spain and, yes, Russia. I work with many expats from different countries from all levels and many industries, therefore I understand the consequences of coming to another country without knowing the local language. Can one come to a country with a 0 to A2 level of the local language and feel comfortable at work? In the everyday life? Let us have a look at it.