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
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.
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.
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.
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!