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.
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
Since I discovered that the “Russian chocolate” in Europe is a hot chocolate with vodka (I am only wondering, where did they taste it in Russia..), I understood that the food from other countries and the way people transform it in order to make more attractive to the local market can tell a lot not only about the taste and food preferences, but also about the business culture of the country.
By comparing the transformation of simple native things like sushi, pelmeni, burger etc., we can learn more about the expectations of the nation we are dealing with.
Here you go: an exciting video about what Japanese think about American sushi!
Thanks to the Asian Boss for the video!
Today I would love to share with you a short photo story about a UNESCO city Bamberg in Southern Germany, about 1 hour from Nurnberg and 2 hours from Munich by train. This is an amazing opportunity to spend a day (and a night) enjoying the fleur of the old Germany.
The buildings in the old town were built between 11th and 19th century, therefore the city looks like a cartoon village from Hansel and Gretel. Bamberg was far away from any military point, therefore you will see many original facades. It is not overpopulated by tourists, and after 22 you will find almost no foreigners on the streets. There are an old town, a castle and a monastery open to you in Bamberg.
If you look for a magical experience in an old German city – this is a place to go!
More information in this video (in German):
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.