Tag Archives: womanpower

International work in an international world. Part I: Looking for the right international company to work for

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!

Work in India: hard challenges with a chilling fleur. Doing business as a woman in India

India is a very patriarchal country. On the other hand, when we visited the Amer Fort in Jaipur, one showed us a small window in the main wall, which opened a view directly to the square where the political meetings of the men took place many centuries ago:

DSC03695

(The small window is above the central entrance on the “balcony”)

One was able to clearly hear and see everything from that window – and there was also a kitchen on the left just next to it. As you have already guessed, the window was for the main wife, who was supposed to watch and listen to the meetings. If at some point she would decide that her husband was under too much pressure or was going to take a wrong decision, she could ring a bell, and her husband would take a small breake come to have a council with her. At least, this is what I was told 😉

I have a very special respect to Indian women who went to politics. Even in restaurants of western hotel chains my BF was asked, what I would like to eat – not me. In general, people did not addressed – and it was strange, even though I come from a patriarchal country as well. In the culture where the man is the ruler, it is hard for women to fight their way up. However, when I see modern Indian enterprises, there are women climbing the career stairs, creating start-ups and becoming active in social entrepreneurship. When I compare the business landscapes, I remember Turkey, the country of amazing beaches and luxurious spa hotels. Indeed, when the father was about to die and the land was distributed between the children, women would receive the “least attractive lands” – next to the sea, with no woods and no fields. Who is ruling the touristic field now? India, as well, has a lot of potential, but still need to find the niche for the female leadership.

Winning the fight for new ideas: how to make your CEO hear you

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Kindly yours,

Russianladyabroad

Woman with the baby carriage in the working world

Today in Forbes Woman Russia, I read an article about the self-presentation of women in social networks. It was mostly about the fact that internet is tired of the Instagram and Facebook presenting ideal life of a businesswoman, who wake up with perfect hair and makeup and never look exhausted.

This is a very interesting idea, especially because I just coloured my hair blond so my colleagues and my BF would not see swelling around my eyes 😉

A good career, even and especially with a “work-life balance” requires a lot of personal investment. You will get much more tired, if you care to get more from your life. If after your day at work you will go to a sport studio or to a language course or even for a coffee with a friend, you will be more satisfied, but also more tired. Did you ever wonder about those pictures of coffee cups by the window, and why people do them in fancy cafes?)) Because, when you have that damn cup of coffee, you look like hell, be it before or after work.

This is essential that one cannot come to a presentation looking exhausted, but this does not mean that you should present myself as a person who never gets tired. Personally, after such fairs like IFAT, I am just tired from the social interaction, so the next 3 days there will be no meetings with clients, and I may come to the office wearing less to no makeup.

Another point I would like to mention are mothers, who want to demonstrate that a career with a child is possible. They come with their husbands moving a baby carriage with a 4-months child to give a presentation about their mother-friendly employer. Are you kidding me??? A mother-friendly employer will give a woman her peace for the first year, which is of an ultimate importance to her child. You may start your career and change it over and over again, but you will never be able to take back the first year with your child.

Today one can enjoy the benefits of home office and flexible working hours. Especially for pregnant ladies and women with children this is an opportunity to keep the career and still invest a lot of time into their families. In Germany, one can also choose to work 70% or 80% of the usual 40 working hours per week, which gives even more time for children. In many well-developed countries interested in increasing of the women in management rates, men can also get a part of the total time off to raise their child to support the mother. This looks like a world getting used to working women to me.

The appropriate integration of women into the working world does not mean that every woman should act like a man. This does not mean that she should step back from her life as a woman in order to demonstrate everybody the commitment to her career. This only means that she, with all her female problems and female looks, should be accepted and understood not less than men are.

Always yours,

Russianladyabroad

Thought for the day

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.

Always yours,

Russianladyabroad

Thought for the day

It’s truly amazing, how people with less opportunities get inspired about simple things.

Being a “cool lady in a suit” myself, I always wonder, why those “cool guys in the suits” always act like I own them. Like I should convince them that I am worth their time, that my ideas are worth their time. They scan me from head to tall, deciding, whether my outfit makes me eligible for a talk with them, the business gods. And it does, and we talk.

Then I go to communes and SMEs and discuss the very same projects with them. And they are burning for changes, they are full of ideas, they are grateful for any attention.

Then the projects become successful. One day later the same people go into Armani, buy a business suits and turn out to be the new generation of “cool guys in the suits”.

The success is a thing that comes and goes. Hopefully, then comes again. If at the point, when you are down, you don’t like who you became, you’re done. It is you who you will always need to work with. It is you who you always should tolerate. Therefore, by all means, try to be a people person you would love to work with. The mask of coolness suits only those who depend on others with the same mask.

Want a promotion? It’s time to get a new hobby!

Have you seen those guys getting a promotion just because they discuss football with your boss? Your blood should be boiling by now – unless you are one of them. How can your boss be so unfair and prioritize his own hobby giving the promotion to your co-worker who can talk about football the whole day long – and not YOU, who worked from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the last 6 months straight?! This is just psychology, my dear – and so far it has been working against you.

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