Author Archives: Nabeha Latif

FAAby Nabeha Latif

Flavia Augusta de Almeida’s dream for “alegria” started when she moved to Switzerland with her family. She had worked with many companies as an architect around the globe. However, it was next to impossible to find a job in Basel where her husband had been hired for a large pharmaceutical company.

Despite her love for architectural design, she decided to work on her own startup “alegria“.

The word “alegria” means happiness. Her company provides children products like crochet vegetable and fruit toys, which help children learn and discover new things.  This startup was crafted with an idea to support working women in Brazil and to spread happiness and love for children.

I asked Flavia about her future plans for alegria.   Her main goal for first year is the growth and marketing of alegria with the objective to grow alegria from a sole proprietorship into a GmbH. She also aims to introduce the alegria play collection into the British Market via stores which promote designer products. She was persistent to focus on the alegria’s giving back company philosophy, which is a model for a more humane centric economy.unnamed

 

Here’s a summary of my interview with Flavia Augusta de Almeida (FAA).

NL: What led to your career change? 

FAA: “Initially my career development was centered around my professional area. It was only towards the end that I opened up to Angela Weinberger and discussed the dream of alegria, and that I was seriously considering pursuing it. Not only I received more information as to where to start from and the fundamentals of setting up my own business in Switzerland, I was also provided with great incentive and positive reinforcement. We had great brain storming sessions regarding the possibility of the company, products, etc. Her enthusiasm was a great source of inspiration and encouragement for me in the development of my startup company.”

NL: What can a client expect to get from working with a career coach such as Angela Weinberger?

FAA: “Aside from the common misconceptions, job coaching is a holistic experience which involves:

1. Evaluation of career goals and prospects for progression in the current cultural and economic market setting, one finds her/himself in.                         Untitled

2. Learning how to highlight one’s professional strengths and use them to the enhancement of their professional development, with the aim of achieving the desired career goals.

3. Learning how to improve one’s weaknesses or areas which require professional improvement/development. Using these areas of professional development as goals towards effective carrier progression.

4. Learn how to network outside your professional realm.

5. Effective use of social media, such as LinkedIn, towards career development and job search.

6. Cultural awareness and its importance in today’s international job market.

7. Professional branding development and how to present yourself in order to achieve desired career goals.

Above all good career coaching offers encouragement and motivation.”

NL: What are the most common misconceptions about career coaching?

FAA: “A lot of us think that career coaching is limited to only CV review and job interview coaching. There’s so much more to it!”

NL: What are the typical sessions like with Angela Weinberger?

FAA: “I started my career development with Angela half way through my career development program and I saw a significant improvement in the structure of the sessions which were very goal oriented. Area(s) of development were identified and worked through during the session at high level. There was a lot of brain storming involved. I then had around two weeks to work on the area(s) to be developed. In this two-week period there was always email communication with Angela, where she would constantly send me articles or material relevant to my career development areas. There was constant email communication between the time we did not meet so my career development progress was continuously moving forward.”

NL: Flavia Augusta de Almeida, Congratulations on having your launched your business and thank you for this interview.

 

Nabeha Latif is a Social Media Marketer and works with Global People Transitions GmbH on a freelance basis.

by @angieweinberger

In Germany there is rumor and evidence that Generation Y is not willing to work abroad. Now obviously, it is not the most important topic on German news considering we have a humanitarian crisis in Europe and refugee camps being attacked. BUT if you are a Global Mobility Professional or a global line manager who needs internationally-minded and experienced team members you might start to worry about this Gen Y. 

The underlying tenor of the SPIEGEL article is that work-life balance seem to be more . Raising a family is a value again and men and women want to share the load of educating children and careers alike. Good news for women’s careers, bad news for Global Mobility.

Is this really a global phenomenon though?

If you check out the study “Talent Mobility 2020” by @pwc you will read (and maybe tweet)

“The millennial generation will view overseas assignments as a rite of passage, an outlook that will change the way workers and organisations approach overseas opportunities in the future.”

An experience

I don’t think that Gen Y is not willing to move abroad. For me Gen Y might be over-saturated. Gen Y professionals grew up with the option of studying and working abroad before they entered the workforce. In my days having studied and worked in another country was an achievement. Now it seems very normal.

I still believe though that the experience of a long-term assignment (minimum two years) is not replaceable with working in your home region only. It’s also a different experience moving abroad for studying or an internship when you are 25 and single compared to when you are 35, married and with two children.  Believe me: You still need the experience in today’s globalized world. Also, the world has more countries than Germany. A lot of Indians, Chinese and Brazilians will love to go on an international assignment if you ask them.

 

If you want to be an effective global professional you have to have had exposure to people from other cultures and you have to have FELT the difference between working for example for a manager with a hierarchical approach who might be French versus the participatory approach of a Swedish manager. It is not enough to read about this difference. You have to experience it.  When you feel the difference you can also pick the style that suits you best once you are leader.

When you never lived in a country where people have a different skin colour than you, you might have never been exposed to cultural dominance or the opposite. You might have never understood cultural bias or you cannot even differentiate faces of people with a different racial background…let alone pronounce their names correctly.

It’s all good and well to prioritize family over work but who says you cannot have family while you are on an international assignment. Who says you cannot bring your husband to Bangladesh if you are a successful career woman? I know a gay couple who moved to India and a father of four who worked in Thailand and I’ve spoken to Western career women who worked successfully in Abu Dhabi. It’s all possible with the right attitude, global competency and the right package. It also works when you have an international assignment business case with a repatriation plan.

This is where we might find the real issue. A lot of companies have decided that Gen Y “needs talent development”. So they have sent the young talents abroad without a real business case. Obviously then your experience might be flawed. When I was sent to India almost ten years ago it was an eye-opener for me and I worked really hard. We had a staff shortage and we needed to pull ourselves together in order to build a BPO from scratch. I learnt a ton about Indian culture and even more about myself in stressful projects. Maybe it is worthwhile checking what your assignment business case really is.

While we currently have a tendency of cultural regionalism we should not forget that the market growth is not happening in Switzerland and Germany but for example in Turkey, Malaysia, China and India or in the countries that had wars for the last decades such as Iraq. If you want to be successful you might not even have a choice other than moving around for your career.

Please share your view on moving to other countries on international assignments (no matter which generation you belong to).

 

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Valeria_Foto_Profilo

by Valeria Crescenzi

Hi there! I am Valeria and let me start by thanking Angela for this opportunity to share my personal experience about relocating to Switzerland. I hope that my story has the chance to help people who might be thinking about jumping to a foreign country.

I’m not far from my native place but my life in Zürich is completely different from the one in Rome. To be honest until the end of 2013 Switzerland wasn’t in my plans. I moved to Zürich in January 2014.

A new experience

To me living abroad is a brand new experience: born and raised in Rome, I was pretty sure that my life would have been there all along. I’ve never lived in other countries enjoying such an international environment as the one in Zürich. I am 31 years old and moving here meant, first of all, coming back to school. In a broad sense: I am really going to school everyday to rapidly learn German but, more importantly, I am learning a new way to deal with life. All the expected things in Italy, here are not to be taken for granted. Even going to the grocery shop is different.

I had to start again from scratch, building up, day after day, my new Swiss life. How did I change so far? I am more curious, more aware of what happens around me and I am using Wikipedia and language dictionaries as never before! Joking aside, even thought my coffee is still Italian, my phone is fluent in Italian, English and German, my computer is Swiss and my new friends come from all over the world. I am also understanding the real meaning of the word “flexibility”, the ability to being responsive to change.

 

An idea to become self-employed

Regarding my professional transformation, my mind was already set on the idea to be self-employed. So that, I began to collect information even before moving. This made me aware of the characteristics of the Swiss job market reinforcing my desire to go solo. My first 7 months helped grasp the reality behind what I had researched in advance and to explore the community, through participation in many networking events.

I also re-analyzed my previous professional experiences countless times. Reality check: done. In June I started to be a “singlepreneur”. My baby is Crescenzi Communication, a communication “solo-agency” fluent in Italian and English (we are gearing up for German). Starting your own business in a foreign country is not trivial. More than formal bureaucracy – which is very lightweight here – the major challenge is facing the specific cultural gap. You never know what you are giving for granted about what is allowed and what isn’t.
In the start-up phase of Crescenzi Communication I am also learning to push myself forward not caring about blushing (forget old shy Valeria) and to rely on other people.

Again…it’s all about learning. To close let me say that success is not granted but, as a Williams quote says, I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it“.

 

Contact me

Valeria Crescenzi
Crescenzi Communication
Web: www.crescenzi.ch
Mail: info@crescenzi.ch
Phone: 0041 76 688 53 06
FB: www.facebook.com/crescenzicommunication
Twitter: @CrescenziComm