Category Archives: Global Mobility

Guest post by Lucie Koch

Lucie Koch has joined Global People Transitions for an internship and will be sharing her internship experiences in a regular blog journal.

I have been in Zürich for a few weeks now and I am starting to adjust to swiss city life. I am amazed every day by how cosmopolitan Zürich is with all the languages heard in the tram. It’s wonderful.

In my last blog post, I wrote about how entry into professional life was one kind of culture shock. I have started to adapt to the professional and swiss cultural frame. Working for Global People Transitions is a very interesting experience, especially since I get to be involved in very diverse tasks, from administrative paperwork to exciting business development projects. I am discovering how many gearwheels must be activated and maintained for the business machine to work properly.

While I expected to have to adjust to professional culture, I wasn’t quite prepared for the general culture shock that I experienced in Switzerland. As a child who grew up in France with parents from the cantons of Zurich and Luzern, and many family ties in Switzerland, I have been exposed to Swiss culture throughout my upbringing. I spent a few holidays in Switzerland when I was younger and identified quite strongly as Swiss. But then this month, I found myself suddenly confronted with cultural and structural enigmas: What is the deal with these expensive trash bags? Why do people eat so early? I also found myself confused about how to greet new people properly – do I offer a handshake? Should I do the ‘bise’ (kiss)? – which resulted in some awkward moments of hesitation and embarrassed smiles. It turns out, I might be more French than I thought.

These experiences made me think about the topic of mixed cultural identities, especially in the case of expatriation and specifically about the children of expatriates who grow up abroad.

Indeed, when you grow up in a country as a foreigner, especially in an area of low cultural diversity as it is the case for the French countryside where I grew up, the Swiss identity makes one stand out, especially for children. You don’t understand the other kids’ popular culture references and you speak another language with your family. The scarcity of Swiss items like cervela, landjäger, and swiss chips or mayonnaise turn them into ‘precious’ objects for the expat parents and to expat children, they appear as relics of Swiss-ness that you get to share once every other month in a kind of family tradition.

In the end, as a ‘born-expat’, one gets a reflected image of the parent’s culture. Indeed, a born-expat’s understanding of the ‘culture-of-origin’ is imagined (through the information absorbed from the media, short stays in the country or from the family’s opinions and stories) and not experienced. Therefore, young expats born abroad have an incomplete picture of a culture with which they strongly identify. The resulting culture shock, when the born-expat realizes how different reality is, can be very difficult, especially since it touches the perception of one’s own identity.

Children of expatriates are a very interesting focus of study when it comes to intercultural competence and how culture affects one’s identity and life. We are quite aware of how being an expatriate family is complicated logistically, emotionally and mentally on all members during the first years of immigration or how tricky it can be to raise children in a country in which we are not completely familiar with the education system. It is however important to consider that expat-children may face identity struggles when they grow up and to actively address the issues of identity and nationality during the upbringing.

Have you experienced any issues related to identity as an expat? Do you know a good way to address the question of identity with expat children?

I hope you enjoyed the read, I’ll write again next month.

Until then, have a great day!

Lucie

Lucie Koch is intern at Global People Transitions since April 2017. She is about to graduate from an Intercultural Management Master study, which led her to study in Dijon, France, a city she was already familiar with and in unfamiliar Finland (for one semester). Previously, she studied one year at Durham university (UK) as part of a Bachelor Erasmus Mobility program. She was born in 1994 to Swiss expat couple in France. She grew up in the French countryside, around horses. She’s a self confessed introvert, fascinated by different languages, cultures, science (especially astronomy and biology) and philosophy. She also likes to spend time drawing, painting or in cinemas.

 

 

Here is an interview @Andreas Wettstein conducted with me via video last week.

Quote Andreas Wettstein “…The first person they need to sell their idea to is themselves…”.

Quote Angie Weinberger “…As an entrepreneur, most of the barriers you have are in your head…”

Sometimes we all experiences phases in our lives when everything seems to drag along or harder than usual. In other times we are full of energy and ready to take life by storm. You probably understand already that your energy level and exhaustion does not always correlate to a number of hours you work.

Sometimes you might be drained by other factors. It might even be your personal life that is creating an imbalance. In my experience, most of the issues we face are born in our head. Once we learn to control our thoughts, we can almost control the universe (almost…do not try to challenge me on this one).

Do you remember the last time you almost had a nervous breakdown over a small error you made or the last fight you had with a loved one for something that seemed meaningless in hindsight?

Are you sometimes asking yourself what triggers these emotional reactions when you explode or break into tears out of nowhere? The issue is simpler than you think and at the same time more irrational than you think. It’s probably related to your early childhood. Unless you want to go through a long deep therapeutic process I want to advise you to observe your behavior and your judgment.

There are also a few actions you can take to rid yourself of unnecessary blockages.

Clean up your home and office space

Sometimes we feel blocked because we lost touch with ourselves, with our priorities and our purpose. In that case, it is useless to sit in front of a white sheet of paper ruminating about what we would like to do with our lives. It is better to shift your focus to cleaning up your home and office space. Throw out anything you don’t use or if you feel you will use it again try to put it in your cellar.

http://globalpeopletransitions.com/how-to-get-rid-of-clutter-in-five-steps-spring-cleaning-for-more-productivity/

Use Housework as a Meditation Practice

Create more balance between your head and your body by going through your household tasks with dedicated Zen-like attitude. Focus fully on the task at hand, let your mind enjoy music or listen to a podcast while you iron shirts, clean the bathroom and do the dishes. You might want to take up a regular practice such as meditation, yoga, aikido or golf.
http://www.agility3.com/blog/learning-golf-rememering-rilke-and-the-secret-to-a-perfect-lawn

Battle Stress by Looking at the Root Cause

If you constantly feel anxious, get too little sleep or you seek distractions with medicines, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, work and other additions you might want to seek a therapist. In the long run, you will benefit from going through this rough phase but you probably won’t manage alone or without a support group. Maybe it will also help you to follow our advice on how to get in control again when stress weighs you down.
http://globalpeopletransitions.com/when-stress-weighs-you-down-three-quickies-to-get-in-control-again/

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

PS: If you feel you only need a few small optimizations to claim back your diary you might want to try these seven tips.

http://globalpeopletransitions.com/my-favourite-productivity-hacks-seven-tips-to-claim-back-your-diary/

With temperatures at summer highs, I felt obliged to tell you about the Swiss recruiting summer downtime and how to best prepare for it. With the start of international and Swiss school holidays, many recruiting processes slow down significantly. If you are looking for a job right now you probably feel that you are coming late to the table. I would say that is true, but it does not mean that you should spend July and August in a coma in the next “Badi”.

1) Write your personal career story

My advice is that you finalize your personal branding. You need to have your three professional “labels” ready and know how you will introduce yourself to a new contact. You should write a story that explains why you chose the profession you currently have, what you like about it and where your next step should take you. You should also have your personal business cards printed. You might also want to revisit why a personal brand is important and how it links to your seven work principles.

2) Build more personalized professional relationships

Summer is a good time to build new and catch up with your current contacts because they might feel less pressured than normal and the nice weather is encouraging your contacts to spend more time outside. Why don’t you take them for an ice cream in the sunshine after work? Why don’t you request an early morning walk by the lake combined with a cold coffee? Or you could offer to take over their recycling runs as you have enough time at your hands at the moment for half an hour of them sharing career tips with you. A personalized request is key here.

3) Set yourself a weekly target for meetings with contacts

I think it is also helpful if you set your targets for the meeting low but ask to be introduced to three more professional contacts in your field. If you have doubts about meeting your contacts you probably have not written down your “purpose” yet. Please read this post on “Purpose, Preparation, Presence, and Promises…” and ask me about it in case you feel it is still too hard to go out and meet professional contacts.

4) Book a holiday for your family and yourself

This is also the best time to be away from Zurich if you are looking for a job. You will probably not miss much and in emergencies, companies could also interview you by phone or Skype in your holiday home. I would advise that you charge your batteries and get out of the city for a minimum of two weeks. Your children and partner/ spouse will probably love it that you have time for them.

5) Book your next coaching sessions up until 22 July now

We are also going to profit from the summer downtime by taking a break and I would like to ask you to book any coaching sessions until 22 July as soon as you know your holiday plans. We currently offer appointments on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays. If you know anybody who would profit from a career consultation this is a good time to introduce them to Global People Transitions. Your contact will receive a free first consultation if they mention you.

During the summer my team and I will work on projects and learning programs and we will need to retreat for that. We will not be available for private clients from 24 July until 4 September 2017.

What are your committed actions for this week?

 

Kind regards

Angie Weinberger

 

PS: I enjoyed this post on why relationships fail from the Huff Post.

 

 

Guest post by Lucie Koch

Lucie Koch has joined Global People Transitions for an internship and will be sharing her internship experiences in a regular blog journal. 

While I have driven all the way up to the North of England during my last bachelor year with only six months of countryside driving experience (let me assure you, the stress was intense), I, and it seems to be the case for many young people of my age, have never felt as anxious and simultaneously excited at the prospect of starting my professional career.

My internship at Global People Transitions  started a little more than one month ago and, for now, I still have one foot in the academic system and the other one in the professional system. Knowing that I am about to step out of the apparently safe bubble of the academic world is becoming more real every day. However, I know that this apprehension is a globally experienced side-effect of change and I am going to be fine.

This said, the professional discovery experience is an exciting (and scary) experience, especially when starting in an international or foreign company, or when considering how young Europeans of my generation have been reminded for years about the high unemployment rates and economic crisis. Writing about my experience may help students about to take their first step in the professional world to feel less stressed about the change and professionals understand the young interns.

The first challenge I faced was intercultural. Indeed, while I am of Swiss nationality, my ideas about work, are mostly shaped by the French education system and experience through personal relations in France. Therefore, I was quite insecure about the professional culture proper to Switzerland.

Secondly, there is the fact that the Global People Transitions team is very diverse in its cultural backgrounds. However, due to my intercultural experience and interculturality centered studies, it was easy to adapt to this.

The real intercultural shock for me was more about academical vs professional culture. Indeed, the differences in behavior, expectations, jargon and directness, are always a challenge to adapt to, especially in a secondary language. I would argue that it might be harder or at least as hard to adapt to a new ‘working’ culture than to a new national culture, especially in a global environment. It is especially complicated in a digital work team, as one can’t rely on tone and physical expression hints.

Culture Shock Theory, which is used to explain and educate people about the social, physical and emotional challenges which people face during and international mobility, could be used in my case too. Indeed, there is the initial ‘honeymoon’ phase, when one is excited about more autonomy, earning money, meeting new people, moving to a new place. Then come the first stressful situations, negative experiences, the disappointment of big expectations, or the nostalgia of old habits, life and friends can lead to a low (more or less hard depending on everyone’s experience). Adapting to the new environment is essential and it is not limited to a change of country.

However, what I discovered in the first month of my internship, is that there is no need to be anxious and that some intercultural communication failures are bound to happen, may it be because of a nationality difference, a professional culture difference, or even a generational difference. The apprehension is normal but the growth that one gains in the professional experience is worth the harder parts.

I hope that you enjoyed this read!

Write you next month,

Lucie

Lucie Koch - Global People Transitions

Lucie Koch is intern at Global People Transitions since April 2017. She is about to graduate from an Intercultural Management Master study, which led her to study in Dijon, France, a city she was already familiar with and in unfamiliar Finland (for one semester). Previously, she studied one year at Durham university (UK) as part of a Bachelor Erasmus Mobility program. She was born in 1994 to Swiss expat couple in France. She grew up in the French countryside, around horses. She’s a self confessed introvert, fascinated by different languages, cultures, science (especially astronomy and biology) and philosophy. She also likes to spend time drawing, painting or in cinemas.