Tag Archives: Career

Have you been in Switzerland for more than a year and not found a job yet?

We now offer a group coaching for the HireMe! Program.

Based on your individual targets you will have a chance to
– improve your online presence on LinkedIn
– accelerate your networking efforts and learn professional blind-dating
– prepare for interviews through business storytelling
– deepen your understanding of your personal values and how they relate to target companies
– learn to set yourself weekly targets, build a structure for your job search and pace your efforts in a healthy manner
– pitch in elevators and increase your presence.

What other clients have said is that they
– are better prepared for tackling the job market,
– are more self-confident
– finally got why networking is the key success factor
– felt empowered
– had fun when working with me.

I am not guaranteeing that you will find a job but I promise that you will benefit from this program. You have no reason to trust me so you might want to speak confidentially to one of my former clients. I am happy to share your contact details.

As always our terms and conditions apply. If you read them you will see that GPT offers a money-back guarantee. So far, we never had complaints but it might be helpful for you to know.

Logistics:

  • You kick off your career coaching with a 1:1 goal setting session with Angie Weinberger.
  • Meetings will be held five times and last for two hours.
  • Bonus: Participants get a free .pdf copy of “The Global Career Workbook”.
  • Participants: Four (exactly).
  • Prerequisites: German course started.
  • Valid residence permit in Switzerland.

Language:

English, but we have an interest in a German-speaking group. Please let me know which one would be more interesting for you. We can switch interview practice into German as well.

French-speakers please contact me for 1:1 sessions.

Fee:

The fee is CHF 800 + VAT.

Deadline:

Groups will start in the week of 23 May 2016.

Deadline for submission of required documents and payment of invoice is 15 May 2016. Schedule your first session with Angie Weinberger now to discuss your individual targets.

Resources:

The Global Career Workbook will be used as a guide through the program. We recommend further career books within the book.

 

On a “normal” work day I plan an appointment for relationship building and I prefer to do this in person. I have become so accustomed to have instant access to a map and train time table that usually I don’t check where I am going until I sit in the train. Switzerland has perfected the train system. They are usually very reliable and on time. People get irritated here when the train is 5 minutes late. (Ha!)
Yesterday was different though. I had planned to go for a walk but it turned into a mini-walk to the recycling bin. In the afternoon I headed to my appointment. All seemed on time. In the train I found a connection and not for the first time the connection did not take me where I wanted to go but somewhere in the realm of the area. I got off, wished I had time to stroll in the mountains and snow-covered woods but I was running late already. According to my phone I should reach in 22 minutes. Then my batteries died. I hardly remembered the address. I was annoyed, ready to turn around, sick of these endless times where I felt I was going the extra mile even for a volunteering job. I found a bakery on the way, asked for directions. They had no clue. Then I found the street, but not the house. Because I checked all but one.
Strange how we humans can err. Finally (now about 25 minutes late) a young man offered to check the website of the organization I was looking for and yes, I was next door to it. I killed my anger and laughed. There was a lesson to be learnt here. For a long time I did not seek help from so many people. I found it strange that I asked people for the way and I must have come across a lot more desperate than necessary. The meeting was inspiring and I went back with a sense of doing the right thing, with a sense of having met two ladies who are aligned with my values and with whom it will be inspirational to work.
Then on my way back I noticed that I was in an area of the city that I hardly knew. I liked it and it seemed like a place I would feel at home in. It made me think that Zurich is so diverse but if you stay in the expat bubble you could easily forget there is a less affluent part of town which also reminds me more of the area I lived in when I was in Frankfurt. I know…it is not always about outer change…but sometimes your inner change has caught up and your lifestyle might not seem to fit with your values anymore.
I want to downgrade, I want to live without a car, I want to adhere to the Swiss value of modesty. I realize that I have a choice. On my way back I got delayed again because of an accident. Poor soul, a person probably died. I only saw the last cleaning up work but the fact that the road had been blocked for several hours indicated tragedy. Again, I walked for 15 minutes. I noticed in the session afterwards that even though I was a bit flustered my brain was stimulated and energy level higher. I’ve had this weird feeling since the year started that I was not working hard enough but looking at new social entrepreneurs I learnt that I probably just entered a new phase in the start-up cycle.
It is now time to pivot, adapt and optimize. We aren’t going uphill any longer it is a leisurely stroll on the mountain range, the sun shines, snow covers the view and once in a while there will be storm. It is time to let go of the old dusted image, the status symbols of a management career and embrace a simple yet heart-filled and wonderful life. I am filled with gratitude.

“Reinvent yourself!” is an advice expat spouses are often told when they cannot find a job in Switzerland. You are a typical Gen X professional in New York, London, Frankfurt or Mumbai and in your 30ies or 40ies. You have a career image stamped on yourself.

At parties you say “I’m a Senior Consultant / Director / Lawyer / Doctor / Scientist” and with that you talk about the pleasure of long-distance travel in times of terrorism or you mention that your partner is away too often and that the kids know the nanny better than their parents.

Your professional reputation has fueled your ego and you did everything to improve it. You attended courses, webinars, conferences, networking events and you read everything you could about the topic on your commute to work. Not to mention that you had a routine of ensuring that your social media profiles reflected your success only and  you ensured your name was published at least once a year.

Then out of the blue (or even because of following a long-term idea), your spouse gets a job offer in Basel, Switzerland or your job is outsourced to Pune, India. After the initial excitement or shock, you start to consider what a career change means for you right now. You might even consult blogs and books on the matter. From one day to the next, you worry about your branding as a professional. And you might even notice that you don’t really know what you want.

It is not so easy to find out what you want so I recommend you work with a career coach to develop a vision of your next role and probably a long-term career vision too. What I personally found even harder though is to let go of my old career image. I had acquired a status in HR and in my new roles I felt like a beginner again. In our cultural context here in Switzerland we say “Schuster bleib bei Deinen Leisten!” (Cobblerstick to your last!). We are discouraged from changing our chosen career path.

Break in Your new Career Image

We know well that a shoe we have worn for a while is comfortable. A new shoe often feels too tight or too big for us to fill. If you imagine now you have to get out of your patent leather shoe and into a hiking boot that is comparable to the change you are going through.

You need to break your career boot in. You might know already consciously that the hiking boot is more practical, fits better to your personality and has more value on icy mountain grounds but you still feel the burden of a heavier shoe.

 

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Let go of your old career image in seven steps

You need to throw your old patent leather shoe into the mental “Altkleidercontainer” (the recycling bank for old clothes and shoes). Here are seven ideas how you can do that.

  1. Write down all the advantages of the hiking boot. Think of every aspect of your new career and how it will look and feel. Run a meticulous research. Interview industry experts and speak to friends who work in this area.
  2. Work in your hiking boot, at least, one of two days a week by volunteering or finding a cause in this profession worth supporting. Get a consulting project before you commit full-time.
  3. Pretend you are already experienced in walking with the hiking boot, attend seminars and networking events wearing a batch with your new role on it and have business cards printed.
  4. Update all your biographies, social media profiles, and websites and show that you are wearing the boot already. Mention your new role and functional title. Be the career you want to be.
  5. Leave post-its in your office, in the bathroom and at home with a visual anchor. For example, if you want to become a scientist working in the pharma industry you could jot down a logo of a company that you find attractive or a picture of you with security glasses.
  6. Develop a space that signifies “productive work” in your new career for you. It could be an office or an area on your kitchen table. Make sure that this area is reserved for work in your new career only.
  7. Write down the story of your ideal client, someone who will depend on the results or fruits of your new labor. Who is that person, what is important to that person and how does this person live?

These are seven ideas how can let go of your old career image. Do let us know in the comments how you are handling it.

Do you know Darth Vader, the dark force of many of the Star Wars movies? Did you know that we all have a bit of Darth Vader in us? We are driven by our fears. The Star Wars movies are full of allusions to deep psychology and how our attachments and fears form our behaviors and life. With this post I would like to give you an understanding of how we are influenced by our fears and how you can change to become a Jedi. (Alternatively, you can watch Master Yoda.)

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Fritz Riemann, a deep psychologist established a theory based on four basic forms of fear (“Grundformen der Angst”). The four basic forms of angst are formed in our early childhood and determine to a large extent how we behave as grown ups. In the extreme form these fears turn into psychological illnesses.

His “Sith” were the schizoid, depressed, obsessive and hysterical people. You have to be aware that even though these terms have found their way into our everyday language the clinical or chronic version of these illnesses is serious and needs treatment through therapy. I am talking to you as a healthy individual with occasional anxiety.

 

Carl Gustav Jung, another deep psychologist discovered the “shadow”. Jung assumed that all of our relationships with other people are based on unconscious projections of our own wishes and expectations into their behavior. According to Jung the shadow is the part of us that we have driven into the unconscious as it was unwanted (for example unwanted behavior as a child) as opposed to our “Persona” which was the desired (performing) part of us. Did you ever notice that you don’t like a trait in another person and later someone told you that you have this trait too?

 

To speak in Star Wars terminology: You might have a bit of Darth Vader in you even though you might be a Jedi most of the time.

Like Darth Vader we were not always “bad like that”. Some of us had negative experiences. Other lost trust in the world because of a traumatic experience. Our education system did not help either. We were ruled by authority and we had to perform. If you did not have your homework back in the 70ies and 80ies you were punished. No one told us that we are great because we are creative or even because we are who we are. We were taught to perform for making it in life. My parents had a different approach but they also were young and idealistic and sometimes forgot their own children over the ones they took care of.

 

Today when you watch TV or check an ad statement you will see that what is often shown to us is a world full of existential angst OR gold-coated myth of “happy family life”. We are torn between a world to be afraid in and in world were everyone is on happy pills all the time. None of it is real. Imagine, a world where the dark forces rule and were the Sith have won. Everywhere.

 

But what if for a moment you thought that you could become a Jedi? What if you decided that you did not want to be ruled by anxieties. What if you wanted to be the light and show others to stay “good” or to stay on their mission? What if you could be Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia Organa?

 

You see that the Jedis confront their fear all the time. They deal with it. They do what they are afraid to do and they fight evil step-by-step. They don’t stop only to collect force.

 

Real change happens only through action. You need to start by confronting what you are afraid off. Then work on it. Cherish the people who criticize you but don’t let their criticism stop you from what you think it right. Stay on your path. One day you will look back and only see Jedis around you.


Writing for starters
Picture Credit: Pascal Willen

Sitting in front of a white paper to write a blog post can be a daunting experience. It happened to me several times this year. I wanted to write but did not have a topic or did not find my way in. Blogging used to be diary style so there were no rules initially. With the digitalization of our lives, the style of blogging changed. Today whatever you want to say you need to say it in a tweet or a video.

I wanted to be a writer as a child

Some members of my family laughed about this. My German teacher R. M., the best teacher in our school also encouraged my creative process. My dad supported and encouraged me to continue to write poetry and short stories. Two of my short stories were published in children’s compilations. I never won a price but hey, my name was out there in print. Dad and I went on a holiday to Italy and both sat on the beach writing or reading for a week. It was heaven.

The same year my father and sister died in a car accident. With them, I buried most of my hopes at becoming a writer. For a long time after this traumatic experience, I was in “survival mode”. I never thought I would write again. At the time, I only read how hard it was to become a journalist or start a career that involved writing.

Like many people with many talents, I studied International Business Studies at the University of Paderborn (Germany). In 1992 this was innovative. The course contained a major in English and French (or Spanish) language and cultural studies. We were only the elitist second year (with around 70 students) and you needed to have a high GPA to get in. While I had no clue where exactly Paderborn was when I enrolled, I learned that I was lucky that I studied at a university with a well-known IT research department and a well-known professor in international human resources. (Sometimes dots do connect Mr. Jobs).

Call it fate, but at the age of 23, I was the guinea pig and went to study with an inspirational professor at the University of Tasmania (Australia). Thank you to Dr. Peter Dowling and Dr. Sarah Knowles. Through Peter, I was able to write a thesis which inspired the idea to build my company Global People Transitions GmbH. I drove back from Hobart (Tasmania, Australia) in a blue 1972 VW-Beetle after having conducted interviews with civil engineers. These civil engineers had been sent abroad without proper training and without the right framework (financial, social security, tax, immigration…there were all sorts of issues). I did not feel ready to start out on my own, so I went into the corporate HR world.

When you are a writer you need to face a white piece of paper every day.
When you are a writer you need to face a white piece of paper every day.

Within my career in corporate HR, I started to write again. First, it was a training manual one of my colleagues introduced me too. I wrote blog posts. I wrote down stories of international assignees and their intercultural experiences. I wrote for HR magazines for free. One New Year’s day I explored and developed a mini-poetry blog on Blogger. Then I practiced writing by writing a short story. Through a friend I met at The Powerhouse Zurich I was introduced to a whole new world, started to join writer’s workshop Zurich and did an online course with Ash Ambirge on copywriting.

Still I was not able to say “I am a writer…” without blushing or without playing it down.

After reading a book by Jeff Goins called “You are a writer: So start acting like one” I learned that I need to actually write every day. I wish I would. At least, I managed to self-publish two books already. These days I am working on “The Global Career Workbook”. I love the work again. I want to improve and feel ready to take in more.

I have a tendency to overwhelm myself with trying to achieve too many projects at once. So in the middle of working on my newest book I ran out of money last year. I had to ask providers to stop working for me until I had more funds…and then I shelved (or “drawered”) the draft. My editor moved into another role and I did not feel the pressure to finish. I got a rather negative feedback, wrote a post about it and got busy with other work. Between January and July 2015 I hardly wrote. I procrastinated, found excuses, got afraid and I guess that is when I started to glare at white paper. I often closed my typewriter. (I don’t work with a typewriter, but I call my MacBook air “Schreibmaschine”).

As a writer, you can easily get distracted and I knew that I made a mistake when my coach Dr. Eva Kinast called me out on it. She said, “I think the writer in you is neglected.” I knew she was right because in my vision of what I wanted to do at 65 it was a writer. I want to write and publish novels, I want to read books like the maniac reader I was as a child. I want to critique books and write for magazines. I would love to write screenplays and I want to use my creative brain in the best manner possible.

But often we do not do what we want…but everything else.

When I listen to other writers I understand that I am not that crazy. That they also have self-doubt, writer’s anxieties and block. I feel encouraged when I hear how long it took them to succeed. And all the time I tell myself: “But you are not an English native speaker. You will never be as good as they are.” (It’s true.)

When I wrote this I realized that I had English as a major in university. Even though I am not a native speaker I write at a fairly high level. There are editors out there who can correct errors. The world is full of collaborators. Why am I still staring at a blank page?

It’s the worry monster again. The fear of failure. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of being called out.

And while I am typing this I know that I have never been as ready as today to tell you.

I am a writer!

There is a fantastic personality test on this blog. Find out if you are meant to be a writer too and if yes, let me know if you need any resources.