Monthly Archives: April 2014

Inspired by @emilybennington and Debra Hickok Mindful Eating and Drinking

First of all I want to thank Emily Bennington as I recently participated in her “Ready to Lead” course. The last session of the course was about “Mindful Eating”. I was looking forward to this session as Emily told our women’s network in September that she used to have an eating disorder, which is hard to believe when you see Emily now.

As part of our programmes I promote to work with your body experience. Mindful eating could be a way of improving your body experience. I mentioned in earlier blog post that a lot of expats put on weight when they move from one country to another. It happened to me EVERY single time. You might be lucky if you do not have this issue.

Here are seven ideas of how you can treat your body better through mindful eating and drinking

1)   Treat your body like your best friend. Serve food (and drink) you would serve your best friend.

2)   When you feel the need to eat sit down, pause and try to find out what you actually need. Is it physical hunger or emotional hunger?

3)   Use fresh ingredients and cook a meal.

4)   Eat in a disturbance-free environment. Focus on the food. Ritualize dinners.

5)   Re-think your shopping. What type of food (and drink) would you like to have in your home?

6)   Get rid of your scale to learn to listen more to what your body is telling you.

7)   Reduce refined sugar, ready-made sauces and processed food.


Please feel free to discuss this topic with me. On a side note: I have tried out a few really cool veggie soups recently and am happy to share the recipes.





More information and “Ready to Lead” course here:



There has been a commotion when the Swiss public decided that they would like to “re-negotiate the bilateral EU-contract”.  We have received a lot of bad press for that decision and as you probably know I am not in favor of this popular vote. We have to remind ourselves that the globalization is not reversible. It is a reality. We have to learn to live in it and navigate through the challenges.

Even if in a Marketing effort we claim the “Swiss-ness” of products and even if our tourism relies on a few stereotypes about the Swiss this is not necessarily true for the rest of the economy. In my view we should rely on the Swiss virtues such as reliability, stability and long-term relationships to work our way through this market.

It also is becoming more and more important that you develop your global competency if you want to work in this market or in an international firm. No matter in which line of work you are you will be confronted with intercultural differences be it in hospitals, international firms or in traditional small and medium-sized companies.

Playing on the “Swiss-ness” factor might be helpful but we have to be careful that we do not scare foreigners and foreign investors off. On a day like today where on my commute I meet businessmen from across the globe on their way to the Basel watch and jewellery fair, I am aware that we are on the right track. Let’s not destroy it by being narrow-minded and driven by the fear factor. Switzerland is #1 in so many ways (productivity, quality of life, work opportunities). Let’s try to keep it this way.




I have not written a single word this week. It’s not because I have writer’s block or something like that. It is because I have been too busy with other work. I notice that once you break a routine (be it sports or writing) it is hard to get back in. I notice that since I started to write 500 words daily in January this really made me progress on two book projects and I chucked out a lot of blog posts or handouts for my clients suddenly. I learnt to type without looking at the keyboard (like a secretary whooohooo).

Now I am confronted with a creative digestion problem. I assume this happens to the best writers. You feel you have said everything there is to say about all your topics and you won’t come up with new ideas anymore.

As a global career and executive coach I repeat content in about 15 sessions per week. Obviously it is similar content but in different times and with different pace.

When I work with clients on their global careers I notice that every client is different. What resonates with one might bore the other.  The way I present an input on a flipchart or paper can be different but the more I practice, the better I get at explaining the topic in a language my client understands. I find the right visuals and I use language that connects her or him with the topic. Even if it might be a dry topic such as “how to write a cover letter in a way that recruiters actually want to meet you…”.

Maybe this is the same process a writer has to go through. You might feel like you are repeating your message over and over again but the way you speak to your readers can be different. The way you speak to your reader on Twitter might be short and crisp and a bit naughty. When you write for a professional magazine you will write a bit more academic or from a more factual perspective.

I get really frustrated with editors who believe they have invented writing style because as far as I can tell the Internet has no rules. Grammar ok, but dialect and street language are used, English is written in a shortened way, abbreviations such as OMG have made it to the real language.

Forget the rules!

Write in a way that works for you. Your readers will love you anyway.

Who remembers “Sleepless in Seattle?”

Well, if you do remember when it came out in the movie theatre you probably have the same age as me. So what does that mean? It’s hard to find a new job. Anywhere. But if you are new in Switzerland and you do not speak one of the four national languages you are probably on the verge of a nervous breakdown right now. (Another awesome movie btw).


Jobless or at the brink of a nervous breakdown?
Jobless or at the brink of a nervous breakdown?

You have just unpacked your boxes, fixed the electricity in your apartment, got the stove running, know where to buy high-priced groceries at Migros or Coop and are ready to go on the job hunt. Computer in place, Google opened, found and (zack) you send out the first five applications before you start discovering Basel, Zurich or Geneva for the weekend.


Worst case: Less than 24 hours later you find a rejection (Email template along the lines of “we have received your documents but we have other candidates matching the profile better”).


Better case: After an instant “we got your documents please be patient” but then you don’t hear anything for two weeks…or three…or four. You call them nervously after three days. The reaction on the other end is less than friendly. “We will get back to you.” Then you get the rejection. Your application might have gone lost or it might have ended up in a pile of candidates the company kept as “back-up solutions”. But calling them and pestering them after less than three weeks they did not like.


Best case: After about three weeks a nice HR person calls you and invites you for an interview which will happen within a time frame of another three weeks.


You stomp your feet, you bite in your desk and you complain to your partner every night.


So you contact headhunters and recruiting companies and hope they will place you but the sheer amount of them overwhelmes you . You tell your story for the seventh time and all you get is a “There are tons of applicants with your profile in the market: I advise you learn German / French first. Then your chances will be higher to land a job.”


Yes, Switzerland has an official unemployment rate below 4% (3.5%) but all the EU job searchers, expat spouses, self-employed, freelancers and Swiss parents with children do not necessarily appear in this statistic. You need to receive unemployment benefit to be counted as “unemployed”.

Let me share the current three filters in the recruiting process

Filter#1: Global companies have split up Human Resources in factory-like process items.  Filter #1 is a computer that looks for key words. This computer does not care about your feelings.

Filter #2 is a very junior HR coordinator somewhere in Bratislava, Pune, Manila or Costa Rica. Outsourcing and offshoring has led to the creation of shared service centres in most global companies. (These are usually the companies you target first.)

Then the last filter #3 is an HR Recruiter who sometimes is also an outsourced service provider sitting in any location in the world responsible for one silo (line of service) of the organisation. The HR Recruiter often works on a mandate basis but does not necessarily know the hiring manager well nor does he or she know the people in the team.

The hiring manager has certain ideas about the “ideal” candidate and often looks for a more junior version of her self or him self. Hiring managers tend to forget that they are unique so that it will be hard to find the “ideal” match. Many candidates therefore do not even get to the hiring manager as the filter #3 HR recruiter does not want to be seen as not being able to select the right candidates not to come up with the right shortlist.

The process breaks down and everyone is frustrated!

The hiring manager starts talking to her or his colleagues about how “HR is wasting time” and colleagues start talking about the vacancies to the team members. They speak to their friends on Facebook and LinkedIn and suddenly by miracle a good candidate appears through the network. The referrer gets a referral fee and the desperate hiring manager is happy to lower the standards he or she earlier had as the position has now been vacant for a few months.

This is not the “War for talents”. It’s just bad recruiting.

We need to improve recruiting again and come up with better standards.

1)   In my opinion recruiting needs to change, processes need to be reviewed in global companies.

2)   Hiring managers need to open up to a wider range of candidates.

3)   Candidates need to expand their network and use various channels to land a good job.

4)   Cooperation and performance is not predictable in a recruiting process. Even though we have two or three step modular processes with tests, case studies and competency-based questioning we can still hire the wrong person.

5)   Headhunters and recruiting firms need to be more open to candidates and support them better through the process.


What is your experience in the Swiss market?

Share and retweet if you want recruiting to improve.