Category Archives: Diversity and Inclusion
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Guest Post by Balakirthika Jayakumar

Switzerland is considered a paradise on earth. Every human aspires to set his/her foot on the land of Switzerland. Why is it that one aspires to visit this place? It is the bounty of nature in this country that attracts people. Also, the high standard and quality of living.

The people of India are fortunate enough to have a glimpse of Switzerland through movies. It is a cliché to have a song shot in this country to add richness to the movie. Either personally or virtually people have ideas about this country that is exuding “excellence” on all levels (including but not limited to chocolate and cookoo clocks).

These days, thanks to social media, we find resources on the net. Your search for any insignificant or significant details and you get them on the Internet. Thanks to the encouragement given by YouTube monetarily and/or intangible recognition that motivates one to share their knowledge and resources. It is up to the person looking out for the information to decide what he/she wants to look at.

I am a fortunate few who did not just read and virtually visit Switzerland but have been blessed to stay in Switzerland that too with a work permit. My husband works for a Switzerland-based company and after years of service in due recognition of his contribution to his company, he was asked to relocate to Switzerland and execute the responsibility globally from the headquarters. My husband is a self-made man with high aspirations felt blessed by the opportunity and with the most difficult dream becoming reality came a series of expectations to make this blessed life more blessed. 

The first thing was to give wonderful education to children. To our surprise, the education consultants in India never suggested Switzerland. They supported Germany, but not Switzerland. With determination, my husband put us all on our toes, and the whole family was geared up to find a way. The process looked tedious as we did apply to colleges, but got rejections from many. We did not know the reason though it was clearly stated. The simple reason was the requirement of Work Experience for entering college.  In India, we would work only after the completion of the first degree. This difference was not obvious to us in the beginning. Now anybody asks us, we would guide them.

One of the challenges to studying here as per our understanding was the high cost of living. The expense of education was affordable as the government supported the funding for all students. It was the living cost that one had to plan and be equipped with to pursue the education.

Another challenge was that for the VISA, the country gets approval from the student that he/she will not demand employment in the country upon completion of studies. A country that readily extended its helping hand to accommodate the student to empower through education unbiased does not assure employment. Unlike the USA, Canada, and the UK, which charge their students a huge amount, but paves way for their employment, here was a country that did not assure the same. Unless the student has the thirst to acquire knowledge and the willpower to sustain the knowledge, he/she would choose the easier destination of the USA and like countries.

If the family relocates to Switzerland these challenges are nullified for the family bears the expenses of stay which is anyhow a necessity. Such was the case for us. The first add-on dream of educating our children abroad got fulfilled. The education system is highly commendable with passionate, unbiased teachers willing to impart knowledge genuinely. 

Here the challenge was the pattern of examination. The examination was based on the understanding of the concepts learned. It was never reproducing the concepts. This was a part of the assessment in the education system studied by our children. Now when the whole assessment module revolved around assessing the understanding, it did look challenging in the beginning, but later children knew that the effort required was more and in a new direction and they accommodated themselves for the new system and started learning and implementing the same.

Life in Switzerland is fantastic if you have all the needed money. One had the potential to earn and equally had to shell money for a living. One cannot just casually lead a life. Things have to be planned. Certain commitments like insurance, tax, travel and accommodation are inevitable. A major portion of the earnings is spent on these inevitable. Like any expat, who relocates to Switzerland, we too have landed upon dreams to earn, spend and save for the future. This is an opportunity to create savings. With one person’s earnings, it is not possible to save as per the expectation.

The standard of living raises, the quality of life exceeds the expectation, and self-development increases. One tends to be more systematic and accountable. The trust one has in others is another marvel. The fitness quotient is another dimension that calls for appreciation and motivates one to be so. The dignity of labor is the culture of Switzerland that every country needs to acquire.  The discipline inculcated into one from childhood requires a standing ovation. The concern for the environment, the patriotism ingrained in each, and the support they extend for local produce is something amazing.

Having seen all these wonderful aspects of this country as an expat wife with years of experience in my home country, I aspired to render my services to this holistic country. I landed in this country with high hopes of fitting into the job market and doing wonders in this already magical country. With almost score years of experience, I was very confident that I will be quickly absorbed into a renowned company and that there will be great learning as well as a contribution from my side. I took a month’s time to settle and with great enthusiasm started applying for the jobs that were suggested by well-known job portals. There was a rejection the first time, then the second, and then the third. And when the 10th consecutive rejection came, I was shattered. 

Every rejection came with a sweet note saying that your experiences are highly appreciable but sorry to share that they do not fit our company requirements. My confidence was reduced and I was literally groping as to what to do next. I had no clue where I went wrong. All these years of experience I had created a mark for myself in my job domain and where did I go wrong? I was not even short-listed. How do I prove myself when not called for personal interaction?

This was when Ms. Sonia Meier, Managing Director / Immigration & Relocation Specialist, BECOMELOCAL GmbH who helped in getting settled in the country shared the details of a series of 3 free workshops to be conducted by Ms. Angie Weinberger, Female Founder, and Managing Director at Global People Transitions Ltd. This was what I was looking for. A helping hand to assist me. It came as a boon. I was a bit apprehensive. With an open mind, I attended the workshop. That was mind-blowing. It was organized so systematically with no strings attached that with no second thought, I enrolled myself in HireMeExpress.  This program was for 12 weeks interspersed with one-on-one sessions with Ms. Weinberger. There were many other people like me who were looking for scaffolding. I deem that we were a blessed lot to be part of the group.

I could understand the system that worked in Switzerland. I knew what I had to work on. Never did Ms. Weinberger judge me. She was and is always there to guide me. She seems to understand what goes on inside of me. She understands my state of mind. I have understood how to proceed and what is that I am looking for. With great confidence and determination, my search is on. I am getting a few leads. It is not easy for a locale here also to switch jobs or get into a new job. The same applies to me. But I have got a path now with the destination. Soon I will be there.

I feel instead of being on a mission not knowing how to proceed when we know that there is someone to lend their helping hands, bringing in the human touch to global mobility not merely by words, but from heart, one has to utilize the service and follow the process religiously to embark on the best for you.

I am getting to know the culture of Switzerland. I value their space. I value their beliefs a lot more now. With conviction, I am all set to become the Digital Learning Specialist who would create a mark for herself in the industry as a trainer touching the lives of many. I started working as a Freelance Editor, pulled together several anthologies, and organized a club of writers and my days are busier than ever. While I still look for a full-time job, I cannot stress enough the importance of freelancing to expand my skills and enhance my personal brand and portfolio. I am on my path and look forward to meeting you anywhere in Winterthur, Zurich or Delhi.

If you want to contact me please reach out via LinkedIn or contact me through angela@globalpeopletransitions.com. 

Sign saying "Kiosk" - the best kiosk in town, best is replaced by "most expensive", many colors.

Here’s the thing with social media. Everyone keeps telling you that you must be on social media to develop your brand, but what nobody is telling you when you are a newbie is how much work it actually takes to develop a personal brand on social media. I’m not talking about being featured on posts that your employer (and their big marketing team and budget) developed to attract more clients. I’m talking about you and me as human beings. We thought about your struggle and came up with the Social Media Newbie Series for Global Nomads to help you understand LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, but we got stuck in the detail ourselves and I realized from the questions you are asking that you might still wonder: 

What for? 

Is it worth my time and money? 

So, I thought that today we should take a step back and revisit why it is worth having a digital media presence and share with you my top seven killer tips for job seekers and solopreneurs (and those of you who share my vision of becoming digital global nomads).

As a Career Coach, I have encountered job seekers and freelancers, who still believe that they can thrive in today’s world without a digital presence. In short, they refuse social and professional networking as they feel they will be stalked or annoyed by others. I started with online networking on XING in 2004. Before that “networking” for me meant only person-to-person (or IRL – in real life if you are my age and don’t know what IRL means). 

I would regularly have lunch with different internal and external colleagues to find out about what is going on in their line of work. In the early Millenium, the lunch date roster was your “dance card” and showed how popular you were.

It was almost embarrassing to lunch alone and if you were booked for several weeks this meant you had made it. It was part of the culture of that organization, but networking helped me to understand background stories, to build trust, and get support on a variety of topics. I still prefer lunch dates over any type of online interaction, but as a creator, I have more influence and a bigger circle to reach out to if I leverage my online network too.

Remember that in Germany, Switzerland, and other “Coconut” cultures we tend to be very task-focused and have to invest in building relationships. (Yes, it takes us a lot of energy to get out of that Coconut-Face.)

If I look back, I also pulled my team members, trainers, providers, and friends from my network. The network expanded to external contacts and it got harder to maintain when I left Frankfurt for Zurich, but I started to build a new network, which helped me to build and maintain a start-up in a rather difficult economic environment. If I was looking for a full-time role now, I would certainly try and source it through my network. If I am looking to hire an intern, designer, or specialist I am going to rely on my network. We are teaching the idea of leveraging your network to find a job in Switzerland rather than only applying online in our HireMeExpress program.

I know that you might be afraid to put yourself out there and have people laughing at you or trolling you or giving you negative feedback and comments. How do you even deal with that when you are already fragile and full of self-doubt on a daily basis?

Would it help you if I told you that I still go through the same fear and anxiety? Would it help you if I said: Yes, there are weird people on the Internet and many of them just want your money…but what if 10% of those following you, reading you, hearing you need to hear exactly what you have to say? What if there is one person out there who like me lost half of their family in a tragic accident and thought they would never, ever recover from that? What if one woman that you speak to just lost her child or her husband and needs to hear that it will be okay and that you are there for her? What if there is one person listening to you who is about to commit suicide because they are so desperate and you tell them that they are loved and they hear that and they reconsider.

What if what you have to say is important for one person only?

Don’t you think it’s worth it?

Don’t you think it is worth half an hour of your time?

Remember that you are loved, you are safe, and you are among friends here. 

1) Focus on Your Followers

In all likelihood, you will meet most of your followers on LinkedIn if you are in a professional field like banking, accounting, or human resources. If you are a creative writer, you might want to focus on Twitter because this is where readers will gather their information. On the other hand, if you provide makeup tips in short videos you should focus on Instagram or Youtube. Try not to overwhelm yourself by joining all platforms at once. 

2) Develop A Digital Home

In times of social media, it is hard to understand why you need to have your digital home. Imagine it this way: When you are on Twitter it is like you are attending a huge networking event where you exchange information with colleagues and potential clients. If you want them to look at the information (“content”) that you produce you have to invite them to your “home”. And when you host a party at your place you have to give people directions on how to find you and a good reason to party with you. When you go to a party you don’t expect to be asked to buy something or pay for your beer, right? So, when you start out you would probably provide some of your content for free until you have a followership. Then you can move to a membership model. A membership model guru is Stu McLaren.

3) Build Trust First

The Internet is full of offers and scams. Before anyone wants to give you their email ID and bank details you will need to have their trust. You can develop trust by being a helpful source of information and by solving people’s problems. You can also build trust by being personable and by avoiding any sales touch in your content and copywriting. You can provide helpful advice and invite people to join your party, but you need to remember that building trust online is step-by-step process that takes mastery. You can follow Amy Porterfield and Ash Ambirge for further advice.

4) Reduce Self-Promotion

Instead of promoting yourself, you should promote other people’s work. If you help others you will not come across as a big-headed egomaniac, but as someone who cares about people. There is a point where you can also show your own work, but it needs to be in the context of solving a problem for your followers. For example, they might need a checklist or a how-to guide that you can provide when you often hear them ask you the same questions. I read that there is an 80/20-rule where 80% of the posts should be valuable content, and 20% you should promote your brand. So, in the case of your personal brand, you should talk about your work, what you have achieved, and other stuff related to your greatness for max. 20% of your posts.

5) Curate Content

A retweet does not always mean that you endorse the opinion of the tweeter, but at least you can verify that the information is genuine and up-to-date and that links are actually working. If you are like me, you probably don’t read everything you would like to read, but you know where to find trusted sources and where to be skeptical.

6) Encourage Others to Have a Voice

I know many people who suffer from “imposter syndrome” and who are modest. It helps once in a while when you tell others that their work is helpful and that you are actually reading their updates or their input. Instead of expecting others to support you, you can do a lot more to support others. Be a giver on social media. Learn why this is important by reading and following Adam M. Grant.

7) Charge Your Purpose Batteries

A Digital Presence is great. If people deal with you in real life or on a call, they should be positively surprised by your genuine interest in them. One of the reasons for the lack of trust nowadays is that everyone is putting their own interest in front. Many people have a hard time accepting support because they are not used to free help. They are used to being cheated and pulled over the table and you want to stand out. Charge your purpose batteries and get very clear on your purpose, and one-sentence mission, and become a real giver.

Kind regards

Angie Weinberger

PS: If this intrigues you and you would like to know more about it, please join our free workshop series in April 2023:

Workshop No. 1:  Partnering Masters – Building Effective Relationships

Workshop No. 2: Powerful Missions – Having a Voice in a Sea of Noise

Workshop No. 3: Persisting Mindsets – Designing Work to Support a Global Lifestyle
All dates and updates will be shared if you sign up on our HireMeExpress list. #HireMeExpress

Culture Show

In the interview below we cover four key tips for your repatriation or your next transition.

1 – Repatriating Your Role – You own your career and your brand

  • Maintain a Repatriation Plan with your Employer
  • Regular “home leave” where you network with your previous colleagues and meet your sponsor and other important influencers, and key decision-makers.
  • Think about alternative roles you could do with your expat experience, start your own business
  • Update your CV and LinkedIn profile and add your transferable skills

2- Expect Re-Entry Shock – It’s not all milk and chocolate

  • Reading the news and keeping up with the latest trends in the country before you repatriate
  • Keep relationships up and return “home” regularly.
  • Psychological contract: Consider what you expect and write it down as it might need alignment with your employer, your partner, and your family

3 – Plan the Logistics – The devil’s in the detail, consult the Professionals

  • Negotiate a repatriation budget and clause in your assignment contract.
  • Check all immigration requirements for your kids, and partners with different nationalities (Example: Language requirements)Optimize Taxes – Talk to Your Tax Expert when to go

4 – Optimizing Taxes – Talk to Your Tax Expert about when to go

  • Go through all the tax and financial aspects of your repatriation carefully with an expert, especially when you are planning to retire early or when you expect a severance package.

CONTACT Angie Weinberger via LinkedIn, Email angela@globalpeopletransitions.com for participating in a free workshop series that will help you build your personal brand and sign up here.

A New Year with a New Way of Starting it.

Have you returned from your Christmas holiday full of new spirit and New Year’s resolutions and do you already feel a shift in energy as days are getting a bit longer and there is more sunlight. My plants outside thought it was spring already and I did not dare to tell them yet that winter is coming back. I remember the slight optimism of last January when I was hoping for a “back to normal” and only six weeks later the world was in turmoil again. 

This year I made a change and started the New Year in South India at 30 degrees Celsius and with an amazing vacation that feels like a trip to paradise. And while it’s cold and snowing now in Switzerland the warmth and happiness I took with me lightened up my heart for most of the last two weeks. I hope you understand that I also have moments of self-doubt and fear and that I’m not always the calm and relaxed coach that you might know. I can also get stressed and deal with similar issues you might experience. This year though I have not (yet) felt the “post-holiday” blues. I even feel elated as I write this, in a rather festive spirit as I complete the second work week of this new year.

My desire and ambition is to be fresh, energetic, focused and emotionally stable. I want to create and find the atmosphere for creativity whether I’m in an office or in a fancy hotel room. I want to be up for networking with prospects and clients all the time. I want to get up in the morning with a big smile and fulfill my purpose whether we have a pandemic, a war, or a snowstorm. And this is why I’m practicing how to manage my energy better constantly. And in India I was even more motivated to learn more about meditating and yoga.

The Magic of Rituals 

6 January marks the last day of the holiday season in Germany and Switzerland. In some parts of Europe, it is the most important day of the holiday season. For us, it means that the next day we really need to throw out the Christmas tree and all the decorations. It’s a nice ritual and the cleaning-up exercise means that I can get back into full steam. As often rituals help me with transitions and change I thought I’d share mine to get back into my creative mode again. I also think someone needs to tell my neighbor that it is definitely high time to take down the Christmas decorations especially as we are approaching New Year this weekend (again). I asked my colleagues in Singapore if it was okay to wish them Happy New Year (ahead of time) as in the German culture wishing ahead is often considered bad luck but they loved it. So from one Happy New Year to another Happy New Year I believe we should all take vacation, work-from-anywhere and really re-energize before getting back into the hustle and bustle of our self-imposed modern lifestyles. Yesterday, I even managed to close the books for 2023 and discard old case files. 

1 – Decoration Boxing

Allow yourself one last look at your Christmas cards and decorations. Then box all of them into the Christmas box where you keep them until after Thanksgiving or the first advent weekend. Say goodbye to Christmas movies too..

2 – Calendar Planning

Get an annual calendar for your wall and mark all the important dates such as holidays, vacation or downtime, birthdays, weddings, launch dates, workshop days, lectures and other important events that you already committed to. Plan one long weekend every month for either self-care, your partnership or a strategic offsite. Book all your travel ahead with enough cancellation options and dive into the feeling of pre-travel excitement way before it is happening. Did you book your summer holiday yet?

3 – Routine Prepping

Prepare everything that you usually need to have ready to get into your weekly routines such as lunches, dinners, grocery shopping, and other regular Sunday activities to start into a good week ahead. Get your hair, nails, shoes, suits back in work look. (I know those bra’s are starting to feel uncomfortable.).

4 – Workspace Enhancing

Clean your workspace at home and consider at least one enhancement such as upgrading your software, buying colorful pens, post-it notes or a new journal. Buy a few colorful physical folders for your creative ideas and pimp up your filing system. Get yourself an orchid or a beautiful flower that you can add to your “home office.”. 

5 – Purpose Reminiscing

Remember why you are where you are today in your professional life and as an entrepreneur, digital nomad or expat and connect with your mission statement. Read it out to yourself. Does it still fit? Check your resume and other brand messages. Is there anything you feel needs an upgrade? Visualize your life in 2023, add photos to your vision board and pick your word for 2023 if you haven’t done so yet.

I wish you all a wonderful start in the New Year.

Angie

PS: If you haven’t received a Global People Club Sandwich from us yet this year please make sure that you subscribe as we will continue to deliver these blog posts to your inbox.

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/become-a-reader-of-the-global-people-club-sandwich/