Category Archives: Global Mobility

Switzerland, Austria and Germany have changed since the 19th century started.  Not only through the Second World War. Globalization changed our way of working. When my generation went to university we wanted to be “international” but I feel that nowadays this isn’t cool anymore.

Regional identity is trendy. You can see this in political movements from Scotland to Barcelona. You see it in the written expression of dialect versus formal “high“ languages in Spain, the UK, Switzerland and Germany.

I am amused that youth enjoys “Volksmusik” (traditional music) more than rock’n’roll and that the “dirndl” had a revival over the last five years. Even I got one and while it’s ok to be conservative our inner “Heidi” needs to grow up.

Chalet in Austria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reality is diverse and full of color!

Global companies deal with diversity of their clients and staff. Many diversity and inclusion initiatives are run under affirmative action legislation. In the European Union we discuss quotas for women in leadership roles. We want to avoid gender and cultural bias. We talk about age diversity and feel it’s a solution to the war for talents and lack of skilled labor if we ask our senior worker to stay a few years as consultants after their retirement.

When will we discuss diversity of cultural backgrounds and mention religious diversity in a positive sense? 

In Europe we fought for religious freedom since the enlightenment. So why should we think that religious freedom can only be given to us?

We all believe in Equality, Freedom and Brotherhood. Freedom means that you can chose your religion freely and that you can chose not to believe in anything as well.

We have to develop our collective intercultural sensitivity. We have to drop our assumption that our way to live, work and act is the only correct way in the world.

Intercultural researcher Milton Bennett calls this assumption “ethnocentric”. It comes in a development stage of denial, polarization or minimization. If you take a look at the Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity by Milton Bennet you will probably notice that our current public discussion and our media are driven by the denial and polarization stage of intercultural sensitivity. The worldview of “Them” versus “Us” is enforced daily. To me this is propaganda and not very advanced.

Have we not learnt from the past I sometimes ask myself? Do we not understand that the refugees in Europe flee the same terror that we despise? How can we dare to even talk of refugees and terror in the same context?

Watch the media closely. They should know better and be more differentiated. Why would you speak of the percentage of Muslims living in a country as an indicator for the risk of terrorism? That would be like saying: “In Italy we have a high percentage of Catholics. That’s why we believe there is a higher risk for rape of our youth.”

You deduct a behavior from a very small percentage of criminals to the majority with only one common denominator called religion. Have we not learnt statistics? Have we not learnt to be differentiated in our world views?

I think we have to be very careful in our judgements. I condemn terrorism and rape too but I do not relate it to religious or cultural background. 

You might be afraid of what you don’t know and don’t understand. Your parents might have taught you not to talk to strangers and to lock the door. So yes, the first time you see someone who looks different you might be surprised, maybe even a little shocked. Once you get to know the person though did you not notice that they deserve your respect and trust?

With refugees at your doorstep it would be so easy to overcome your fear. Take a first step. Speak to a refugee. Or just speak to a person you don’t know who looks different. Smile at a “foreigner”. Be kind to a person who looks sad.

Open your mind to the endless possibilities of human interaction. Open your heart. Open your home.

We are more sensitive to security issues after terrorist attacks such as the Paris attacks of 13 NOV 2015 or after a natural disaster. You can take limited precautions as emergencies come without being planned or expected. That’s why they are called emergencies.

You can take certain actions and these will be helpful in an emergency situation be it a health issue, the death of one of your close relatives, a natural disaster or a terror attack.

Here are my tips on security measures for international business travellers and expats.

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  • Only travel when it is a necessity. Check if meetings can be held via videoconferencing technology instead.
  • Update your personal information on Social Media.
  • Log in and register on the website of the security provider your company works with. If you don’t know the security provider ask your travel manager, HR manager and Global Mobility Team. If none of them knows, ask Risk Management or Corporate Security. This information should be published on your company intranet site. Many companies work with International SOS ISOS and my experience with their support for expats is excellent.
  • Have a business card size overview of emergency numbers in your wallet AND your phone. Carry this card with you at all times. Have your passport, ID, work and residence permit on you.
  • Carry a card with your blood type and allergies or other medical conditions in your wallet.
  • Stay connected to your spouse / life partner and agree regular times for calls when you are traveling.
  • Read the emergency travel alerts provided by your Embassy.
  • Stay connected to other families in the host location. Contact International SOS (“ISOS“) or your security provider immediately when you feel you need to leave the country for health or safety reasons.
  • Have an emergency medical kit with you when you go on a business trip. Most company doctors provide such a kit when you go there to get necessary vaccinations and travel advice. Watch out for health issues after your journey.
  • If you have been in a traumatic situation seek psychological support for yourself and your family members. Your company will provide a contact.
  • As a single female business traveler prioritize safety and request safety rooms in hotels. Travel with recognized taxis and keep away from bars. In male-dominated cultures hire a driver or ask your host to ensure your personal safety.
  • Learn emergency phone numbers in the host country by heart.
  • If you manage a global team establish a call tree in your team and devise a back-up structure for emergencies. Have an emergency data system for a day where you all have to work from home.

We all don’t want to think about emergencies but when we are in such a situation it is important that we can fall back on a program we have learnt. It is important that we know already who to call and where to find the number. If this is helpful for you please share.

Angie Weinberger

PS: I also recommend you read chapter 11 of “The GM Workbook”. If you email me I will send you the chapter.

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.


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.

 


Liebe Freunde,
wir suchen immer noch nach einem deutschsprachigen Global Mobility Consultant für einen Kunden. Das solltest Du mitbringen:

– Master oder vergleichbarer Hochschulabschluss in International Business Administration, Human Resources Management, BWL, Psychologie, Finance, Jura oder Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaften
– Mindestens fünf Jahre Berufserfahrung, idealerweise im Personalwesen, davon mindestens zwei Jahre Berufserfahrung im Bereich internationale Mitarbeiterentsendungen
– Kenntnisse im Immigrations-, Steuer- und Sozialversicherungsrecht und in der internationalen Personalentwicklung
– Starke analytische Fähigkeiten und Freude am Umgang mit Zahlen und Berechnungen- Interkulturelle Kommunikationsstärke, Beratungs- und Verhandlungsgeschick, Überzeugungsfähigkeit
– Fähigkeit zu Priorisierung und vernetztem Denken, nachgewiesene Erfahrung in der Lösung komplexer Fälle
– Hohes Maß an Eigenmotivation und Selbstmanagement- Sehr gutes Beziehungsmanagement, Fähigkeit zum schnellen Aufbau persönlicher Netzwerke mit Kunden und Kollegen
– Fließende Deutsch- und Englischkenntnisse, weitere Fremdsprachenkenntnisse wünschenswert
– Fortgeschrittene Kenntnisse in Excel und Powerpoint- Kenntnisse in SAP HR oder PeopleSoft.

Wenn Du mehr wissen magst melde Dich doch bitte direkt bei angela@globalpeopletransitions.com.