Category Archives: Global Mobility

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.

 


Did you ever spend an intimate moment with your partner where he or she was telling you something that was important to them. You talk, sooth each other and you feel like giving everything to this loved person. Then she checks her phone. Or he gets up and gets a beer from the fridge.

Then out of nowhere you are getting frustrated, negative and even aggressive. You lost the place of love and went into the place of need. The atmosphere is ruined.

The same can happen at work. You thought you have a good relationship with a colleague or a manager and then one day out of the blue they shout at you. Or they send you a really long email how you disappointed them again and how you ruined their day.

Did you ever experience this?

What I have learned over the last three years of being an entrepreneur is that we can influence the way we respond in 80% of the time. In 20% of the time I still want to learn to stay calm and compassionate. Here are seven steps to responding in order to avoid negativity in relationships.

1) Take a break

Emily Bennington held a talk at the Powerhouse Zurich in September 2013 and explained the space between stimulus and response. In this area we can decide if we shout, cry or explode. Often we are losing control though and just act out.

We could pull us out of the situation and respond with compassion and love. Often when we get emotional it helps to remove ourselves from the situation and look at what is going on.

Ask yourself: “What do I need now to feel secure and loved again?”

 2) Respond by expressing your need

Instead of shouting back or answering with another long-winded email we could say “I understand that you are tired today but my need for order and a structured week gets messed up when we do not finish the housework on the weekend.”

To your colleague you could respond to the email saying: “I understand why you are angry but I’d prefer to discuss this in person. When can we talk?”

 

3) Listen to the signs of your body

Our bodies are featured with red lights. Some of us have been on the autobahn of our lives for too long though to see the red lights when they go on. After years of training as a coach and lots of sensitivity exercises I now recognize the red lights better.

You might feel dizzy in the stomach or head, your heartbeat increases, blood rushes into your head or your hands start to shiver.

When I feel overwhelmed with stress another indicator is severe back pain in the lower part of my back.

I listen to my body and when I notice any signs I take a note in my diary and ask myself what I need right now.

Sometimes it could just be water, food or a break but often it is an emotional need.

Sun Flowers
Give people more Flowers!

4) Let your written response simmer in your draft folder

I once in my young career made the mistake of answering all emails immediately. Everything always seemed urgent. Until I made a mistake and my manager gave me advice to let emails simmer in the draft folder. So now I have a rule not to send emails I wrote under emotional pressure for a minimum of twelve hours.

I risk to be considered slow. Most people who know me well already know that I must be thinking hard as I am usually VERY responsive and fast with email.

In 2015 I deleted at least ten emails the next morning or even two hours after they were written. Most of the time I recognized that I was talking to my inner worry monster, not the person who emailed me initially.

5) Have a conversation with your inner worry monster

Do you know anyone who likes negative feedback or criticism? I don’t. But I know that when I have a good relationship and someone gives me a feedback on what I could improve I am happy and thankful. UNLESS and here is the catch they put their finger right into the wound that says „Thou art not worthy.“ (you are a scam).

Millions of women (and a lot of men) are suffering from the imposture syndrome. Thank God I finally stopped dreaming that I did not pass university and have to take the math test again (which funnily enough was my best subject).

The worry monster attacks us when we are moving out of our comfort zone into unknown lands of skills we never had to master. Next to practicing daily it might help you to speak to your worry monster. Tell him all that you have done already to practice and how you will continue to do so. It could be that the worry monster appreciates your efforts.

 

6) Listen to guided meditations

Ok, I know that meditation is not everybody’s cup of tea but sometimes when the negative talk is too loud you need to hear another voice. Give yourself 5 minutes in the morning and listen to a guided meditation.

 

7) Go running or walking

A lot of people I know go running or walking to “get their head clear”. I think they alsIMG_0183o clear their hearts. Both exercises are helping your heart digest the emotional food it has been served. Maybe you are a very sensitive person. I often pick up emotions of my clients or they remind me of my own emotional state a few years back. I developed rituals to help my heart handle these emotions.

 

Tell us how you made a difference by responding with kindness and compassion instead of emotion and aggression?

 

Watch more:

 

***From 21 SEPT 2015 to 25 SEPT we’ll give away the GM WORKBOOK for FREE on Amazon.***

GMWORKBOOKThe Global Mobility Workbook – A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing International Assignments

  • run your international assignments in a strategic way,
  • develop a metric for international assignment success,
  • sort out your assignment policy,
  • have a clear structure on how you can support assignees and spouses through the assignment process
  • develop your competencies as a Global Mobility Professionals
  • know where to go with further questions.

Find the book on Amazon.com.

The #GMWORKBOOK contains five parts.

Part 1: The World of Global Mobility.
We explain trends and classify international assignments according to the drivers and show you how to design the international assignment business case. We explain how to integrate the assignment in succession planning.

Part 2: Making it happen.
This is about the operational implementation of international assignments explaining different assignment types, compensation and policy approaches, roles and responsibilities, compliance and working with third-party providers.

Part 3: The Assignee Spouse and Experience.
Another focus is on the process expatriates and their spouses or life partners go through both on a technical but also emotional level. This includes safety and health of expatriates and their families.

Part 4: Developing your Global Mobility Career.
Global Competency is presented as a key component in the development of Global Mobility Professionals. We explore the areas in which your knowledge and skills can be developed.

Part 5: Case Studies and Tasks.
The seven case studies from our daily practice serve to understand Global Mobility challenges in the real world. You will complete a total of eleven tasks, learn technical terms and find useful links.

ISBN: 978-3-9524284-0-5

by @angieweinberger

In Germany there is rumor and evidence that Generation Y is not willing to work abroad. Now obviously, it is not the most important topic on German news considering we have a humanitarian crisis in Europe and refugee camps being attacked. BUT if you are a Global Mobility Professional or a global line manager who needs internationally-minded and experienced team members you might start to worry about this Gen Y. 

The underlying tenor of the SPIEGEL article is that work-life balance seem to be more . Raising a family is a value again and men and women want to share the load of educating children and careers alike. Good news for women’s careers, bad news for Global Mobility.

Is this really a global phenomenon though?

If you check out the study “Talent Mobility 2020” by @pwc you will read (and maybe tweet)

“The millennial generation will view overseas assignments as a rite of passage, an outlook that will change the way workers and organisations approach overseas opportunities in the future.”

An experience

I don’t think that Gen Y is not willing to move abroad. For me Gen Y might be over-saturated. Gen Y professionals grew up with the option of studying and working abroad before they entered the workforce. In my days having studied and worked in another country was an achievement. Now it seems very normal.

I still believe though that the experience of a long-term assignment (minimum two years) is not replaceable with working in your home region only. It’s also a different experience moving abroad for studying or an internship when you are 25 and single compared to when you are 35, married and with two children.  Believe me: You still need the experience in today’s globalized world. Also, the world has more countries than Germany. A lot of Indians, Chinese and Brazilians will love to go on an international assignment if you ask them.

 

If you want to be an effective global professional you have to have had exposure to people from other cultures and you have to have FELT the difference between working for example for a manager with a hierarchical approach who might be French versus the participatory approach of a Swedish manager. It is not enough to read about this difference. You have to experience it.  When you feel the difference you can also pick the style that suits you best once you are leader.

When you never lived in a country where people have a different skin colour than you, you might have never been exposed to cultural dominance or the opposite. You might have never understood cultural bias or you cannot even differentiate faces of people with a different racial background…let alone pronounce their names correctly.

It’s all good and well to prioritize family over work but who says you cannot have family while you are on an international assignment. Who says you cannot bring your husband to Bangladesh if you are a successful career woman? I know a gay couple who moved to India and a father of four who worked in Thailand and I’ve spoken to Western career women who worked successfully in Abu Dhabi. It’s all possible with the right attitude, global competency and the right package. It also works when you have an international assignment business case with a repatriation plan.

This is where we might find the real issue. A lot of companies have decided that Gen Y “needs talent development”. So they have sent the young talents abroad without a real business case. Obviously then your experience might be flawed. When I was sent to India almost ten years ago it was an eye-opener for me and I worked really hard. We had a staff shortage and we needed to pull ourselves together in order to build a BPO from scratch. I learnt a ton about Indian culture and even more about myself in stressful projects. Maybe it is worthwhile checking what your assignment business case really is.

While we currently have a tendency of cultural regionalism we should not forget that the market growth is not happening in Switzerland and Germany but for example in Turkey, Malaysia, China and India or in the countries that had wars for the last decades such as Iraq. If you want to be successful you might not even have a choice other than moving around for your career.

Please share your view on moving to other countries on international assignments (no matter which generation you belong to).

 

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