Author Archives: Angie Weinberger

Recent legislative and policy changes in many countries around the world seem to be signaling a global shift from open market to a form of protectionism. Today, I would like to discuss what exactly this is and how it impacts everyone in Global Mobility, using the example of an upheaval close to us: the dreaded Brexit.

Before we delve into Brexit, let’s take a look first at how open market policies were and still are beneficial to Global Mobility.

Open Markets and Free Trade

It all boils down to the fact that free trade agreements specifically include concessions for mobility. Combined with reduced taxes and government programs to encourage foreign investments, this literally opened the door for GM professionals to successfully ply their trade in different countries. Another step later down in this pipeline is the streamlining of visas and entry requirements – all things that promote the movement of skilled professionals across borders.

Brexit: An End to Unrestricted Movement

The political machinations that led to the UK deciding to part ways with the EU, that is, Brexit, have been discussed far and wide and I will not be going over them. If you are looking to brush up on it, the NY Times and BBC have good summaries here and here, respectively. Relevant to this discussion is the fact that the British people have been promised that Brexit would mean an end to the EU’s famed free movement, that is, the right of people from mainland Europe to live and work in Britain. This is a form of protectionism, the term mentioned earlier. Protectionism refers to the economic curtailing of foreign imports through tariffs, quotas, and other governmental policies. Cutting down on the import of foreign workers falls under it, in direct opposition to the free movement that made the EU a unique success story in world history.

Common sense identifies this as a detrimental idea, not only to GM professionals but to long-term economic stability and growth, yet so few speak up against it – the very fact that Brexit is happening is evidence of that fact. Why is that so?

Fear-based Politics Is a Tool of Suppression

A major reason for that is the fear-mongering stoked by politicians, particularly about how immigration and immigrants “steal” the jobs of the locals – this belief is particularly strong among the working class who rally behind all attempts to close down free movement. Unfortunately, this spread of fear works on everyone, at various levels, especially in these times of economic hardship, it is easy to buy into the idea that immigrants are responsible for the worsening economy or the lack of jobs. No one likes to step out of their comfort zone, especially to speak up about uncomfortable topics.

The result? While Brexit has been lingering for years, the political uncertainty it has led to is already creating ripples across the GM community. Companies will be faced with increasingly challenging situations when seeking to move the talent they want, into the location where they are needed most.

Many companies are moving out of or planning to move out of the UK, taking with them hundreds of thousands of jobs from locals. Clearly not the best-case scenario.

This unpredictability is not limited merely to the immigration aspects of Global Mobility, as taxation and exchange of information would become increasingly sophisticated, making it more difficult for companies and authorities to work out and resolve issues of governance and tax payment. A potential problem that arises from this unpredictability is not knowing how the UK will treat its laws and legislation dealing with worker rights, taxation and other aspects that were based on relevant sections of EU law. That is something troubling corporations and experts in finances, taxation and mobility alike.

Another factor determining why we haven’t been more outspoken about the ramifications of politics on our field is the overabundance of fake news. When someone’s statement is countered with aggressively presented “facts”, the people believing in those “facts” can end up influencing others and drowning out our voice of reason.

Does anyone remember the infamous “Brexit Bus”? Despite being proven to be a falsehood, that “fact” is considered one of the major reasons the Brexit referendum was won by Leave. Despite people speaking up about the falsehood of that “fact”, the Brexit Bus still swayed millions with its lie. How does one make themselves heard in such a scenario?

Echoes of Brexit Around the World

Brexit and EU are not the only places where this tidal wave of fear-based politics and misinformation have had an impact on Global Mobility. In March 2018, Australia ended one of its most popular work visas for global professionals with claims that the visa was taking jobs away from Australians, replacing it with one that was a lot more stricter on professionals and companies alike. The USA’s stance towards the mobility of foreigners is also of note, targeting millions of Muslims from around the world, and about the same number from south of their border through the implementation of various “travel bans”. These policies have been crucial in disrupting nearly all companies that source their talent globally.

As these roadblocks mount, we are faced with a unique, ever-growing challenge of navigating political opposition to its core tenant and unpredictable laws that can spring up at any moment. Given this uncertainty, what we can do at this turbulent time is developing a series of rapid response protocols/procedures that allow us to stay on top of these shifts while carving out a longer-term plan for navigating these changing political waters.

We need to stay relevant

As mentioned by Tracy Figliola and Gina Vecchio in their excellent article “Global Mobility Coming of Age” (The International HR Adviser, Winter 2019/2020) we are currently at the crossroads of extinction or expansion of our profession. As I’ve been working on expanding our skillset and mindset over the last few years, I would certainly hope that we step up our game this year.

If we want to continue adding value as a function we need to show through our actions that we are finding solutions to all those ever more complex issues. I usually hold back my political opinion here and on social media for fear of attracting trolls and haters but I committed yesterday to support “outsiders” more, and to work with an even more diverse team in 2020.

We need to think big and start with baby steps at our own front yard. For example, I will work with an intern from Africa this year. My clients come from around the world but we can still do more to encourage global competency development and break down the barriers to Global Mobility. We can set examples and work on positive changes in our realm of influence whether we are expats, expat entrepreneurs, scientists or Global Mobility Professionals.

Are you in? If yes, what are you committing to do more of in 2020? Write back to me with one sentence only.

Kind regards,

Angie.

PS: As a lecturer and Expatise Academy Advisory Board member I recommend the Master Course in Global Mobility at Erasmus University. As the Registration deadline is approaching you should decide fast and read more here.
My lecture and workshop are on 31 March 2020 and zooms in on “Branding the Global Mobility Profession”.

Do you approach each new year with renewed vigor and plans for self improvement? Perhaps a better gym routine or healthier lifestyle habits? Maybe you wish to tackle your work in a different manner? Do you then find yourself not able to sustain these plans beyond a few weeks?

New Year’s resolutions often end up lacking consistency, and with 2020 heralding the start of a new decade, the pressure is on a lot of people to start at full sprint. However, as we all know…by Mid January we are back in full swing and forgot that we wanted to go to the gym, eat healthy, drink less alcohol and spend more time with our families. As we grow older we even recognize how some of our patterns of workaholism become worse every year.

I have to admit that I had a hard time to let go of work on 23 December 2019 and a nagging feeling that I did not fully finish a task related to GDPR. (Don’t ask!!).

Now, as the New Year has started I realize a lack of motivation and find it a bit hard to get going again. I know that I will be seeing clients, students and even have a video shoot next week but I’ve been trying to procrastinate work as long as possible. And because I know that you and I often feel the same, I was struggling to tell you to start setting your goals for 2020. I read a few blog posts and then I remembered that I had already thought of different methods to overcome procrastination.

A while ago I wrote about four approaches to managing a project: “Committing to Work – When you say “I do” and then you do”. I explained four different ways you can motivate yourself through any project and a new career or life goal is essentially a project.

I ended my post with committing to doing the Master program in Global Mobility at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. My graduation party is almost a year ago. And while I still enjoy the moment of satisfaction and the additional certificate what I remember mostly about the course are the great people I met there: Lecturers, fellow students and organizers. People supporting me during my research and clients who answered a lot of questions about how they were using our RockMeApp. If you want to read my final thesis it has been published here.

If you really want to break through this decade try this:

1- Join us for a Global Rockstar Session

What is important to me when I work with clients in 1:1 Executive Coaching Programs such as the “RockMe! Program” is that we set three main career goals for you in our initial “Global Rockstar Session”. You can join us as a private client by following our onboarding process. As I only work with a limited number of private coaching clients this year I recommend that you email me your interest now and that we have a quick chat before the January enthusiasm passes.

2- Use the RockMeApp to define your weekly practices and learning goals

In my experience, nothing beats perseverance in guaranteeing whether you will be successful in achieving your three main goals. Professional athletes and billionaires have strict routines and practice regiments to be the very best.
I therefore always encourage clients to develop up to 10 weekly practices that will help them get closer to their main goals by using smaller steps. The RockMeApp therefore gives you a weekly checklist of those repetitive practices.

3- Understand and set your learning targets

Most of the time, if a goal overwhelms us in the professional context it is because we are lacking skills, knowledge or we don’t have the right attitude towards the task at hand. Break your three career and life goals into smaller, attainable sub-goals and define learning targets according to my global competency model. This is not so easy alone. Hence, I recommend you work with me continuously.

4- Define your three main priorities every week

From sub-goals you need to learn to set yourself three weekly priorities. This is what I do for years now with the RockMeApp. At the end of the week, I already write down my three main priorities for the week ahead. My productivity has been on an amazingly high level since I started doing this.

This is also known as Micro-productivity and helps your brain to see the final goal as more achievable and reduce procrastination. Furthermore, completing those smaller goals acts as positive feedback that helps motivate you towards that end goal!

5- Learn to reflect every week for at least 10 minutes

Lastly, I encourage my clients to answer four reflection questions at the end of every work week. You will know what they are if you are signed up to our RockMeApp.

Wishing you a Happy New Year 2020.

Kind regards,

Angie

We offer six months of academic internship at Global People Transitions GmbH. As an intern, you would have the opportunity to work within a small global, virtual team. We need academic support to assert the scientific background behind our coaching methodology and to manage projects that require academic research skills and presentation preparation skills. The internship can be combined with a thesis or university project.

As part of your tasks and responsibilities, you will assist the Managing Director and team with diverse tasks which include:

  • Quality assurance of our programs.
  • Research academic background for presentations and lectures in IHRM, Global Mobility, and Intercultural Communication.
  • Update presentations to a level where they can be easily commented and edited by the Managing Director.
  • Support book writing with references, proposals, editing, and additional input.
  • Support with the organisation of workshops, flipchart documentation, and participant profiles.
  • Support with organizing the RockMeRetreats. You will be able to join for free.
  • Virtual assistance and small, urgent tasks based on language capabilities and needs such as booking travel, digitizing and tagging documentation.

 

Your profile

We’re looking for a junior professional, who is autonomous and self-sufficient. The work requires basic knowledge of Google Business tools, MS Office Package, and Accounting.

We expect an excellent level of English in writing, German or French is an advantage. We’re looking for students in IHRM, Global Mobility or Intercultural Communication / Management. 

Location

This internship may be accomplished on-site (in the GPT offices in Zurich, Switzerland provided you qualify for a work and residence permit) or virtually from long-distance. 

The internship pays EUR 900 gross per month. We will offer regular 1:1 coaching sessions with Angie Weinberger during the internship. Ideally, you work full-time. However, we count your academic research as work time.

Start date: 1 April 2020

Next start date: 1 October 2020

 

Company Profile

Global People Transitions (GPT) is a global mobility coaching company, dedicated to helping expats improve performance through global competency. The company was founded in 2012 by Angie Weinberger. 

 

Application and queries

Please connect with your LinkedIn Profile to Angie Weinberger or send your paper-based CV and motivation letter to angela@globalpeopletransitions.com.

 

This week’s discussion has been on my mind for quite some time, as it is something I frequently find myself discussing with expat parents. I am referring of course to the phenomenon of Third Culture Kids (TCK). Let’s dive in.

A natural consequence of the international professional, accelerated in recent years through increased globalisation and advances in Global Mobility, is the rise of Third Culture Kids, or, children who have grown up in cultures that weren’t the passport cultures of their parents. This term originated through the work of American sociologist Dr. Ruth Hill Useem in the 1960s. You can read more about her legacy here.

Given that the term has been around for so long, some of these children have now grown up and are referred to as ATCK (Adult Third Culture Kid). Therefore, it is important that their unique experiences and those of current TCKs are recognized and better understood, as they will be shaping the future. I’d like to do just that.

TCKs Have an Expanded Understanding of the World

Research has clearly demonstrated that TCKs are more tolerant of other people, their beliefs and cultures because of their broader worldviews. This allows them to build relationships with all cultural backgrounds, which makes them great international assets as professionals.

However, They Can Suffer From Identity Crises

A person’s self-esteem and identity is intrinsically linked to their attachment to the social constructs of culture, the sense of belonging that comes from such an attachment can often be lacking in TCKs, given that they are uprooted from their origin culture at a young age and thus they can become culturally “homeless” if their transition into the new culture is not smooth.
Often, the reverse can happen as well, with the TCK adjusting smoothly to the new culture but becoming alien to the original one. This fear is something expat parents frequently bring up with me and I always suggest that parents try to maintain a link between their children and the culture of their homeland. A great way to do that is through books, particularly those that spark the imagination of inquisitive young children. In fact, Cukibo has a range of delightful and enchanting books geared specifically for expat children that will help them learn and remember what makes their home culture so wonderful. Do read more about this series, it is called Journey to Another Homeland.

Identity Issues Lead to Further Difficulties

These identity issues, at such a critical time of psychological development, can lead to further problems down the road for TCKs. They have trouble adjusting to adult life as the feeling of not having roots like those with cultural “stability” can lead to frustration and a further loss of self-esteem. Their values can be compromised as well, particularly if the home and expat cultures have complementary cultures.

However, TCKs Develop Excellent Cross-Cultural Competence

That is solely due to how the Global Mobility has changed in recent decades. Previously, most expats moved once, overseas, and built a life there. That is no longer the case, with expats moving multiple times and bonding with more and more diverse people. It is not uncommon for TCKs now to belong to 3 or more cultures, and as part of their upbringing they develop the capacity to function effectively across national, ethnic, and organizational cultures.

TCKs Also Boost Global Mobility

Surveys have shown that TCKs retain a desire to travel and move once they reach adulthood. Their professionals careers, consequently, have a focus on international travel and mobility. The influx of these ATCKs into professional spheres is pushing greater mobility and emphasis on the international aspects of their development: multilingualism, high cultural intelligence and sensitivity.

There is no denying that TCKs face the kind of challenges that non-expat children do that, but by overcoming those challenges, Third Culture Kids grow up into the kind of three-dimensional and evolved professionals and human beings that are slowly ushering the world into a new era of globalism and open-mindedness.


Finally, I would like to mention an opportunity to improve on your education. The Erasmus University in Rotterdam has an effective Masters course in Global Mobility, which distills the knowledge of academics and professionals with diverse and extensive field experience – this will help you attain the necessary qualifications to lead GM into the new decade! You can peruse through details at the link here.

You can contact us for workshops with third-culture kids. Reply or email at angela@globalpeopletransitions.com to book your slot now.

Have a great week!

Kind Regards,

Angie.

The holiday season is nearly upon us, I am sure most of us are ready for a well-deserved break from work. Why do I bring this up? There are two main reasons for discussing it.

1) You need a break from work.
2) You might be alone on Christmas.

The first reason is that the human body needs a break to recover motivation and energy. In fact, extensive research by Harvard Business Review has found that more holiday time not only improves energy levels and happiness, but is also linked to improved success rate and chances of promotion. You can read the findings of this research here.

The second reason is specifically for globally mobile professionals. While the holidays may be a time of joy and happiness for most people, they can be quite bittersweet for the lonely expat. That is because some of you may not be able to return to your families. Maybe you have lost loved ones around the holidays. Maybe you are no longer close with your extended family and your friends are all married with kids.

In Zurich, there is a high likelihood that you haven’t made any close friends yet. It could also be that like one of my friends you are in the middle of your next move and taking time off isn’t an option. You can check our relocation guide for ideas.

So, if you are worried a little about how to handle the holidays here are our ideas for the holidays on your own.

“The 12 Days of Christmas” – Alone in Zurich

Although technically the 12 days of Christmas don’t start until 25 December, we will approach this topic creatively. I also understand that the 12 nights are more important in tradition and mythology and it depends on which sources you read. Here the first magic night is on 20 December “Thomasnacht”.

This year you have a good chance to have two weeks off with a small amount of vacation days or overtime compensation.

Before starting on this topic I would like to invite every reader and client who is not Christian to enjoy the fun around our holiday traditions with us. Full self-disclosure: I come from a catholic background and I live in a relationship with a non-practicing Muslim. I usually only go to mass on Christmas Eve with my grandmother, because I know it makes her happy.

Being a Christian means to me to be a good human and about giving to others and yourself. In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter what your faith is as long as you aspire to do good in the world. And if you only believe in science or the force I shall like you as well.

For me, Christmas is also a time where I connect with my inner child and give this child all the love it deserves. I believe that my honouring rituals around the 12 days of Christmas I collect the energy that I need to be supportive as a coach and productive as  consultant.

20 December: Collaboration Day
I was surprised to be invited to an office party on the Friday before the holidays but I assume that it’s a great day to celebrate because by then hopefully all the urgent work is done. It’s nice to say good-bye to work colleagues and look back at everything we have achieved together. In our culture we tend to forget to celebrate the success and value collaboration. So try to appreciate at least one colleague you worked successfully with this year and give them a hand-written thank you card.

21 December: Decoration Day
Buy a Christmas tree at Bahnhof Stadelhofen or in your neighbourhood. Put on the “Jingle bells” youtube mix and decorate your home and your Christmas tree.

22 December: Catch up Day
Catch up with old friends via video chat. Being stuck in a foreign country during the holidays is never ideal, more so if you don’t have family or friends there. A luxury not afforded to pre-internet expats, but still in no way a replacement for family and friends, is video chat. While not the ideal replacement for the people you are missing, it can allow you to keep in near-constant touch and keep the holiday spirit fresh in you. In fact, this can also be a perfect time to reconnect with old friends and catch up.

23 December: Crafting Day
Go offline for crafting on the day before Christmas eve. If you have been in a work frenzy in the build up to the holidays you probably want nothing more than switching off. If I had time off I would do something crafty like making my own ornaments, bake Christmas cookies and a gingerbread house. Tag us when you share photos on instagram.

Do all your laundry because you cannot wash between Christmas and New Year. We call this time “zwischen den Jahren” (between the years). I like this expression and did a bit of research.

24 December: Giving Day
Read a novel to an elderly citizen on Christmas Eve. I’ve never spent Christmas Eve alone as far as I can remember. You probably know that I come from a big family and I hardly find time to see all my relatives.

If I was ever alone in Zurich on Christmas Eve, I would do my grocery shopping for three days and then use the chance to read to someone. In my neighbourhood I often see lonely elderly people.

There is also a shelter for homeless people and you could volunteer there.  Or check with your religious community if you can help a child with a present.

25 December: Skiing Day

After you opened all your presents to yourself why don’t you go to the mountains and check out if there is a chance for a skiing day. Alternatively, you could organize yourself a museum tour of Zurich with a lovely Christmas dinner at a cozy place like Rosaly’s or Wilder Mann zurich. Probably you could meet a few lonely hearts in Bohemia zurich. I would probably check if I could get a ticket for the opera or the Schauspielhaus.

26 December: Boxing Day

I don’t know why it’s called Boxing Day in English. Maybe it’s time to put a few things in boxes? Or box away the calories? My grandmother calls this day “Stephanstag”. This is a holiday in Zurich and shops are closed so you could plan a spa day or again go outside. For example, take the S-Train to Greifensee and walk around the lake for a while. Later, I would go to one of the nicest hotels in Zurich for afternoon tea and sip a glass of champagne.

27 December: Career Day 

Go to the office and update your LinkedIn profile with Nabeha’s tips. It’s time to review your work year. Write down one big accomplishment for every month or check the reporting facility in the RockMeApp.

Have lunch with a poor colleague from HR, Accounting or IT who has to work and wants to get home. With a cup of hot cocoa (or Gluehwein, if that’s allowed) start to clean up your desk.

  • Throw out old files,
  • Clean up your computer,
  • Update your task lists,
  • Prepare your performance reviews,
  • Order that new work phone and
  • Pay all your outstanding invoices.
Bonus: Decorate your desk with something cheerful so you have a nice start on 3 January 2020.

28 December: Shopping Day

Don’t forget to stock up on groceries. If you’re like me, you probably have an empty fridge by now. Maybe you still have personal administrative tasks to do. My advice is to use the “Pomodoro” technique to start working on the task for 25 minutes. These days the Bahnhofstrasse isn’t as crowded as usual, so you could also go to the city and buy a new outfit. Maybe with style advice from Rowena Downing.

29 December: Wish Day

For me this will be the day where I write down everything I’m grateful for in my life and what my wishes are for 2020. Join us for “Star Wars” or pick a movie and go to KOSMOS zurich or another movie theatre you usually don’t go to. Enjoy an apéro at YAMAS Zurich, the little Greek restaurant with a flair of the meatpacking district and Greek hospitality. You can also check out those great blogs for more ideas:
newinzurich
girlfriend guide to zurich

30 December: Pamper Day

No matter what gender you identify with, we all have a need for a pamper day at least once a year. Book an appointment at your favourite spa and enjoy the treatment. PURE zurich is great for that. If you still feel stressed you might want to get a massage from Pascale at CHINADOC.

Afterwards a leisurely stroll on Lake Zurich to Zurichhorn, a boat trip or if it’s raining take the tram 8 to Hardturm and check out the furniture and design stores near Prime Tower. Go up to the bar prime tower and enjoy the view. Book dinner there or go home and cook for yourself.

31 December: Let Go Day

It’s time to let go. Take a flipchart size paper or a pack of post-it notes and write down everything you wish to leave in the old year. This Farewell 2019-List needs to be burned before Midnight. 
 
I hope you enjoyed my tips for the lonely hearts club and I look forward to meeting you
in 2020.

Happy Holidays!


Angie and Team