Author Archives: Angie Weinberger

Sometimes we all experiences phases in our lives when everything seems to drag along or harder than usual. In other times we are full of energy and ready to take life by storm. You probably understand already that your energy level and exhaustion does not always correlate to a number of hours you work.

Sometimes you might be drained by other factors. It might even be your personal life that is creating an imbalance. In my experience, most of the issues we face are born in our head. Once we learn to control our thoughts, we can almost control the universe (almost…do not try to challenge me on this one).

Do you remember the last time you almost had a nervous breakdown over a small error you made or the last fight you had with a loved one for something that seemed meaningless in hindsight?

Are you sometimes asking yourself what triggers these emotional reactions when you explode or break into tears out of nowhere? The issue is simpler than you think and at the same time more irrational than you think. It’s probably related to your early childhood. Unless you want to go through a long deep therapeutic process I want to advise you to observe your behavior and your judgment.

There are also a few actions you can take to rid yourself of unnecessary blockages.

Clean up your home and office space

Sometimes we feel blocked because we lost touch with ourselves, with our priorities and our purpose. In that case, it is useless to sit in front of a white sheet of paper ruminating about what we would like to do with our lives. It is better to shift your focus to cleaning up your home and office space. Throw out anything you don’t use or if you feel you will use it again try to put it in your cellar.

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/how-to-get-rid-of-clutter-in-five-steps-spring-cleaning-for-more-productivity/

Use Housework as a Meditation Practice

Create more balance between your head and your body by going through your household tasks with dedicated Zen-like attitude. Focus fully on the task at hand, let your mind enjoy music or listen to a podcast while you iron shirts, clean the bathroom and do the dishes. You might want to take up a regular practice such as meditation, yoga, aikido or golf.
http://www.agility3.com/blog/learning-golf-rememering-rilke-and-the-secret-to-a-perfect-lawn

Battle Stress by Looking at the Root Cause

If you constantly feel anxious, get too little sleep or you seek distractions with medicines, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, work and other additions you might want to seek a therapist. In the long run, you will benefit from going through this rough phase but you probably won’t manage alone or without a support group. Maybe it will also help you to follow our advice on how to get in control again when stress weighs you down.
https://globalpeopletransitions.com/when-stress-weighs-you-down-three-quickies-to-get-in-control-again/

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

PS: If you feel you only need a few small optimizations to claim back your diary you might want to try these seven tips.

https://globalpeopletransitions.com/my-favourite-productivity-hacks-seven-tips-to-claim-back-your-diary/

With temperatures at summer highs, I felt obliged to tell you about the Swiss recruiting summer downtime and how to best prepare for it. With the start of international and Swiss school holidays, many recruiting processes slow down significantly. If you are looking for a job right now you probably feel that you are coming late to the table. I would say that is true, but it does not mean that you should spend July and August in a coma in the next “Badi”.

1) Write your personal career story

My advice is that you finalize your personal branding. You need to have your three professional “labels” ready and know how you will introduce yourself to a new contact. You should write a story that explains why you chose the profession you currently have, what you like about it and where your next step should take you. You should also have your personal business cards printed. You might also want to revisit why a personal brand is important and how it links to your seven work principles.

2) Build more personalized professional relationships

Summer is a good time to build new and catch up with your current contacts because they might feel less pressured than normal and the nice weather is encouraging your contacts to spend more time outside. Why don’t you take them for an ice cream in the sunshine after work? Why don’t you request an early morning walk by the lake combined with a cold coffee? Or you could offer to take over their recycling runs as you have enough time at your hands at the moment for half an hour of them sharing career tips with you. A personalized request is key here.

3) Set yourself a weekly target for meetings with contacts

I think it is also helpful if you set your targets for the meeting low but ask to be introduced to three more professional contacts in your field. If you have doubts about meeting your contacts you probably have not written down your “purpose” yet. Please read this post on “Purpose, Preparation, Presence, and Promises…” and ask me about it in case you feel it is still too hard to go out and meet professional contacts.

4) Book a holiday for your family and yourself

This is also the best time to be away from Zurich if you are looking for a job. You will probably not miss much and in emergencies, companies could also interview you by phone or Skype in your holiday home. I would advise that you charge your batteries and get out of the city for a minimum of two weeks. Your children and partner/ spouse will probably love it that you have time for them.

5) Book your next coaching sessions up until 22 July now

We are also going to profit from the summer downtime by taking a break and I would like to ask you to book any coaching sessions until 22 July as soon as you know your holiday plans. We currently offer appointments on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays. If you know anybody who would profit from a career consultation this is a good time to introduce them to Global People Transitions. Your contact will receive a free first consultation if they mention you.

During the summer my team and I will work on projects and learning programs and we will need to retreat for that. We will not be available for private clients from 24 July until 4 September 2017.

What are your committed actions for this week?

 

Kind regards

Angie Weinberger

 

PS: I enjoyed this post on why relationships fail from the Huff Post.

 

 

Back from the SIETAR Europa Congress in Dublin, I would like to share a small story with you. I wanted to tell you how I started to become an intercultural practitioner. Picture the island of Crete, Greece. It’s a hot sunny day and you see me at the age of 9 years. First I play in the sand. Then I decide to take my air mattress and go into the water despite the jellyfish and other small monsters in the sea.

I observe and hear a girl in my age talking and I recognize that this is a different language. I assume she speaks English and my father confirms this assumption. Since I am really bored of playing with my little sister all the time I try to confront the alien.

I make eye contact and we begin to talk. We play in the water and exchange useful information on our families. This is one of the happiest holidays in my life.

At the time my knowledge of the language was very limited as we only had a pre-course in English. At primary school, we gave ourselves funny English names (I was Judy) and sang songs in English such as Old McDonald’s had a farm. My new friend was Nancy from London. Singing songs was a good start but we wanted more. We became pen friends. Funnily, we wrote each other letters for years. We both got into horse riding and she became a real friend. (This was obviously long before we had social media, the Internet and all that…).

Nancy and I never met in person afterward even though I spent a long time in London after High School. One day, we just lost track of each other. I often wondered what happened to her and what is doing now, if she is still alive and if she is happy.

For me, Nancy had been a strong motivator to learn and improve English. Foreign languages came easily to me because I saw the benefit so early in my life.
So, first of all, I want to thank Nancy for that and I want to thank my parents for exposing me to international people so early in life. We also had a Turkish foster child and traveled to many countries in Europe.

Secondly, I would like to tell you that you might be “Nancy” to someone else. When you help another person from a different culture improve your native language such as French or German, when you speak up against racist remarks or when you are simply that one friend that is a bit different than all the others. When you stick around and stay in the relationship even though it might have become a bit stale or when you are the one who picks up the phone or writes the letter to the friend, who thinks you have forgotten all about him and her.

Tell me if you have anyone in your life that you would like to re-connect with across borders and how it felt when you did.

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

Guest post by Lucie Koch

Lucie Koch has joined Global People Transitions for an internship and will be sharing her internship experiences in a regular blog journal. 

While I have driven all the way up to the North of England during my last bachelor year with only six months of countryside driving experience (let me assure you, the stress was intense), I, and it seems to be the case for many young people of my age, have never felt as anxious and simultaneously excited at the prospect of starting my professional career.

My internship at Global People Transitions  started a little more than one month ago and, for now, I still have one foot in the academic system and the other one in the professional system. Knowing that I am about to step out of the apparently safe bubble of the academic world is becoming more real every day. However, I know that this apprehension is a globally experienced side-effect of change and I am going to be fine.

This said, the professional discovery experience is an exciting (and scary) experience, especially when starting in an international or foreign company, or when considering how young Europeans of my generation have been reminded for years about the high unemployment rates and economic crisis. Writing about my experience may help students about to take their first step in the professional world to feel less stressed about the change and professionals understand the young interns.

The first challenge I faced was intercultural. Indeed, while I am of Swiss nationality, my ideas about work, are mostly shaped by the French education system and experience through personal relations in France. Therefore, I was quite insecure about the professional culture proper to Switzerland.

Secondly, there is the fact that the Global People Transitions team is very diverse in its cultural backgrounds. However, due to my intercultural experience and interculturality centered studies, it was easy to adapt to this.

The real intercultural shock for me was more about academical vs professional culture. Indeed, the differences in behavior, expectations, jargon and directness, are always a challenge to adapt to, especially in a secondary language. I would argue that it might be harder or at least as hard to adapt to a new ‘working’ culture than to a new national culture, especially in a global environment. It is especially complicated in a digital work team, as one can’t rely on tone and physical expression hints.

Culture Shock Theory, which is used to explain and educate people about the social, physical and emotional challenges which people face during and international mobility, could be used in my case too. Indeed, there is the initial ‘honeymoon’ phase, when one is excited about more autonomy, earning money, meeting new people, moving to a new place. Then come the first stressful situations, negative experiences, the disappointment of big expectations, or the nostalgia of old habits, life and friends can lead to a low (more or less hard depending on everyone’s experience). Adapting to the new environment is essential and it is not limited to a change of country.

However, what I discovered in the first month of my internship, is that there is no need to be anxious and that some intercultural communication failures are bound to happen, may it be because of a nationality difference, a professional culture difference, or even a generational difference. The apprehension is normal but the growth that one gains in the professional experience is worth the harder parts.

I hope that you enjoyed this read!

Write you next month,

Lucie

Lucie Koch - Global People Transitions

Lucie Koch is intern at Global People Transitions since April 2017. She is about to graduate from an Intercultural Management Master study, which led her to study in Dijon, France, a city she was already familiar with and in unfamiliar Finland (for one semester). Previously, she studied one year at Durham university (UK) as part of a Bachelor Erasmus Mobility program. She was born in 1994 to Swiss expat couple in France. She grew up in the French countryside, around horses. She’s a self confessed introvert, fascinated by different languages, cultures, science (especially astronomy and biology) and philosophy. She also likes to spend time drawing, painting or in cinemas.

In the TGV Lyria the French train running between Paris and Zurich all seats are normally taken. Like on a plane you need to sit in your reserved seat. In Switzerland there are no reservations. When a train gets too full and extra train is implemented during high times. Switzerland deals with this issue by adding more trains.

On Saturday, I entered the train in Dijon (France – the city of mustard) and placed my suitcase at the beginning of the compartment but could not find me seat in the lower deck. First I thought that there was an error on my ticket. Then I noticed the upper deck. I walked back, went up the stairs and thought “I must remember where I placed my suitcase.”

When I found my assigned seat 106 it was taken by a young girl. I experienced how my “Germanic” sense and preference for structure and order immediately was challenged. My stomach gave me messages “Out of order, not right, what is happening here?”

I tried my best French to state that I had a reservation. The girl showed me her ticket and explained in French that there was a mix up as the young couple in the seat in front of her had taken their seats. No one showed signs of getting up for a middle-aged woman. (My brain said “These younglings…no respect for age.”)

I saw no point in getting angry at the girl and her cute little sister who explained again the same.

I was thinking about approaching the couple directly but for a few minutes I did not know what to say and how to stay polite in French. Then a veiled lady told me to wait for the conductor. I felt out of place as people were trying to pass by. I thought about sitting out the problem and felt a frog creeping in my throat as I tried to say in French that I was standing here like an idiot because of a mix up of seats. I was also getting hot in my winter jacket and worried about fainting.

I felt tired and wanted to sit and work. I don’t like it when my plans get interrupted. I waited in silence and looked at my ticket to decide how long I could stand here. The girl (who was in the wrong seat) became nervous. She urged her boyfriend to handle this embarrassing situation. Then another young man got up and showed him something on his phone. The boy turned to me and said in English “You can take my seat. It’s number 64.“

I went back to the lower deck where I had left my suitcase, could not find 64, then went back up, passed by the boy and smiled. “It’s probably over there”. Then I asked the passenger in seat 64 if he had a reservation. He said yes. I apologized, went back to the boy and said “Did you say 64 or 46?”. He smiled “I said 54.”

I smiled, finally found seat 54 and ended up near where I had originally placed my suitcase.

Why am I telling you this?

I thought this is one of the situations that you experience in a new country all the time during your cultural adjustment.

I was proud of myself that I did not get too angry and tried to use humor in an awkward social situation in a language I did not feel 100% comfortable in. It also showed me again that your inner state is important when handling intercultural issues. You can solve problems better when you stay calm and composed even if a situation upsets you.

This situation gave me a good chance to apply my seven principles for intercultural effectiveness and I learnt once again

I could have reacted differently but by being quiet and patient the younglings came up with a solutions that was a win-win for all of us.

Other lessons learnt that help in intercultural settings.

1) Communicate your Needs

I should have said that I need to sit and work. Everything else did not matter to me. I should have said that I did not sleep well and that my back hurts when I stand to long but I did not. Maybe I could have arranged the new seat faster with better communication and checking in about the seat number. How often does it happen in intercultural communication that we do not really understand each other?

2) Forget Powerplay, Authority and Assumptions about Social Hierarchy

It’s not always necessary to play a power game when you can solve problems together. In order to do that you need to keep an open mind and accept a bit of chaos (which is hard with a Germanic mindset). I admit I felt a bit entitled and was going to pull an arrogant move, about how I had paid for my seat etc…but something stopped me from doing that. Maybe I am not that kind of person anymore.

3) Religion means nothing – Love is everything

The boyfriend’s argument “I wanted to be close to my girlfriend…” convinced me and I really did not question that I could take his seat instead. I loved that everyone seemed to sympathize with me and engaged in my “problem”. I expected the least support from the veiled lady but she immediately provided a solution. My heart went out to her as I thought she does not need to help a stranger.

 

4) Small issues can create big emotions

Although this was such a small dilemma it almost made me cry. I felt awkward and out of place, someone who does not fit in and this probably triggered old childhood memories of being new in class with a funny accent when I was showing up in second grade after our big family move. Watch your feelings and emotions. They might be triggered by old memories.