Bloggers in Transition Project 2014: Skiing into my dream career

by Christine Syrad the Swiss Alps

I moved to Zurich in 2009, fresh out of University and clinging tenaciously to the vision that Zurich would be a year-long detour on an otherwise London-based career path. Back then, given the turmoil the economy was facing, it looked as though my two obvious choices were to either go home and live my parents (in Japan) until I found a job or get a waitressing job in London to keep myself afloat for the “time being”.  I actually really enjoy waitressing, so there was the risk that I’d end up too comfortable doing that to find something my degree had prepared me for. Having said that, I read English and Italian literature, so it’s not as if I was expecting a call from NASA to tell me I possess just the brain they were looking for.

Skiing was the best outlook about moving

So when the offer presented itself, despite not knowing anything about Zurich and regardless of the fact that my so-called “career” ambitions were nebulous at best and, to top it off, I didn’t fully understand the profile of the job I’d be doing, I went for it. I saw the move as a chance to do plenty of skiing and…well, that’s where the thought process ended, truth be told.

My B-Permit expires in a month’s time, meaning I’m approaching the five year mark, so it seems a fitting time to reflect on what my credit-crunch dodging move has unfolded for me.

What have I gained?

This is what I have gained as a result of my move:

  • General fearlessness – I knew nobody here and spoke three words of German when I boarded my plane. I had a job but I didn’t even really know what my job entailed. Did I survive? Of course! Was it always easy? No. Was it worth it? 100%.
  • Heightened sense of curiosity – this ties into the first one. Now that I know taking a leap of faith can yield favourable outcomes, I’d very much like to see what lies waiting around each bend I choose to navigate towards.
  • German language skills – my German is not perfect, but it’s functional and I can use it in a working context, more or less. The learning process has been fun and has opened many a cultural door.
  • Financial independence – one reason I left the UK was the allure of lower taxes and higher pay (relative to the UK). It meant leaving my Uni friends behind, but the payoff has been that I am debt free and financially securer than I most likely would have been had I not moved.
  • Last, but not least, the fire I need to chase my dream – I’m usually reluctant to reveal this to anyone I don’t know because it sort of reeks of cheesiness. Having overcome a few obstacles since getting here, I get the feeling that now, equipped with the positive vibes from the above four points, taking the path towards my dream career seems far less turbulent.


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