Martina has not been able to find a new job for six months. It’s not because of her qualifications. She is well qualified and has work experience. It might be her self-confidence and that she gets nervous in interviews.

She thinks one of the reasons for her lack of success at securing a job is that she is very realistic about her skills and when asked in an interview she is honest. I guess successful candidates aren’t always honest. That’s the message she got.

Successful people are better at conveying who they are and how they work.

I have made a small mistake in my earlier career. I worked away and assumed that someone would notice my great performance. Colleagues were promoted faster and earned more money. Then one day, one of my former managers pointed it out to me. She asked me how my current manager would notice that I was working hard while I was in a different country.

I got better at communicating to my manager what I was doing and how I contributed to the success of the team. Had she not told me I would probably still sit in that same office, doing the same job. I asked for weekly meetings with my new manager and  even wrote quarterly summaries of what I had achieved. This not only led to more praise and faster promotions, I also got more self-confident and daring. I was even headhunted.

Another manager showed me how to improve my self-branding. She recommended a number of great books to me. All managers who really helped me move forward were women. Maybe because they understood that we tend to be more critical towards ourselves and that we do not always sell ourselves in the best possible manner.

I am very grateful to those managers. As I care for Martina and you, I want her and you to succeed.


  1. Write a weekly reflection for yourself at the end of the week. (You can use the RockMe! App for guidance).
  2. Share your three weekly achievements with your manager.
  3. In your 1:1 tell your manager what you have accomplished and where you struggle. If you don’t have a 1:1 do it in writing.
  4. Share more than you take. Share your knowledge in your internal yammer and sharepoint.
  5. Share your knowledge on LinkedIn, highlight interesting posts to colleagues and start guest blogging.

Have an inspired week ahead
Angie Weinberger

How to make friends in Switzerland

“Why did I not learn more about Finance?” I repeatedly asked myself since I started my own business and will I ever get my head around the financial side of the business? Will I ever get better at managing cash flow?

It didn’t make sense to me. I was good with computing cost projections and balance sheets for expats. I can explain the difference between purchasing power parity and cost-of-living index. I can tell you how COLA relates to foreign exchange rates. I was excellent in Math as a student. So it’s NOT that I don’t like numbers.

My issue was more that I lacked the practical understanding of a “good housewife”. I didn’t know how much a liter of milk would normally cost in the supermarket. I didn’t know those little secrets of saving money in Switzerland such as the fact that Migros and Denner are essentially under the same corporate umbrella but you can buy twice as much food at Denner.

When I was working as Global Mobility Leader, I had a good paycheck. In Germany, I would even go grocery shopping in the “bio” shop Alnatura. My mother would say that I might as well go shopping in a pharmacy. For me, this meant “quality of life”. It meant that I would not be stressed at the cashier on Saturday because five other people were in line behind me.

There was another issue why I stopped learning more about finance, investments, saving money when I was employed: I had a bad relationship with money. Money stinks. Money doesn’t make you happy. When you have money, you don’t talk about it. I had all sorts of relationship issues with money.

This article is for you if you started out as a business owner or if you feel that you need to heal your relationship to money. And if you are not a female but you feel you need to get better with money, you may read this article as well. Let’s try to understand a few basics of finance and financial independence.

Maintain one spreadsheet called Cash Flow Plan

If you want to run a sustainable business, work with a cash flow plan. It can be a simple one, but you need to have your finances in order. In the early days of my business, I asked my BFF (who is a Finance guru) to review my business plan. She explained that I would just need to ensure that there is a cash flow in and that it is bigger than the cash flow out. Easier said than done, but I still use that same plan in year seven.

Moving from a monthly fixed income to a fluctuating income

When you are used to a certain lifestyle with a fixed monthly income you rely on that paycheck a lot. If you are unemployed or if you start out as a freelancer you have to get used to a fluctuating income. You probably had 100’000 CHF in your bank account as a starting capital and reserve and in my experience, you will need that in Switzerland in your first two years in business (unless your business is a hobby).

Finding finance information that you actually want to read

This is a challenge I have addressed with bankers several times already. Most financial information is written in a way that no one wants to read it. Some of it does not even make a lot of sense. I received a weird letter the other day and sent it back with edits and side comments. The main message was: We could not deduct money from your account but there was a lot of fluff around it. It took me a while to understand why this company wrote to me. I have started to read the Cashguru blog now, so at least I know what is going on at the SMI in Switzerland.

KPI’s for MNC’s might not fit for small businesses

I studied Finance in college, so you would think I get it but most of these models relate to MNCs, not small businesses. This knowledge does not really help in practical matters such as where to buy in bulk or how to maintain a cash reserve. The most important KPI I remember from uni is the relation between borrowed capital and your own capital. Now, if you start out, you might just want to use your own capital. That’s a lot smarter than lending. For the years ahead, you need to find a healthy ratio between investing and earning. That’s all. Don’t forget that in Switzerland if you have a sole proprietorship a lot of your reporting obligations change at the magic 100k CHF turnover mark.

Learn Vocabulary

If you want to appear financially competent when talking to your bank manager, financial advisors, insurance brokers, mortgage providers or lawyers, you need to know a few basics and speak their language. For example, you need to understand interest and how it works. Also negative interest, debt and how you get into debt. What is an advantage of a mortgage versus paying rent? How do open and closed investment funds actually work?

I agreed with my bank lady, that we would meet in person once a year to go through the main issues and look at my risk profile and discuss my financial planning for the year. I enjoy that I have a personal contact and someone who helps out in case I need urgent support with the online banking.

Learn about budgeting

In the early years and even before I launched GPT, I used to spend more than I earned. I applied “Reaganomics”. What works in politics, does not really work for a small business. At the time, I did not really understand that this investment could hinder my potential for getting out of the red figures in the long term.

I sometimes took bad financial decisions. For example, I started to pay myself a salary too early. I listened to an advisor and should have listened to my gut feeling. Remember that other people’s experience in the business world could be biased. They have opened their business many years before. Switzerland has also suffered from the global economic crisis.  Often the Swiss have access to networks that foreigners will not really get into. Also, men might have faster results than women because of unconscious biases of their buyers.

Depending on your type of business, you should have a current account, which balances your company and your personal investments and costs. I would advise that you separate your private and company accounts.

Dealing with a cycle of costs

My business is cyclical and once I understood the cost and earning cycle, I could prepare myself better for the downtimes. For example, I have a lot of annual invoices in January but January is often a slow month.
It’s generally better to split invoices into smaller parts. Often, when you ask the insurance provider they are willing to support you on a payment plan. If you want to be ahead of your costs, you should ask for larger invoices and pay them as soon as you possibly can.

Learn to manage cash flow

One cardinal rule I have broken a little bit in 2017 was that I try to pay all my own vendors in advance so that they would always get their money. It means that I have to budget their quarterly invoices too and it happened once or twice that I had to put a service on hold because of lack of funding.

Another principle I have developed is to check my account twice or thrice a week, sometimes even daily. I try to issue an invoice as soon as the service has been delivered or as soon as the booking has been confirmed.

Many large relocation companies and training agencies have very long payment periods. I suffered greatly from these in the early years of my business. I had delivered a service but sometimes was only paid 60 to 90 days later. In some instances, invoices got lost in cost center discussions and bad processes. Once I got paid two years later only. Now, I am more careful about the agreements in the contracts and I try to follow up on outstanding invoices faster. I use a “Small Invoices” to manage my invoicing process.

Read and study

Even though Finance is not my favorite subject I found out that if I research more about a topic, I can reduce hassle and costs for my business. For example, I clarified how the VAT-system works when working across borders. On invoices I received from service providers outside of Switzerland, I asked them to change their invoices so that my company would show as responsible for VAT. I also found a good rule for issuing invoices for service providers located out of Switzerland. In my first year claiming VAT back on a company car paid my rent and expenses for a month.

Review your Pricing

I review my pricing every year and check if my services are still at the price level where I feel I should get paid. It is not always possible for me to insist on a certain rate or price but I got a lot better asking for it. I see a lot of women who undersell themselves or do not even consider that they could earn more. In my RockMe! program we define a financial goal for every client.

Buy local where you need service

I buy local where I need service. Everything else I try to order online. You might be wondering why I need to have human interaction to buy a mundane product like toner, paper or pens. The reason is that for me these shopping trips are a pleasure. I like to go to the “Papeterie” and browse what they have on offer. It’s not just a transaction.

Invest in yourself the most

Over the years as a company owner and Managing Director of I allowed most of my investments to be investments in myself. I enjoy having a beautiful working space I can go to and hang out in all day. I love to go to seminars and invest in my skills and knowledge. I know that I have to be better than average in order to stay competitive and that requires that I keep up to date with technology, knowledge in my field and update my skills constantly. Maybe it’s time to go to a Finance course.

Money and Food

I noticed with a friend recently that money and food have a lot in common too. If you tend to overeat you might also have a tendency to overspend. I am currently fasting from certain foods and from money. It means that I try to reduce my spending to the bare essentials. It helps once in a while to have an empty fridge, to buy only what you really need and drop the coffee at Starbucks or the wines at Bohemia.

Happy international women’s day!

Angie Weinberger

PS: Are you struggling with how to set your price tag?
Check out these PRICING articles on my blog.


Hiking and writing

Hiking and writing are similar. You start with a regular writing practice and move on to more elaborate content afterward. One of the challenges of the writing process is that we are not always in the mood. Well, I’d like to compare it to hiking. Maybe you are not always in the mood for hiking either, but when you have been outside even for just half an hour and you moved your body, breathed fresh air you will enjoy the feeling of accomplishment after your hike, your muscles are warm, your brain works better and you can handle more stress.

With writing it is similar. Once I completed my early morning writing I feel a lot more accomplished and ready to tackle the day. Mostly those pages are random. They are not worth reading again. They sometimes just list lose ideas and connect the associations in my head. Often I express a wish or two for the next day.

I stood on the Uetliberg (that’s the house mountain of Zurich) when I noticed that sometimes we walk up a mountain without knowing where the top is. We have no clarity how far the top is and what the top will look like.

We are not sure, what we will find there. For example, I expected there to be a restaurant but I did not expect it to be so full that I would walk out again right away without even considering a bio-break. Or I did not expect a water fountain up there where I could fill my water bottle, which was helpful.

If you consider your first year on an international assignment to be an uphill hike which takes your breath away and makes your heart pound faster than a “Geigerzaehler”, then you probably cannot wait to reach the top.

From the top you expect to have a view and your pace will be easier. You expect to walk along the top plain or you could just hike down. During my last hike I noted a few concepts that helped when I hiked up. I would like to share them with you for your support. Your current challenge could be that you don’t have a job in market you don’t understand or you have started a new role or you don’t know what 2018 will bring to your current role.

Stand at a safe space and look back down

We tend to forget what we have already managed, been through and survived when we only focus on the mountain top. Once in a while allow yourself a break and look back how far you have come already. What helps here is the weekly reflection exercise I recommend in the RockMe! App. You could also just take an A4 sized paper and write down “What is better than one year ago?”. 

You still need to hike at the top

Even when you are at the highest point of the mountain and would like to walk along the plains you still need to keep moving. As a manager you will still need to deal with people’s issues, as a Global Mobility Leader you will still manage special VIP cases, as an Expat Spouse you still have to take care of your partner and children.

You might expect too much of others

Expectations and disappointments are a normal part of human nature. If you want to move away from other people’s expectations and pressures, then you could try to write down and speak out wishes instead. Because with a wish you never know if it will be granted to you. And it’s ok to make a wish related to another person but it’s not okay that you expect anything of another person.

Hiking makes your muscles sore

If you are not a fitness-freak you might feel your muscles for a few days after you hiked the mountain. I also think it is the same when we have achieved an important aim. We often feel the after effects a few months later. Sometimes it is necessary that you remind yourself what you have achieved and you could allow yourself a small celebration too.

I recommend to celebrate with a Bratwurst at the top but that’s just a small instant wish. For your new team management, new project or first year on the international assignment you could celebrate. Invite your spouse, partner or best friend to a weekend treat.

Hike on!


PS: If you feel you need time out to reflect your experience and work on your next career or life steps in a safe environment, I recommend you enroll in our RockMe! Retreat.

International Business Travelers can face many issues. As a Consultant, I would tell you about all the compliance issues and the option of being held in detention if you get caught with the wrong visa or work permit. This is my tale of trying to book a ticket that involved three countries called Switzerland, Germany and France.

Once upon a time in a land far away, locked inside a few mountains, a middle-aged lady, Mrs. W. tried to live in a more environmentally friendly way. So she sent her carriage to Africa. It was the age of mass transportation, the neo-romanticism movement had just begun and a few freaks committed to train travel as a way of life.

Our middle-aged lady, Mrs. W. did consider a horse carriage but the train was the transportation of choice. It promised to offer safety, a view, the potential for a class of wine in the restaurant carriage and most importantly, it was supposedly reliable. Our lady had a commitment in the beautiful city of mustard: Dijon, France.

After two days in this beautiful little town she planned to liaise with her old-time university friend TK and his new, soon-to-be fiancée that she had not met yet. Mrs. W. needed to take a train to Frankfurt in Germany. Then she planned to return home, too late to see off her lover who was going to go on a long adventure in the lands, formerly known as Hindustan.

Mrs. W. tried to book her tickets. Her handmaiden was off on vacation so Mrs. W. so to the task herself. She also could not send her delivery boy, because she had let all the staff go due to urgent renovations happening in her castle (or cottage or mini city apartment).

The first part of the trip, from Zurich to Dijon went fine. The second part seemed more complicated. She first consulted with the train company in Switzerland. It seemed to be difficult for them to issue a ticket where none of the train station was in their territory. Then the train company in Germany told her it would take several days to process a ticket.

She hoped for a faster solution and asked locals in France for help. One of her assigned supporters from the university, gave her the hint to work with the French train company. When she finally managed to obtain a ticket, the confirmation letter told her that the ticket would arrive in four days with the mail. This was the day she would already be gone. Despite the potential of using the telephone, Mrs. W. was not sure if her French was up to the standard for such a complicated conversation.

So Mrs. W tried to contact the French train company again via the common mail exchange.

Support via Facebook Chat

How innovative she thought. She first received an answer from a machine.

Bonjour Angie ! Tu l’as sans doute remarqué, j’ai changé … Désormais, je m’appelle OUIbot pour que la seule réponse à tes envies de voyage soit « OUI » !

T’aider à réserver des voyages en train, c’est ma spécialité ! Mais ce n’est pas la seule corde à mon arc… NOUVEAU Maintenant réserve avec moi des trains TGVmax en ajoutant “en TGVmax” à ta recherche !

Mrs. W responded: I don’t speak French

The Machine said:

Désolé, je ne suis pas encore polyglotte… Mais je travaille dur pour y arriver!

The machine told her that he is not “polyglotte” but was working hard to get there. He tried to be funny. Even used emoticons to express his feelings. Mrs. W. was not amused.

She pressed the button “Talk to a Human”. Then she left the scene for a walk in the cold and icy city. She ended up in a bar where she met a friend and was at ease when she returned home. After dinner, she returned to her desk. A human seemed to take of her matter.

Un conseiller va prendre le relais. Pour qu’il soit le plus efficace possible, peux-tu me préciser ta demande ?

Mrs. W. tried to explain the issue in French and English.

Oui, je voudrais changer le ticket pour un ticket en ligne, pas de papier. (I don’t speak French so well but I need to have an online ticket, not a ticket sent by mail. I did not see that the ticket would be sent by mail. I assumed it was always a pdf or online ticket). Can you help me please?

Several hours passed. Nothing happened.

She got the same response. She would have to get a new ticket on the counter and claim the cost back via registered mail.

Mrs. W. gave in. She went to the counter and explained the issue. The lady at SNCF was efficient and helpful and showed her how to claim the ticket costs back. She typed a letter in French. The registered mail cost her CHF 8.60 and she had to go to the post office in person, because her handmaid and the butler had taken the day off again.

The SNCF tickets came a week after she had ordered them. In good time and they looked perfectly like back in the last century. “Handwritten tickets, that’s what’s missing” she thought to herself. The nostalgia that overcame her when she held the tickets in her hand was priceless. Yes, another adventure in the digital age. So Downton Abbey.


PS: Here is more on International Business Travelers (IBT) and if you need a more serious discussion about the topic please make an appointment with me.

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

We are more sensitive to security issues after an attack such as the Paris attacks of 13 NOV 2015. The precautions you can take are limited but 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.

  • Only travel when it is a necessity. Check if meetings can be held via video conferencing 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 ISOS and your Embassy.
  • In an emergency 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 backup 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 learned. It is important that we know already whom to call and where to find the number. If this is helpful for you please share.


Ego can be a blocker of your personal development. Nothing happens when you are passive. You can wait for your life to happen and you will never see any fundamental change. Fundamental changes only occur from within. When you encounter your dark side and confront your fears. Others say that “life starts outside of your comfort zone”. That’s not true. You need your comfort zone.

You must not jump and do a complete makeover. In my experience, little steps are a lot more helpful to build a more fulfilled and happier life. Little steps could be to focus more on what is happening in the here and now, to appreciate more what you have and to continue on your journey to make a more significant contribution to this world. A little step could be to help a staff member be more productive, support an elderly citizen with their day-to-day routines or even being a better partner.

Entitlement is the Path to the Dark Side

What makes me cringe these days is the entitlement. I wonder why we believe that we are entitled to status, prosperity, and lifestyle. Why some of us feel entitled to rule the world, exploit our planet and dominate others?

Who allows you to feel better than others? What is the underlying assumption? Who do you serve? We often do not realize how privileged we are until we meet others who are less privileged. It’s a good practice to put yourself in the shoes of another human once in a while. One you might not be able to relate to so easily: A beggar or homeless, a refugee or a maid. Here is what I have learned by now: You and I we were lucky. We were lucky that we were born to our parents, that we had access to education and that we never knew what hunger means.

If you feel a little bit ashamed now, I would like to welcome you to the club. Once in a while, I try to check on my attitude, especially when I dramatize or when I drown in a sea of self-pity. In these (now rather rare) moments when we look at everything we have not done, not achieved, not had as kids or young adults. The moments when we wish we had had more guidance from our parents, more support from our teachers and mentors, more money and more energy.

The Ego-Cave

This is the ego trying to pull you back into its cave. A hungry animal that yearns for recognition, the badge of honor, the Pulitzer-Prize, one million EUROs in the bank and a youthful look. The ego is a monster and it is dangerous.

You wonder, how you can balance it? If I understand the philosophers and psychiatrists correctly only by selfless acts. By losing yourself in acts of kindness and support without expectation, without reward. You will ask me next if then you are not exposing yourself to abuse and being used by others. I say maybe. You still have to know where your limits are. I would suggest though that small acts of kindness do have a place and need a place in our modern world.

We cannot continue to behave as if everything we need from others is a business transaction. If we do that our relationships become transactional in nature and this is not working for friendships. It’s also not working for business relationships. If we only think in quid pro quo (or in the Matcher style as Adam M. Grant would call it) we are not growing up. We remain children of our society on pocket money. We demand nourishment but we are not prepared to nourish ourselves.

What could you do?

As a first step, I would like to encourage you to log your attitude and write about situations where you may feel privileged or entitled. As a second step, you could consider volunteering for while.

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

PS: Check out this post too: The dark force in us – From Darth Vader to Jedi 

This video about C.G. Jung’s concepts is also a good addition to this post.

HireMe! Group Coaching 2018

  • Have you been looking for a job for more than six months?
  • Do you feel you are wasting your energy doing the wrong things for too long?
  • Are you qualified to Bachelor or Master level but lack significant experience in the field you are aiming at?
  • Are you introverted and have a hard time with networking?
  • Do you feel you spend too much time making too little progress?

Then act now and join the next HireMe! Group Coaching Program that begins 3 APRIL 2018 and runs for 5 consecutive weeks.  Kickstart and re-energize your job search in Switzerland with guidance from experienced career coach Angela Weinberger and the support of a group of like-minded professionals.

Angela Weinberger, career coach and author of “The Global Career Workbook”, will lead you on a focused group journey (4-8 participants) through the following key steps, amongst others, to landing a job that you want in Switzerland.

  • Building your personal brand and pitching yourself
  • Deepen your understanding of your personal values
  • Improve your professional presence online
  • Swiss style job applications
  • Write effective Letters of Motivation
  • Learn the art of storytelling in interviews
  • Build professional networks in Switzerland (or elsewhere)
  • Set weekly targets at a healthy realistic pace
  • Structure your job search

After completing the program you will be better prepared for tackling the Swiss job market, feel more self-confident in your job search and understand finally why networking is the key success factor.

Want to know more?  Find the full program details here: