Ghostbusters and Girls in STEM

I saw Ghostbusters yesterday. It was amazing.

I just went on Reddit so I could go talk to other people who had seen the film and how we all loved it, but every comment on the review thread that was positive about the film was getting downvotes. What?! [Read more…]

What It’s Like to… Go Into Recruitment

SONY DSC

As I mentioned last week, I am aware that I’ve not been very personal in a while, and that I wanted to change that. With that in mind, there’s no interview today, but I will be explaining a little about what I’ve been up to.

I left Big Japanese Company back in July, and that was a big step for me. It was a little easy and I had a good routine going, but I knew I wanted to do more. So I joined Small Media Company as a PA. In my interview, the boss was pretty unwelcoming, but the role would have given me a lot of experience in things I wanted to do. I ended up doing a lot more personal things for the boss than I did the things I wanted to do, and Boss and I were equally unhappy with each other. I left not long after I joined. It was a good experience looking back, and I know now to not go for a job when I don’t feel 100% in the interview.

So I sat down and thought long and hard about what I wanted to do. I wrote a big list of things I like doing. I like making other people happy. I like getting my head down and working really hard. I enjoy talking about other people’s jobs.

I decided to get into recruitment.

I now work in a medium sized specialist recruitment company, which deals only with one field. My “desk” is the European area of this company, and I help people get jobs in Europe.

I’m getting ahead of myself a little. Before I chose this company I did SO much research – and that’s something I recommend for people wanting to get into recruitment themselves. There are so many different companies out there – big recruitment companies who deal with all kinds of jobs, specialist ones, very very niche ones. You also have internal recruiters in companies, who will work for one salary and not commission like I do. Each company will have its own training programme so you have to look into what would suit you. I didn’t want to go through 3 stages of interviews and 6 weeks of classroom learning, I wanted to be thrown in.

My colleagues are a little varied, but are mainly early 20’s, high energy, and very outgoing. I’d say it’s 80% guys, but there’s not a “bro” culture, though there is a fair amount of banter that goes on. Everyone is really lovely, and it’s not a cut throat environment like it could be. The differences between this and being a PA create a list that stretches long, but I’d say the main difference is that in recruitment it really is non-stop. No mobile phones on desks, no coffee making during “phone hours”, just pick up the phone and call people. It’s my second week in and I really am pretty exhausted. My mind slips every now and then and thinks about something else, but I’m getting better at sticking my mind into the right mode.

Right now, my job involves phoning up candidates and checking their current situation. Have they changed jobs since we last spoke with them? Are they looking for more money than they told us 6 months ago? Are they happy where they are for the time being?

Then, when jobs come through, I have to go through and look for people that match that spec. I had one come in yesterday and the company is looking for someone very particular, so I have been phoning people, asking if they fit the description and if they are interested.

It’s probably the hardest I’ve worked – or at least equal to crunch-time when translating at Nintendo. The hours as a recruiter are long – 8am to 6pm, and the noisy office with everyone picking up the phone all the time can be overwhelming at first. But there are really great parts – when someone makes a placement, the whole office does a mexican wave. There’s free breakfast (more cereal than I can ever imagine to eat!) We go to the pub on Friday nights, and my colleagues really are great people.

All this means that I am pretty exhausted when I come home and I do want to curl up and watch The Good Wife and then fall asleep. Which is why I’ve been skipping blogging days recently.

As always, if you have questions then do let me know. I’m still new in my job, but I might be able to help. I’m happy to be here now, and I wish I’d thought of it sooner.

Now I’m going to watch The Good Wife and fall asleep…

 

How Many of These German Expat Mistakes Have You Made?

German Expat Mistakes

I’ve written a lot about how wonderful it is to live as an expat in Germany, but today I’d like to flip and talk about the mistakes new expats can make here. Especially to other Europeans, coming to Germany is so easy. We don’t need any visa or much planning at all and as long as we’re registered to live here when we get here, it’s all good.

BUT there are things that can go wrong…

  1. Register as Christian

A lot of British people, as well as American people (I assume) would say that their religion is generically Christian. It’s the default option because a lot of people grew up in Christian education and culture. I myself went to Christian primary and middle schools and although I went through a short spell of┬átaking my little sister to church every week when she was curious, I’ve never been one for actually going to church. I am Christian by culture, not by religion, I guess.

So when you come to Germany and, when registering, you’re asked what religion you are, should you say that you are Christian? Well, maybe not. If you do, you will have to give money from your wages (around 9% of your salary) every month to the church. Of course, if you are church-going, and are very serious about being Christian, then this is no problem. But for lazy Christians like myself, this is probably not something we want to do.

  1. Phone contract

How long are you planning to stay in Germany? If you are there on a whim and are trying out a new job I advise you to refrain from getting a phone contract. German phone contracts usually last for 2 years, and you have to inform the company 3 months in advance at the end of the contract if you want to end it. If you do not do this, it automatically rolls over another year.

Canceling the contract when you move back home is a pain in the bum. There are loads of horror stories about people who have been given trouble when they try to do this, but luckily, (TOUCH WOOD) it’s been OK for me so far. I first sent a letter to O2 informing them that I will be going home in June. Next, I’ve had a string of emails back and forth giving them various bits of information. After this, I should pay the remaining 300 euros for my actual mobile phone. Then, in the last week of me being in Germany, I’ll send them the confirmation from the town hall that I have deregistered.

It’s all so much faff that I wish I’d just been pay as you go the whole I’m I was here.

  1. Downloading

Now you’re in Germany, you can’t catch up with your favourite shows from home any more, so you switch to downloading them, right? WRONG!

Germany is VERY strict with downloads so there is a much, much higher chance of people who use torrents getting caught and having to face a large fine. It’s happened to two people I know, and even the whole “only downloading, never uploading” doesn’t seem to work.

There are lots of legal ways to watch things these days – I know a lot of people who pay for things in the iTunes and so on. Some people also use a proxy to watch the BBC iPlayer and so on, which is still dodgy, but not enough to get you in trouble.

Extra – TV Licence

I’ve put the German TV licence – GEZ – as an extra because there are two ways to go about this. In Germany you should pay the GEZ for a TV licence even if you don’t have a TV – even owning a radio, computer or mobile phone counts. But this has changed recently and you are to pay it just by existing here. When you register here in Germany, GEZ will be given your address and they will start asking you to pay.

Some people say they have never paid this, and tell you to ignore the letters and to refuse the GEZ people entry to your home. Other people just pay up, as it’s our responsibility living here in Germany. They can, however, get it wrong sometimes as even though I replied to their initial letters saying that my flatmates pay a cover for the whole flat and that I should not have to pay, they are still sending me scary-looking letters demanding money.

I don’t have an answer for this one, but Toytown has extensive information on their forums about it, so if you are worried about this then please have a read.

What German expat mistakes have you made? Are there any that I’ve missed off my list?

The Cats of Istanbul

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Yes, I did spend my whole week in Istanbul taking photos of cats.

Stop judging me…

%d bloggers like this: