Job Search (#3: A Structure)

I have received advice from a few friends that had similar experience like me searching for a new job after a long period of employment. One common point is to establish a structure in terms of schedule during the period of job search. Perhaps start a few personal projects (including job search). For instance, friend of mine obtained a Yoga instructor qualification while another one started learning the piano. The structure (of time) acts as a psychological “safety net” to keep you busy and engaged in some interesting projects (perhaps you did not have time to do before).

Like me for example, in the morning, I carry out job search related tasks and/or take online French lessons. In the afternoon, I go for lunch/coffee with friends, visit museum/cinema or run my errands. In the evening, I conduct life coaching sessions with my clients.
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En recherche d’emploi (3: L’organisation du temps)
J’ai reçu des conseils de plusieurs amis qui ont des expériences similaires en recherche d’emploi après une longue période de travail. Un point commun entre eux est l’organisation du temps pendant la recherche. En plus peut-être plusieurs projets personnels commencent (inclus la recherche d’emploi). Par exemple, un ami à moi obtenait un diplôme de yoga pendant qu’un autre apprenait le piano. L’organisation du temps fonctionne comme une “sécurité” psychologique pour vous occuper et vous engager dans les projets intéressants (que peut-être vous n’avez pas le temps de faire).

Comme moi par exemple, le matin, je fais des tâches liées à la recherche d’emploi et j’apprends le français en ligne. Après midi, je prends le déjeuner/café avec mes amis ou fais des courses ou vais au musée/cinéma. Le soir, je donne des séances de life coaching à mes clients.

Job Search (#2: Support and Encouragement)

Related to my first point regarding personal network, my second point is more precisely referring to support and encouragement within the network.

Keeping a positive and optimistic attitude is crucial during the job search. Whether we like it or not, we show our mentality and state of mind during our interviews. In general, employers prefer candidates who are more passionate and dynamic.

The following short messages are very simple but can have a huge positive impact on the job seeker.
“If you need someone to talk to, don’t hesitate to give me a shout.”
“Take some time to find a job that you like if financially feasible.”
“How are you doing with your job search?”
“Are you available for a coffee/lunch to catch up?”
“The job search is not easy, but I am convinced that you will succeed eventually.”
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En recherche d’emploi (2: Les soutiens et les encouragements)
Lié à mon premier point concernant le réseau, mon deuxième point est précisément les soutiens et les encouragements de réseau. Garder une attitude positive et optimiste est crucial pendant la recherche d’emploi. Normalement, on montre notre mentalité et notre morale dans l’entretien. En général, les employeurs préfèrent les candidats plus passionnants et dynamiques.
Des petits parcours amiables suivis sont simples mais avec un grand effet.
“Si tu as besoin de parler, n’hésite pas à me contacter”
“Prends un peu de temps pour chercher le poste que tu aimerais si c’est possible financièrement.”
“Que penses-tu de ton projet de recherche d’emploi ?”
“Es-tu disponible pour un café/déjeuner afin de prendre des nouvelles?”
“La recherche d’emploi n’est pas évidente, mais je suis persuadé que tu vas finalement réussir”

Job Search (#1 The Network)

I am currently looking for a job in Paris and I would like to share my experience with you. I found the most important thing is networking, in particular when you are in a foreign city or a country. On this subject, I would like to highlight a few points.
#1) Everyone needs a network and members in the network help each other. At a certain time, you need help and at another time, you help others.
#2) Create a network as large as possible which includes your family, friends, acquaintances, (ex-)colleagues, professional contacts and friends of your friends.
#3) There are many different types of advantage being in a network: useful information, advice, reference and encouragement. All of them are important.
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En recherche d’emploi (1: Le réseau personnel)
Je suis en recherche d’emploi à Paris et je veux partager mon expérience avec vous.
Ce que je trouve le plus important est le réseau personnel (particulièrement dans une ville ou un pays étranger). Sur ce sujet, je voudrais préciser plusieurs points personnels.
#1) Tout le monde a besoin de réseau.Les membres d’un réseau s’entraident. Quelques fois, vous avez besoin d’aide, et d’autre fois, vous aidez les autres.
#2) Créer un réseau le plus grand possible. Il inclut votre famille, vos amis, vos connaissances, vos collègues, vos contacts professionnels et les amis de vos amis.
#3) Il y a des types d’avantages différents dans un réseau: des informations utiles, des conseils, des références et des encouragements. Tout est important.

A New Challenge

As some of you have already known, I moved to Paris a week ago while the situation of Brexit (soft or hard or delayed or another outcome) remains a daily spectacle.
To make the long story short, I have decided to fulfil a promise that I made to myself when I moved to London 15 years ago. It is to live in Paris (as a member of the society, not as a tourist).
To do that, I have resigned from my day job as a financial analyst, but I am keeping my second job as a life coach.
Well, as a French friend said to me, “You are going to create a scandal in Paris!” while a British friend commented, “You are bringing your drama to Paris!”.
Whatever it is, it will be a big challenge and fun. I always say (and will continue do so) that life is a journey of different experiences and we should make the best out of it.
So people, watch this space as I may have a lot of time while as a job seeker catching up with my blog-writing among other things.

Mental Health First Aider

About 2 weeks ago, I participated in a training to become a mental health first aider. It is a new initiative among companies in the U.K. to provide “first line” assistance for people in crisis using the successful framework of physical first aid.

I attended the training for two main reasons: First, it was to better equip myself to help. Second, (related to the first one) to reduce my own misunderstanding (bias on mental health).

Mental health like physical health is our well-being. There are good and bad days. It is also a spectrum rather than a binary matter and it can swing between better and worse.

Don’t give advice on mental health unless you are trained professionally (beyond the mental health first aid training). Do provide information for professional help.

Make sure you are safe before helping others. Act sensibly but not on ungrounded fears.

Don’t judge. We don’t know what the person is going through in his/her life. There are many causes of mental health problems which include heredity. Be there to listen and support non-judgmentally.

Cross-Cultural Awareness (5): Have Fun

This won’t be the last blog on this subject, but I think it may be good to write about other topics as well.
My last word on this subject (for now) is to have fun and enjoy the ride.
There will be inadvertently ups and downs along the way, but it is part of the journey.
Don’t get too upset when you are down. Remember there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Celebrate new cultural knowledge and understanding acquired and welcome people of different culture into your circle of friends and family.
Enjoy the melting point of culture:>

Cross-Cultural Awareness (4): Find and Build Connection

One way to enhance your appreciation of another culture is to focus on the aspects that you can connect and relate to personally.
For example, if you love food and wine, you probably enjoy it in France and Italy (not an exhaustive list here).
If you like music, visiting Germany and Austria is probably music to your ears.
If you like fashion, France (in particular Paris) is the good place to be.
At a different level, if you are more individualistic (not passing a judgment here), you may feel more at home in the Anglo-Saxons countries like the U.S.A and U.K.
If you have a non-linear and more flexible mind set with time, the Latin-based cultures such as Spain, France and Italy probably suit you more than Germany or the Netherlands.
There is no perfect match but identifying the link(s) “up close and personal” may help you appreciate more about a different culture and relate to it better.

Cross-Cultural Awareness (3): Hard Work

Hard work is quite needed to get a better handle of a different culture.
It may include reading books, listening to music, watching movies as well as discussing with others about it.
Most important of all, pay attention, observe and ask questions with an open mind.
All these activities require time and effort. It is logical that there is extra work as you did not grow up in that culture.
Like learning all new things, nothing can replace hard work which is a key element of success.

Cross-Cultural Awareness (2): Not Personal

If you come across something unpleasant in a foreign country, stop yourself from taking it personal (though the incident happened to you at a personal level).
A similar incident may happen to most foreigners in that country (not that it would make you feel better). Often time, it may be a matter of miscommunication due to the differences in culture and language.
A few weeks ago, I was in a supermarket in Paris and I lined up on a checkout line in a civilized manner. The cashier starred at me for some reason before it was my turn (well – I am no stranger to being starred, so I did not pick up the hint) and at some point she shouted at me to get off the queue. I got her point that I should not be in that line but I did not know why (Let us say I was “traumatized” as being shouted as it is a stranger to me :>). I departed from the queue promptly and reminded myself not to take it personal. “Out of the blue” (really!) the sign of a line designated for pregnant women and the elderly floated (figuratively) up in the front of me and voila – I was in the wrong being distracted by sales items (still did not make the cashier right to shout me, but at least she did not classify me as an elderly).

Cross-Cultural Awareness (1): Understanding

Recently I have attended a “Cross-cultural Awareness “ workshop and subsequently read 2 books on the same subject.
I would like to share some of the key points.
1) More understanding before judging
Sometimes when we don’t know why people of a different culture act or behave in a completely unexpected way, we have a tendency of making a judgment too fast. We burst out remarks casually such as “Oh, that is horrible.” & “That is unacceptable”. A better approach may be trying to understand (researching or asking the “native”) before reaching a conclusion. In many cases, there are (historical or cultural) reasons why they behave differently. Try to view things from their (cultural) perspective before forming your own opinions.