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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dual career partners: "success story saga" part.1

Few weeks ago as I was taking part in a workshop organized to support accompanying partners looking for a job in Switzerland, one of the participant shared with our small group her mixed feeling about such gatherings: she said it was somewhat demotivating to see so many expat’s partners looking for a job and that she would rather meet the ones who have successfully passed that stage.
I could very well relate to her feelings and explained to her that (un)fortunately partners who have successfully found a job are now fully busy in their new position and do not have any spare time left to join such kind of events.
I thought I should come back to this subject as such thoughts may not be isolated amongst just-landed expat’s partners and then I started investigating the topic by entering in “trailing partner with a job”. 
Guess what is the first position on the google page?
So far so good! I think I am doing something right there ;-)

That's how the idea came to ask some of the partners I coached to take 5 minutes to write their story, here is the first one of the saga I’d like to name “Dual career partners: success story saga”
Here is the chapter 1 of 3 of the Saga:

"Originally from France, I have spent the last 5 years studying abroad. After my graduation, I intended to settle down in North America. Not even two months after my graduation, my boyfriend tells me about this amazing opportunity in Switzerland that would help to kick-start his career. I did not have a job yet, I was a young graduate, so I thought I had nothing to lose: finding my first job in North America, in France or in Switzerland, what difference could it make? Well, it made a difference, and I will elaborate on this later.
August 2010 : We are in Neuchatel. It is now time to settle in. Being French and being used to live abroad I thought moving to Switzerland would not be much of a challenge for me... I was wrong. Even though Switzerland is a neighbored country of France, I still had to face quite a cultural shock: The mentalities are quite different here.
September 2010 : Time for me to look for a job! Even though I am a young graduate with not much working experience, I speak French and English, I have done internships, I have excellent recommendation letters... I have a very interesting profile and I am sure I will find something quickly; either an internship or an entry-level position in an international company...
It did not go quite as planned! First of all, I have been told that as a non-Swiss citizen, the migration office would not deliver a work permit for an internship. I cannot do an internship. Remains the possibility of finding an entry-level position : admin assistant. As it turns out, in Switzerland, they have a special degree for administrative assistants, that I do not have. On top of that, employers expect the admin assistants to remain admin assistants for their entire career.
“May 2011 : Still no job. Frustrated. Depressed. I want to leave. I am looking for internships in London.
My boyfriend’s company is afraid he may leave with me. So, they start a program with job4U2. Indeed, if I find a job, I stay in Neuchatel, If I stay, my boyfriend stays. Working with Sandrine from Job4U2 was the best thing that could happen to me. She helped me to better understand the Swiss culture and how job hunting should be done in Switzerland. Thanks to her I got many interviews for jobs that truly interested me.
October 2011: I have a job! I am happy. I am staying in Switzerland with my boyfriend”

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Sandrine van den Oudenhoven
job4U2, "relocation is a project for both"

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