Part of our relocation package – now a fairly distant ten months ago – was support for me to find a new gig in Switzerland. As I’ve written previously I’ve felt unsure about what I want to do with myself here (and generally) work-wise, especially since a lot of the time I feel like I’m on an extended holiday (however erroneous that may actually be). The employment consultants cautioned me that it takes an average of nine months to find work here – a figure that includes locals – but I somewhat arrogantly ignored this, assuming they were managing my expectations and that I would likely be considering a bunch of offers within weeks.
The process itself has been useful. It included the usual (I presume, not having needed such a service before) employment support: clueing me up to resume writing in a new country, the types of questions to ask, and how to behave in interviews. There were some really useful aspects: my consultant scoured advertisements and found likely matches for me, something it turns out I am waaaaay too lazy to do thoroughly myself when not desperate for work. It was also reassuring: not much was unexpected and as a result my confidence was boosted, which after eighteen months of
long walks, lunches and excessive social media use childrearing was welcome.
Some basic differences – they love a passport photo on a CV here, as well as inclusion of (in my opinion) not entirely relevant information such as my marital status and age. I’m still not committed to ‘international’ spelling (organization in particular kills me). Jobs aren’t advertised with the salary; this is something that is silently benchmarked and only really discussed once the position is offered. I was advised against too much ‘me’ and ‘I’ talk in the interview stage as it can be too showy and self promoting.
As it turns out, a lot of this was irrelevant. I applied for five roles during the time I had the employment support with a net call back of…zero. I don’t wish to sound arrogant, but this has been a decided first for me. I’ve got over 20 years experience in my field, and an undergrad and master’s degree, but said field doesn’t exist in even remotely the same context here making the aforementioned experience and education…redundant, as it were. Admittedly five is not many and I’ve been reviewing positions ever since, but between required travel (not impossible, but difficult with the little one and Tim’s commitments), not speaking any German (unless there’s a role that specialises in talking only about fruit and the various colours of dogs) and no direct connection between the required education and experience and mine – I’m in a bit of a pickle. I’m in the extremely fortunate position that I don’t absolutely have to work (don’t get me wrong, it’d be great for both our finances and my head space) but I’d be lying if I said my ego wasn’t wounded. I had always imagined smugly turning job offers down because I wanted to stay home with my little one, as opposed to having absolutely zero choice in the matter.
So with my pride somewhat battered, I decided to take a breather and reassess my options. After a lot of discussion with Motsy, we agreed I’d keep an eye on jobs and apply for anything that seemed feasible until the end of the year. If I had no luck doing this, I’d consider pitching to companies directly with more specific alignment with my skills. Alternately, I’d consider upgrading my education (which would also solve the head space issue) to something little more relevant and transferrable, perhaps an MBA. Failing all the above I was going to give in and drink chardonnay with lunch every day, because clearly being a stay at home mum is my destiny.
Which, as it turns out, is what I’ll stick at doing for the foreseeable future (sadly sans chardonnay). Because around the time these decisions were occurring another was unwittingly made: our second bub is on the way, due to arrive just in time for Christmas. To say I’m delighted is a complete understatement, and not least because it means a path has effectively been decided for me. Is that an epic copout? Perhaps. I’m surprised how much relief I feel at not actually having to be proactive – something I rarely shy away from. I’m not sure what, if anything, this means.
What I am sure of is that we’re pretty darn excited about the fourth Purler arriving. (I’m slightly concerned that Addie’s current favourite game is throwing the toy baby on the ground from various heights and giggling ‘uh-oh’, knowing full well it was no accident, but we’ve got months to iron that out.) Baby shopping is just about the cutest shopping there is and I intend to fully embrace it (maternity wear shopping…not so much). I’m also perversely pleased it’s another Christmas baby – they can complain together about how crap their birthdays are (or just get on board and embrace the festive time of year wholeheartedly). But mostly, this is – unlike my mythical Swiss job – something that we didn’t assume would come our way, and as such we feel like the luckiest family in the world.