Posts Tagged German

Sunday Column (510)

I wanted to publish a different post this week. As you can imagine I have a lot of thoughts and love writing to comprehend them, to work through new input I am getting from podcasts, work and life in general. That’s one of my things. My creative outlet. So there are always a few posts in the pipeline. But then a few things happened which made me think, and I wanted to share those thoughts.

After last weekend’s 20 mile run, I wanted to run 22 miles on Friday. However, I came down with the man flu, aka as a common cold, and therefore didn’t run. I guess I am ready to go the marathon distance already, but will have to do a 22 mile run before the event. Hopefully I am better by next weekend to tackle that one.
And, we are lucky with the dry weather. The crystal clear air, filled with cobwebs and mist, that slowly burns away by a low standing sun. It’s mystical almost. One of my most favourite times of the year, and I was told that San Francisco is like that all year around. Wouldn’t that be nice?

In Germany we celebrated the reunification, it must have been 29 years since the wall came down. We plan a trip to Germany again soon. I want to show the boys the fatherland, introduce them to Berlin, some history. I couldn’t imagine to ever go back and live there but I want to at least experience it. So as a matter of fact, I am looking forward to it. Hope the boys and the family will like it too.

A podcast I recorded with a German living in Los Angeles this week, brought up the topic of greater German (or any nation’s) collective unconscious. Allegedly it takes 7 generations (or 140 years) for it to clear. So Germans still look at the Great Depression and two worldwars in their collective unconscious. That would explain some of the stereotypes and values I see in myself as well, like a need for security, cautious, not wanting to make mistakes, and being the good person. Interesting isn’t it? Or it is over-interpretation? It’s difficult for me to compare that to any other nation of course. The inheritance of a nation or even family, I remember studying family constellations at university, is a highly sensitive yet fascinating topic. Watch out for the podcast with Conni when it goes live, I really enjoyed that conversation.

Life goes in cycles, and there is only one certainty. This week I learned that an industry friend died at the age of 49. When I attended the industry trade shows recently, I saw him and we had a chat. This week I also caught up with a mentor who had health problems when I was working for him. It was good to see he is better for now. Those moments are when you pause for a second, take a deep breath in, and breathe out. I don’t know about the exact circumstances, but I know that in our small industry I know a few people, and we are close. We look after each other, and it is always with great sadness to hear someone passing away or being ill. It affects me. One reflects on priorities, the focus we discussed a few weeks back. One thinks about their own lifestyle, health choices and how long one might have back on the clock. And then it’s business as usual, isn’t it?

So a bit of a melancholic week almost. Taking a flight on a Saturday missing a family weekend isn’t nice but to see a bit of the world prior to a conference makes up for it. Monsoon season though 🙁 A weekend to myself, 10 hours of uninterrupted time on a plane. To relax, reflect, write, read and sleep. What’s not to like?

I will tell you all about it next week. For now, have a great week, enjoy the autumn and stay well.

Volker

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (473)

Now this week has picked up a bit. More emails, more conversations, more responses. Yes, there is a market for jobs out there and we are in the process of making progress. Generally, recruiters say between end of January and mid March is the best time, so fingers crossed. One meeting at a time. This week and next week I’ll be in London more often, discussing projects and jobs. It feels like the world has come alight after a long, dark winter. Did I mention that I texted a mate to catch up and he said he was exploring Australia. Can’t blame anyone doing that? We always had that thought and yet, we just like our comfort, the comfort of our own home. Weird isn’t it? I am just not as adventurous and like stability. We even saw some natural light this week and I could swear there was some sunshine too!

It’s been almost a year that I am British. My free entry to some heritage site is expiring, so I got a reminder 😉 Wow. And the other day I was swearing about the Brits. That is nothing new as I do the same with the Germans too 🙂 Just as if you get used to be someone and then hate the fellowship of others. Not sure that makes sense. You are part of a group and then notice that some people in that wider group are just a pain in the bum. This is just normal. Actually, there is another thought. Normal: have you ever noticed that you start talking to someone and realising they have very similar or same thoughts or opinions on things. Maybe it is a ‘normalisation’ but essentially the majority of us are having the same opinion on most topics. At least in my experience. Of course that depends on education, income, job etc. but just without prejudice there is what I would call a ‘normal’ attitude out there. When I shared a video about a Brit swearing at a Pole in the tube about Brexit, I got lots of comments that were in line with what I was thinking. Yet I am not always that explicit 😉 Also, I was having drinks with a friend for New Year, and most of the ‘hot topics’ we totally agreed. And we are different otherwise and had so much fun picking things apart. Anyway, I love being here, being British and don’t really feel that German at all anymore. I interviewed a German in my podcast this week and we agreed on something he wrote in his book: ‘In Germany, failure and to fail is still a stigma; in the US or UK it is seen as learning and progress, almost as success.’ – we will pick that one apart another time.

Job hunting is different. You are the one that is looking and your 100% focus is on finding a job. Yet the recruiter has 100 people looking for a job, different levels, and also has to coordinate with the companies she recruits for. So you are just one little priority of many. Having said that, some recruiters are really good in balancing that and keeping you entertained, engaged and ready to drop anything for an interview. Others are not so, which is probably the focus they have as of above. Which is fine, as they have to make money too. Knowing that you can almost always forget about recruiters, assuming they will get back to you when they have a job. And most will, but of course not all of them. It is a funny game, and start to finish can take time. That’s why it is always easier to look for a job from a job. Fingers crossed we are moving closer down the road with some jobs now. But it is a fine line of not annoying a recruiter and keeping front of mind. Apologies if I annoyed anyone, but I do like to move on, I am going mad 😉

On other notes, as of above, I really enjoy recording those podcasts. It seems that I almost found a vocation. Asking questions about success, leadership and analysing the differences between countries and cultures is fascinating. When thinking about personal development, that’s where I see myself in a few years’ time: executive coaching for high achievers, based on how they define success. Holding talks on researched topics like that and speaking to C-Levels about ‘what success really means’ and helping them via workshops to identify what they need to action in order to climb up the career ladder further, or to gain a greater WLB (Work Life Balance). Latter is key to most success, and I have said that in the past, and all of my current interviewees have agreed to that. There is a pattern emerging already, and my first interview was released on Friday via Stories Of Success.

And that’s all for this week to be honest. I am trying to not go too stir crazy and balance the job search with family life and relaxing time. To be honest I have been neglecting hobbies but the editing of podcasts takes a lot more time than anticipated. Yet it isn’t work, as I really enjoy doing it. I just cannot make enough money with it. Maybe one day 😉

Cheerio, have a fantastic start in the week,
Volker

, , , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (429)

Last week was a turning point. I believe, and I mentioned that to my wife, that the next few weeks will be a turning point in our life. There are changes coming up, chapters being closed. I start writing this as I am sitting to wait for a delayed flight to Hamburg on Sunday night. So a week ago, prior to Sunday Column 428 being published. Crazy, but that is my creative output. I love writing, keeping myself busy with thinking and strategising. About anything and everything really. I was asked this week what my next book is about, and I said, probably it is about my life, or life or something. No plans yet…

At the weekend we started to speak more German at home. My wife started taking private tuition and the boys tried understanding what I am talking about. I translate the sentences simultaneously. This is only the beginning but we try to become more bi-lingual at home. The weekend was productive with us having done some spring gardening and we finally built the hedgehog house. It was a good weekend, the wife and I went out, maybe a few too many drinks, but hey, that happens now and then. Not many occasions when we can go out to celebrate. Then we had our yearly debate if St. Patrick’s day is actually the first time we met and kissed. Anyway, don’t let me get into that.

Further, I closed the chapter of writing a productivity book. I sent the final drafts off to publishers at Christmas but didn’t get a positive response. So I put it on Amazon Kindle on Sunday, a link is to the right of the post. It is free to download in the first week, but I decided to make little noise about it. A good read I find, and if people are interested, they will find it. I have other focus at the moment than productivity books and worked on them for a few years now. Time to put that to bed. So closing this chapter and focusing on other things is good. Maybe the new book about life 😉

On the other hand I opened a chapter at work. Not only the first 30 minute presentation at a conference for this employer, but also in German! So a double challenge but it went well. So did the panel the next day. I am trying to help out where I can to present the company and hence I flew out to Germany on Sunday. I will continue to be in Germany more often, as I temporary help in the German market. It will be a drag flying, but it is going to be a lot of fun too and a great challenge. Having said that, I had to wait 4 hours for my Easyjet flight coming back, so no more Easyjet for me. The delays were getting to much and I am only back to travelling, so Heathrow it is unfortunately as it is a pain to get there for an early morning flight, and BA or Eurowings instead of Easyjet. The joys. Travelling is never glamorous, and I was hoping to do less, now probably going to do more. But I love a challenge, a chapter and the opportunity to help and support. That’s who I am, that’s what I do, that’s what I enjoy. And work is very good about it too!

As one chapter opens, another closes they say. I travelled with my German passport. I have done since I moved to the UK in 2001. Yet, since Wednesday, I can be hopeful to soon get the British passport too. I pledged my allegiance to the Queen and became a British national. Now I am British and German, soon with two passports. Wow, who would have guessed. It all happened quicker than anticipated in the end. And the application for the passport has been sent. Exciting times ahead. It feels like yesterday that a friend of mine and I discussed this, sitting over lunch in Farringdon. He said, now you know the process, it is easy to do and you don’t know what the future holds. It gives you security he said. He was right. Security and peace of mind. I beat him to it too 😉

I feel at ease. I feel like spring cleaning my life a bit. I put a lot of energy into the new job and really enjoy the challenge. Is it much different to what I am used to? Yes and no. As a friend of mine said the other day: good tech, great people, and you realise how much you know and how much experience you have. Sometimes you don’t realise how much you know, but in this line of work I very much rely on my experience often and enjoy it. Yet, there are new challenges, different experiences, which help me grow and go outside of what I know. Keeping me on my toes. It is great to see the positive difference you can make. And a great team I have!

Then amongst the travel, I listened to a podcast by Tim Feriss, where one of his guests, John Crowley, who has children with a disease, talks about the IPO with his business. His business is in the biotech space to save humans like his children from this particular disease. When he came home after two weeks on the road after the IPO, his daughter woke up when he kissed her goodnight. He said she would be proud of what he has done. And she said, she was proud and that she saw him on TV. He said, what do you think of me on TV? She said he looked short.
In her next breath she asked whether he was around tomorrow to take her to school. That was the most important part for her.
I understand that feeling. The boys aren’t interested if I speak at a conference or close a mayor sales to bring home money to buy the Lego Deathstar (which I refuse to do btw). They care if I bring sweets or if I take them to school the next day. And that’s how it should be. It is important for me to be up at 6 am on a Sunday to do colouring in or build a model of Bumblebee. That should always be our focus, to spend time with our loved ones, to teach them, to help them, to be with them, to share moments with them. And with all the travel, and my wife planning to go back to work, this is still the main priority and focus. And we make it work, as we make anything work we want to make work. Just like turning a page in a book, we move on with life.

Of course we cannot be there 24/7. But when we are there, we need to be in the moment. We must be with them and make sure they see that. We must help them to understand the world and share the experience. I have done that a lot lately with my boys. Individually. Together. I feel better for it and so does my relationship with them.

Have a great week and give your loved ones a big hug.

Love and Kindness from my corner of the world,
Volker

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (221)

It has been a rock’n roll week. Quite frankly I am tired out tonight, so this is going to be a short one. I had a fantastic weekend with both friends and family, a BBQ, and lots of sun. Also, I truly enjoyed last week’s bank holiday Monday with the family, we finally got some sun and I got a sunburn 🙁 it is great to spend time with the boys and the wife. I was still tired from my extensive weekend cycle ride which I enjoyed very much! On top of that it looks like we got yet another cold or virus or something. We all felt under the weather, headaches and coughs mainly, tiredness. Onwards and upwards, not to moan of course 🙂

Also this week, we finally got confirmation that we own all the land we live on. Might sound funny but almost a year on we now got it in black and white that all the land is ours, including a 1 by 3 metre strip in the front of the house. Don’t ask 😉 but yes, happy days.

every morning

I had more interviews and more opportunities coming my way. From start-up to corporate, free-lance to full-time. I am confident something will work out as a full time position, although I have been busy for myself too. Hopefully I finalise my first book draft by end of June and also finish some other things I wanted to do for quite some time. The world is your oyster. As a friend said: embrace it. However, I decided that for now I won’t move forward with self employment but instead focus on finding a career move. So watch this space.

My ‘Buddhist thought‘ column will change into an every other week feature. The reason is simply that I have written it for quite some time and think it gets a bit too repetitive, despite me having less time. I am sure I come up with a new idea. Again, watch that space.

But what else is happening? The boys speak more German. Or at least Colin does. Tschüß for instance when I leave the house or Apfelsaft asking for his juice. The latest is ‘Papa’ instead of ‘Daddy’. It is nice to see that part of the effort is paying off. Rohan in the other hand is a pickle. He did sleep through the odd night this week but generally is still a hand full. So sleep deprivation comes on top of all the other moans too 🙂 Ok, I stop here.

Overall it was a good week, and I appreciate the time I have with the boys more and more. However, I also spend a lot of time networking and working, but it is so good to have breaks and cuddles with them I wouldn’t normally be able to have. But it is also time to go back to work, earn money and progress with my career. Unless I will win the lottery after all and just put my feet up. Wishful thinking!

Have a great week!
Volker

, , ,

No Comments

another week- am I German?

Another week. I almost feel back in my old job with our weekly report.

This week I was up in our HQ in York for two days and had 3 extreme busy days in the office. Even better my Saturday will be spent going to a vineyard in Kent. So do not expect any blurb later today 🙂

Just wanted to say, being on Facebook and all, you see all these status messages about what people are up to. Some of my friends were at the Next08 in Hamburg. I was at the Next07 in Berlin last year and really enjoyed it. Good conference, good blurb in the industry. Now, being away from the German Online Market a bit, it seems so distant.

That brings me to what I wanted to write about. Last night a girl from Latvia (?) asked me whether I like driving fast, referring to the Autobahn. And, I did not have anything to say about it. I look at the German market and feel very distant.

I think I slowly but surely break my ties with the country I was born in. No question that I am German and surely it comes out in a lot of things I am doing, attitude wise, however, I am not sure if I ever want to go back there. Every time I am back I enjoy being there but living there, I really do not know.

With us buying a house in London, being in London, flying out of London, settling here, there is no need to do that either, is there? My home will be Germany, because that is where I was born. But my chosen home is England, Scotland really, but I cannot see myself living anywhere else but the UK at the moment.

Then again, I saw CSI New York last night and the pictures from New Zealand and……

Have a good weekend, Volker Ballueder

, , ,

No Comments