About counting chickens and being one

And just where have I been all this time? Cat got my tongue…er typing fingers?

Pretty much.

You know those situations where you’re not sure who’s reading your blog and you’re dying to write about what’s on your mind but you just don’t want those thoughts and feelings falling under the wrong pair of eyes? That’s been partly to blame. I’m also the kind of person who’ll whine, rant and make fun of things when it’s insignificant, but if things get heavy, I clam up and clamp down until I figure my way through it. That about sums up about half of my year last year. What a waste.

Not wanting or feeling I could say much about what’s been going on, I’ve been completely seduced by my iPhone and its Facebook and Twitter apps. I didn’t get social networking until I got this gadget and now I’m checking in several times a day. Rather than write paragraphs on here, I’ve been summing my days up in one-liner updates and loving that freedom to the brief. But I’m ready for a bit more again.

Before anyone leaps to drastic conclusions, the world hasn’t come crashing to a halt. Personally, everything is great. Professionally, there is a lot left to be desired. Being an expat who immigrated for love and not career, I’ve worked my way to a pretty decent situation. But the fact that I am an expat who isn’t fluent in written German, (and still falls back on English in meetings when push comes to shove) but specialized in an area requiring good communication skills, means that my choices of employment are limited. I’ve had a good run where I am but this last year hasn’t been inspiring. There’s been a lot of stress and differing expectations, some butting heads and some hands thrown up in the air in exasperation. I like having a job and have strong pride issues about pulling my own weight and being independent, but at some point the question has to be asked, “what am I doing all this for?” Would I be happier somewhere else? And now the doubt creeps in. Can I find another job?

If this was the ‘homeland’, I’d feel a lot better about floating my resume around and seeing what happened. Thanks to the finance crisis – a term I am already sick of – I’m a bit concerned. ‘First hired, first fired’ is a term that readily comes to mind. Where I am, if push came to shove, there’s at least one person ahead of me in the line to walk the plank.

Looks like I may be jumping anyway though. We’ve been apartment hunting. Olli’s all but signed a contract and it looks like we’re moving. I say “looks like” because experience has shown me not to count any chickens until contracts are signed and sealed. This time it won’t be China, but it will be a change of accent and local dialect. It’s far enough away that a commute is really out of the question, but close enough where we’ve still looked for ways that we could swing staying (really impossible though). I think I know what I’m going to do, and I’m almost sure I’m ok with it. The hard part will be going through with it and finding out. I’m not loving my job much, but I really don’t love my chances for something new right now. This will be a smaller town, not as multicultural or international. A break for a month or two would be great actually, but only as long as I really felt it wasn’t forever, and a little part of me is worried.

It’s finally time to rip off the bandaid and start finding out. We’re a few weeks away from a countdown, but it’s pretty clear that our remaining time in Munich is limited.


4 responses to “About counting chickens and being one

  1. i know the feeling of making sacrifices in your career to be able to stay here. Not easy. I comfort myself knowing that (if/when) i do go back, I’ll stand out from the rest due to my experiences abroad. sigh.

  2. Hi Emily, I think in your case the international experience is a real plus and means a short term setback that will bring you long term rewards.

    As for me, it’s not that I’ve totally ruined my life, but I do always have to make my journey here make sense in an interview. Having worked briefly in HR myself, I know how well the ‘love immigrant’ argument comes across. It’s a bit better if you’re married, but still you’re tagged as having ‘domestic priorities’. Not ideal. And of course on top of that, I need to work for international companies where my English skills are a plus. It narrows the field significantly….and kinda makes me ask myself what I was thinking when I turned my nose up on law school and the like… darn social sciences! 😉

  3. Hey M, you and I have always shared parallel thoughts, perhaps even some of the same experiences.

    You know my story, and I wouldn’t say I’ve sacrificed because I didn’t move abroad for love. But the country I’m in has greatly limited what I can do no matter what language I speak, so I parlayed it into opportunities abroad while remaining here. However, I peaked a long time ago and am working on leaving now. Depending on my current partner is not an option because I’m the breadwinner, and he’s decided to defer to my career. So it’s up to me to make the big jump, slash the Gordian knot, and he will follow later. That’s why I’ve been quiet and why I identify a lot with what you say.

    My readership is significant enough that I restrain from advertising what I’m feeling or what I’m doing on serious matters. Undoubtedly, some people wish me well. However, I have a lot of people who disagree with what I write and therefore hate me and anything I do.

    I read your next installment and see that it’s pretty final, so whatever happens with you, please know that you have someone sending you good mojo. That’s me, in case there was any confusion. 😉

  4. Hi Kat,

    Thanks for that mojo! I think we do share a lot of parallel experiences, even though your motivation for the initial move was different from mine. Just like a lot of other expats abroad, we have these increased limitations that come with the choice we’ve made.

    For Olli and I, the move is a certainty. For me, I’m still not sure exactly what I will do. Going is for sure, it’s just a question of timing for me. I may linger another month and stubbornly finish some of what I’m deeply embroiled in before I go.

    It’s hard to walk away from a sure thing (even if I am miserable much of the time). But this may be just what I need to shake me out of my comfort zone and start taking risks again…before I get too damn old to be brave.

    Good luck with your transition and I hope your partner doesn’t have to wait too long to be able to follow.

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