The job advisor

 

A teacher from my language course had mentioned the Welcome Centre in Stuttgart provided a professional advice service and I thought ‘Great!’. Because I had a university degree, I was assigned an ‘academic’ career advisor and had to wait for about a month until I could meet with her.

Finally, the day came. I printed my resume in German and in English as well as reference letters and copies of diplomas and certifications, dressed nicely and went there with some hope of being guided in the right direction.

After saying ‘Guten Morgen’, the advisor said: ‘So, what language are we speaking? German or English?’. Maybe I’m being oversensitive but I felt the phrasing was a bit rude. Anyways, I said I felt more comfortable in English and then tried to explain my career path and current situation. She interrupted me and went through her questionnaire (which was basically what I wanted to say in the first place!). Then she told me: ‘Okay, you need to speak German. And I mean really good German, fluent German. There’s no other way’. It was so discouraging to hear that… Everyone else always repeated that the B1 level was good enough to work in Germany, what a fool I had been! She didn’t even bother to check my resume. Suddenly I felt that I was no longer the strong and driven professional who had accomplished so much for her age, who finished first and received distinctions during her master’s degree, who coordinates projects at a national and international level, who is well connected and so on. No. Now I was one more immigrant.

Suddenly I felt that I was no longer the strong and driven professional who had accomplished so much for her age, who finished first and received distinctions during her master’s degree, who coordinates projects at a national and international level, who is well connected and so on. No. Now I was one more immigrant.

I have learnt that in this country my previous achievements don’t matter anymore. I’m anonymous now. Almost invisible. Most people, including this advisor, don’t even assume I have accomplished anything of interest.

This happened back in July. Although it was a disappointing encounter I didn’t let me down and continued thinking of other strategies. But more on that for later.

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3 Comments

  1. They work off a script. No German, no job. Which is all kinds of stupid. There is an ingrained standard that only a local is able to do the job. Also, they can’t fathom that someone else could actually achieve something. The darker your skin, the lower you should be in the pecking order. Know your place. Apply for the cleaning jobs. That’s their attitude. Sounds like you have one helluva resume. That’s tough on them. But that’s their problem. Congrats on achieving what you did so far!!!! Sounds like you fast tracked, which seriously, if I was hiring, those are the people I’d be looking for.

    There are a few decent people. I’d actually just go to the companies directly. Forget the career advisor. I’m sure they have slots they need to fill for various jobs. So they profile before anyone comes in. I overheard this at a career fair where we lived ages ago. One rep. told an applicant that English is not a second language, it’s basic knowledge.

    That’s your advantage (mine, too, if I’d decided to stay, and I speak perfect German – even if need be Swabian). They’ll try and put you to the end of the line because they’re embarrassed that they can’t do something as well as a foreigner. Can’t be bested by one. But there are those who are willing to hire. Maybe remind them in a subtle way that they can actually get English practice out of you.

    Break a leg!

    Like

    1. Hi HelsinkiBudapest, thanks for your support, energies and advice!!!! 🙂 Since the advisor experience, I’ve applied directly to companies, and have realised that the only ones who’ve called me for an interview or invited me to a test were international companies whose headquarters and executive board are not in Germany. German companies, even if the position doesn’t require German, haven’t called me yet, which shows how discrimination is institutionalised in this country.

      Like

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