Archive | January, 2016


Before you move countries

So you’ve decided to move countries. Congratulations! Science, after all, is an international collaboration. Some say that science is a calling, and now, you have heard that call. You have decided to take the plunge and follow the science to somewhere you don’t call home.

This is the beginning of a whole new adventure, that will change you in ways you could never imagine. It will make you a global, citizen of the world. At the same time, it will be one of the most difficult and challenging things you will ever do.

Some things you can expect and plan for. Some of them you can’t.

Having moved countries twice, I wanted to share some of the best advice to make the transition as painless as possible.

SeaSideBefore you arrive, the best thing you can do is prepare. Prepare like crazy. The earlier you can start the better.

1 Get your visas

If you need a visa, especially one that involves a visit to an embassy. Do this. Do this now! Embassies are notoriously difficult. When I needed to get there, the Israeli embassy in London was open Monday to Thursday, mornings only, except all Jewish religious, Israeli national and British national holidays. Which at the wrong time of year (which it was), meant it was open for about 3 days that month.

2 Learn some local dialect

If you’re moving to Germany and you don’t know any German, GET LEARNING GERMAN! It doesn’t matter if the institute you’re going to works in English.…

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Mentoring, not a question of chance

“If you do not choose your destiny, chance will”. My last mentor started our first meeting with this sentence and it made me think about my life. After many reflections, I concluded that I am a lucky person since I had many people who helped me take the right decisions. Now I have a wonderful, fulfilling job in an amazing, vibrant city. Unfortunately not everybody has the same satisfaction in their job. But the good story is that everybody can have a mentor helping them to choose their destiny.

The story of mentoring has its roots in Greek literature. In Homer’s Odyssey, a friend of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, is responsible for the education of Odysseus’ son, Telemachus. His name was Mentor. Later, Athena, Goddess of war and patroness of the arts and industry, helps Telemachus track down his missing father by assuming the form of Mentor and protects the youth from ambushes and other deadly hazards.

Thus the word mentor derives from the image of a loyal, wise, trusted advisor – a teacher, protector and guide who uses his/her experience to show a person how to overcome difficulties and avoid dangers.

Mentoring is nowadays used by many companies and it should be taken very seriously. This doesn’t mean that it cannot be fun. In any case it is highly fulfilling and rewarding.

In fact, mentoring is an eminently practical matter, vital to the development of individuals. Mentors can be teachers, relatives or friends. In my career, I had many mentors; most of them were unconscious of their role.…

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happy new year

New Year´s resolutions

This year I want to have a motivated start. No career with handbrake on, this is my New Year´s resolution. I dream about finishing each day with a little success, receive grand applause from my boss and colleagues and to finally hold the winner´s trophy in hands when it´s time for the next annual celebration of the department. It hurt too much to see my dear colleagues return to our table, touch glasses too their success, while I was secretly annoyed that they received the prize and not me. Days after the celebration I still think about whether the celebration is meant to motivate or demotivate. For those with the trophy next to their dessert it was of course motivating. But for the rest? I ask myself if the chosen ones were really that much better than me. The more I think about it, the more I get frustrated by the whole thing. A prize for reaching the revenue target? My boss was happy about it. But was it not also my achievement? What about countless acquisition calls I took over from him in happy new yearthe last quarter in order to keep his back free? Basically it´s almost blatant that he- and not me- got the trophy for it. Or the prize for the best advertisement flyer. I feel like belatedly lifting my arm and ask, “who made the brilliant photos? Who edited the texts? That was me, me, me!”

I slowly unpack my laptop and plug it into the docking station in my office.…

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