Aug 12, 2010

Not-so-neutral feelings about Switzerland

I had a job interview yesterday.  In Switzerland.  And I don't know what to think.

But let's start from the beginning.  First, we'll set the scene.  It's been almost a year since I've had a job (I stopped saying I don't "work", as writing a novel surely counts as work - but it's not a job unless someone pays you and actually thinks you're any good.)  My finances are so low they're about to win a limbo competition.  All my friends, aware of my reputation as shoe expert extraordinaire, drag me shoe shopping and let me roll around the floor in pain while they buy out the store and leave me empty-handed.  I've stopped finding time to go to the gym or re-work more than one chapter a day because it interferes with my lounging around and not doing anything.  My brain has turned to mush and I can't even remember that my friends have already had their children, while I keep asking for their due dates.  Never mind still being able to do things like count or recite the alphabet.

It's time to face the facts.  I need to get back into the rat race.  If for no other reason than otherwise Res, as you know her, may cease to exist entirely.

So I started looking for a job.  Which should have been a piece of cake, or so I thought.  Excuse the appalling arrogance of the phrase you're about to read but, well, my CV is pretty damn awesome.

And yet.

It seems that no one in France wants me.  And very few people outside of France are interested either.  I'm overqualified.  I'm not French enough.  I'm too American (in that case, does that mean I get a green card?!)  I'm too specialized.  I'm not specialized enough.  They don't want someone who's done consulting.  They don't want someone who's been a litigator.  They worry I might be too nice.  Not nice enough.  And definitely vertically challenged.

And then a miracle happened.  A woman called.  She told me that a certain organization that shall remain nameless (for their sake, mostly!) was looking for someone with dual legal and business skills.  That they liked the fact that I had an unusual background.  That my patchwork of national influences was perfect.

Oh boy, it felt so good to be loved again.  And so I pulled out the black Hugo Boss suit from the back of the closet (miraculously, it still fit, albeit a bit more snug) hurried to the airport (narrowly missing my flight), flew Swiss Air (which apparently has risen from its ashes like the proverbial phoenix) and ended up in a city bordered by mountains (wait - they call that a city? but it has gardens everywhere and is barely the size of one Parisian arrondissement?...) to sit for part two of a three-part interview process.

I liked it.  I had fun.  My brain got some exercise, the verbal sparring brought me back to my glory days and all of a sudden I felt proud again.  Important.  Valued.

Which is when all the questions started pouring in.  Do I need a job to feel valued?  And does that job have to involve long hours and moving to Switzerland?  Do I have to quit the dream of being a writer?  What if it doesn't make me happy?  What if nothing makes me happy?  What if I don't have time to finish the book?  And am I prepared to leave my brand new apartment that I so lovingly redecorated?  And what about the fact that I have no friends in this particular city in Switzerland (a statistical anomaly given my lifestyle and the global reach of the INSEAD network, but there you have it).

Needless to say, I had trouble getting to sleep.  It's the morning after, now, and stress levels are high.  Fortunately, I have the blog to spill my angst into.  And a new motto I can grasp onto, thanks to Andi's discovery and a fun little website.  So I'm going to take a deep breath.  Put Switzerland on pause.  And hit chapter 13.

1 comment:

stallie said...

Hi I(p)sa,
I do recognise so much of this story but I can tell you a few things about taking a job in Switzerland. My sis did that about a year ago and she also hesistate because of many reasons. She lost many things (a boyfriend and friends) but made tons of new ones. Also they had told her many facts about the Swiss and their social behaviour! One year later she is afraid of moving back to her new boyfriend (who is very serious about relationships but happens not live in vibrant environment!!!) and a new job where she will need to adjust once more.

My sis is now the equivalent of a person who studied in France, studied Italian in Brussels and lived and worked down there as well and then decided that German would be a nice benefit to her CV. Jumped on a plane as well for a job interview and then just followed her guts that this new adventure would bring her some answers. She got more out of that one year then she ever hoped for.

I will miss Switzerland as well becuase it became to me much more then just mountains, Milka Chocolate, purple cows, big banks filled up with goldbars,....

And yes, the part about finding a job that is worthwhile and fits into each category of your life is very hard.

The writing part will be the most challenging of all but of what I have read so far I think you can do it all!

Moving to Switzerland and taking on a brand new challenge might even turn your book into an even bigger bestseller!!

The Hugo Boss suit will come in handy when you walk through the city! The Swiss men I have seen in their power suits seemed to have walked out of one those commercials! And did they smell good!

Good luck whatever you decide!!