Destiny

destinyDo you believe in destiny? Do you believe that some things are just meant to be, and that some things are never meant to be?

That some things are meant to be for now, but not for ever? That some people come into our lives for some time, but not for ever?

I must admit, that I do believe in it to some extent. Not to the extent like blind faith, that if something terrible happens then it is meant to be, and that if something good is going to happen then I need do nothing but sit back and wait, but in the sense that certain things do seem to happen for a reason, and other times, even when we think it will not happen, everything comes together to ensure it does.

This seems to be how it goes for me and jobs. I never really planned my career path in life, I just set out one day on a path somebody else suggested, and somehow I ended up moving to Switzerland and then moving to Germany. In Switzerland I did not work initially, instead I spent time having and raising our children, but then, when I decided to go back to work I decided to apply for a job as an office administrator and bookkeeper. My German ability was nowhere near good enough to take business calls and write business letters, but I knew I could do the bookkeeping side. Plus it was a full time job and I only really wanted to work part time. But I did not let this put me off, I applied, I went for interview, and what do you know? They liked me so much, and could see potential, plus that I was a native English speaker, so they split the job and offered me the bookkeeping part, half days.

It was meant to be. Then after a year and a half, it became clear the company was going under, and along came a job with an International American company in Accounting, full time. I went to the interview thinking, that if it is meant to be, then it will be. I was therefore relaxed. I knew my Swiss Accounting by then, I spoke a passable German and I spoke perfect English. I got the job and never looked back.

That job came at the perfect time, my girls were old enough to be independent, so I could work full time, and when my husband lost his job, my salary allowed me to support the family and pay his retraining costs.

It was meant to be, and so when the opportunity to move to Germany came up with the same company, then I took it. The time was right, and I knew there had to be a reason to do it.

Now nearly 5 years on, it is time to move again. My oldest is settled in her own place and studying, the youngest has finished school with a good diploma, which if we had stayed in Switzerland she would never have attempted. Next she will study or find her own way in the world. My job has changed so much, it is no longer the job it once was for me, and I miss my friends back in Switzerland. So last year  I started looking around, seeing what was on the market. I was applying in Germany and in Switzerland, but nothing was coming up in Switzerland. In Germany I got further than I expected with two different jobs, which boosted my confidence, but also showed me that I did not want to commit to more years in Germany. I wanted to go back. I thought it,and I voiced it. I told all my friends back in Bern that I would like to come back.

Lots of jobs came up, but I was not getting anywhere with them, they were all too Swiss, not international enough. Then in December my tablet fell off the chair and broke. I had to get a new one. I bought one from a Chinese firm that up to that point I had not heard of. Then I started seeing news items on this firm, how good it was doing, how good the products are. Then on the internet came in a job from the same company, based in Zürich. I felt a tingle of excitement. I opened the link, to see that the HR was in Zürich, the job was in Bern. Bern is my city, where I want to be. Plus the office for this company is just 900 metres from the Swiss office of where I am now. It was meant to be. I felt so strongly that this job was meant to be, so i wrote a letter of application which was full of enthusiasm and passion. I knew the job was for me.

The company responded almost immediately inviting me for interview. It was close to Christmas, and Bern is a long way. I suggested a telephone interview to start with:

“no”, said the lady, “we don´t do telephone interviews”.

Okay, so I agreed to go down, and asked if they would pay my travel expenses. A day passed, and suddenly they could do a telephone interview, as an exception, as we were so close to Christmas. 🙂

The first interview was scheduled by skype for the 19th Dec, and I planned it from home. But then on the day, there was a medical emergency for them, and they cancelled it. I was very glad that I was not on a train to Bern.

So we rescheduled for January, and it turned out they had offices in Frankfurt too, near mine and with teleconferencing facilities. So I went there, only when I got to the address it turned out they had moved in December, and nobody had updated the website or informed the Swiss office. Thankfully the new office was not far from the old, but far enough to mean that the walk to it plus ringing the doorbell that nobody answered made me already late. Finally a Chinese person coming to the office appeared and let me in, thank goodness.

This was not a great start to an interview, and I would not recommend it, but it was okay. At the Swiss end only one person was on the call, 2 were missing. Then suddenly we were 3, but only had the call until 10, a mere 45 minutes. I was being interviewed by the Chinese FD, a Spanish controller and a Swiss MD. They asked technical questions which I could not always answer. The Chinese guy was hard to understand, and my English was “too good”, he had trouble understanding me. Then at 10 on the dot, the video conference ended mid sentence, in fact just after they had asked me my salary expectations and looked surprised at the figure and asked if I would take any less.

To be honest, I then doubted it was meant to be, for to me the interview had not gone well. So imagine my surprise when their HR contacted me to say they were really positive and wanted to do a second interview.

Between the first and the second interview I kept seeing Chinese people on the train, and a BBC documentary came on the TV about the company. I read up on technical stuff in preparation for interview number two. Number two was by phone, from home with 2 people sitting in Dusseldorf. I could have gone up there, but nobody suggested it. These were tax guys, and both Chinese again. They asked me lots of tax questions, and again I could not answer them all. The questions did however give me insights as to what their current issues seemed to be. The interview went okay, but there were still issues understanding each other, plus of course I did not have all the answers. However I was honest and I think that is what at the end of the day they were looking for. I have since found out that the previous incumbent of the job had been fired and why he was fired. I think they were looking for someone they can trust.

So after the second interview, I again thought I had blown it, but again HR contact me full of positive words and said next stage was to meet the Chinese MD in Bern. So I said okay, I will come to Bern. Days went by, no word, I contacted them and heard they were struggling to find when people were there. Then just when I was thinking once again that it was not meant to be, they called me. They had decided that I had met enough people, did not need to meet the MD, they wanted to offer me the job. They asked me to compete a form to finalise the process.

This was from a company who had not yet physically met me, and who at first did not do telephone interviews. It was destiny.

I completed the form, and on it they asked the salary again. I checked online, and found that I could ask for more, so I did, asking for more than the figure I had given at the first interview. They came back with an offer, and a salary that was even higher than I had put on the form. I was ecstatic 🙂

I went down to Bern last week to sign the contract, only that was also not so easy. It was Chinese new year last week, and most people were away. I met my future boss, the Chinese FD, who was still not easy to understand. I looked at the offices and visited the Zurich office. All was good, I was keen, but the contract was missing and the Chinese MD had to sign it and he would not be back until Monday. So I stayed on a day, working from our Swiss office. And finally at 4pm, after several phone calls, it all came together. The contract showed up, the MD was there, and he signed it without meeting me. I signed mine, and it was a done deal. The new job starts 1 June and I cannot believe it.

So now back in Germany I have handed in my notice and am planning the move back. I have 3 months notice requirement here, which actually works well as we have to get our tenants out too. For my new future boss 3 months is way too long, they need me now, but I promised to see what  I can do to get there a bit earlier, and every day now since I returned he has been sending me a mail, with the tax question of the day. Clearly tax was his big issue. And every day I have been able to answer the question, so I think he is now a happy guy, and I also feel way more confident about this job. After all, it is meant to be.

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