It is no exaggeration to say that my life changed completely when I moved from Moscow to Bonn. Although I had visited Germany on business for the first time 10 years earlier, and in my previous job I had worked closely with German colleagues, I had never before lived outside Russia.
For a start, there were fewer people around me: 300,000 instead of about 12 million! Also the pace of life seemed much slower – in Moscow I was used to running here, there, and everywhere each day; in Bonn things seemed more relaxed. And I had a lot more time on my hands because my daily commute to work reduced from one hour each way to just a short walk. By my calculation, this alone has given me back some 40 useful hours per month.
I Hadn't been looking to disrupt my life, but I was keen to explore new opportunities
I hadn’t been looking to disrupt my life; in fact it was the DHL Consulting team that found me and invited me to a recruiting event in Bonn, Germany. I was working as a manager in consulting with Accenture but I was keen to explore how I could get closer to clients, to actually see the results being achieved on a global scale. It’s very important to me to feel useful and deliver value – I like to succeed at something worthwhile every day, and this of course creates a win-win situation for clients, my employer and me.
During the interview process, I wanted to be honest describing what I know, what I can do and where I could see my value for DHL Consulting. In particular, I described my digitalization experience as this an area of growing importance for Deutsche Post DHL Group and other customers.
100 days ago, I was lucky enough to be assigned a wonderful mentor, my “personal developer” as we call it. She has become a person I can trust and share my doubts with. I was also fortunate to start working on a project with a great partner. From the first word, we understood each other clearly – there was no sense of cultural difference between us because we already shared a common professional background. At no point was I afraid to ask questions; my peers always went out of their way to provide answers and support, especially if I felt pushed from my usual comfort zone.
Starting new in a foreign country was hard, but Totally worth it
People have helped me so much that I’ve quickly made four good friends at work and now feel part of the team.
My first month was the hardest, but I told myself that from rock bottom the only way is up! The consulting environment was intense and I had to adapt to a lot of new standards and procedures. On top of that, I was dealing with a whole new world outside work.
My apartment had no furniture – it was the first of many extraordinary discoveries for me! I had to buy everything I needed, an experience that makes me feel I’m now truly grown up. Another surprise was the use of the postal service in Germany; I had no confidence that my new bank card would actually reach me in the mail (in fact it did, very swiftly) as in Russia a postcard can take 3 months to be delivered. I’ve also found paperwork to be difficult in Germany, but my colleagues are happy to help with this. I’m learning German but only gradually because I don’t have much spare mental capacity after a busy day at work.
If you’d told me 200 days ago that today I would be living and working in Germany, I would have said you’re kidding. But it’s true and it happened to me!