Good advice versus bad advice

“The most significant advice I have gotten and always like to pass forward is that people should find mentors to learn from. When you find a passion and develop goals, you are best supported by learning with others. If your goal is difficult, it will continue to be difficult, but your path will be clearer and you will have access to more resources when you are surrounded by experts.

The bad advice that people should ignore is when someone says that what you are trying to do is impossible. I have been told many times in my journey that what I was trying to do was impossible – and I did it. It may sound cliché, but I have learned that with grit, hard work and the right people beside you, nothing is impossible.”

Taciana Pereira, Chief Scientif Officer, Allevi, in an interview to 3D Heals

Cultural aspects that you need to be aware of before you emigrate – part one

Columnist: Lucas Migray

The world is shaped by different cultures, and in a globalized world like ours, you need to have certain intercultural skills to work successfully abroad.

There are many studies that have tried to classify cultures. Today we take a look at some cultural dimensions according to an American anthropologist, Edward T. Hall.

1. Time orientation

According to Hall there are two types of time orientation:

The first one, where time is considered a finite good that must be used sparingly and efficiently, is called monochron (M); the second, where time is considered unlimited, is called polychron (P).

In countries where time is regarded as monochronic, things are done differently than in countries where it is regarded as polychronic.

Whereas in countries with a monochronic time orientation deadlines and plans are kept and delays and cancellations lead to trouble, in countries with a polychronic time orientation time is seen as infinitely available and as something to be used by people and to which people do not have to adapt.

Moreover, in M countries one thing is done at a time, and in P countries several things are done at once, because people remain flexible in the face of change.

Examples of M-countries: Germany, Austria, (German) Switzerland.

Examples of P-countries: Italy, Greece, Spain.

2. Context orientation

According to Hall, there are two types of context orientation: high context (HC) and low context (LC). This describes how to deal with something or how to behave in a situation.

In high-context societies, such as China, Japan, France, Spain or Turkey, things are not called by name. The relationship between the speaker and the listener is in the foreground, i.e. it comes before the main subject, and there is always room for interpretation.

In contrast, in low-context societies, e.g. in Germany, the USA, Canada and Scandinavian countries, everything is called by name and precise information is given. Furthermore, the factual topic comes before the relationship, and “meant is what was said”.

3. Spatial orientation

Depending on the culture, the spatial orientation differs. That is, how close you get to a stranger.

While people in the centre and north of Europe are more distant to strangers, people in southern Europe are much more open and come much closer to each other.

In conclusion, it really helps a lot if you check what kind of country you are going to – before you emigrate. It may be the case that the cultural differences between your home country and your new country are not that huge, but the other way around is also possible.

Being aware of the cultural aspects of your destination country not only makes life easier for you, it also helps you to get along and integrate more easily into that society.

Skills needed in a post pandemic world

  1. Data literacy: be able to evaluate data and extract value out of it.
  2. Critical thinking: be able to find valuable and trustworthy information.
  3. Technology savvy: keep track to new technologies to be able to use them as needed.
  4. Adaptability and flexibility: always be ready to learn and change things if necessary.
  5. Creativity: be ready to dream new scenarios and make them happy.
  6. Emotional intelligence: ability to be aware of our emotions and how they influence our life. Also be able to be empathetic and understand someone else’s emotions.
  7. Cultural intelligence and diversity: think local, be global. Be ready to understand and work with people from different backgrounds.
  8. Leadership skills: ability to lead other people but also to lead yourself. A growing ability is also to be able to lead
  9. Judgment and complex decision making: understand the big picture and make decisions, understanding the impact of your actions.
  10. Collaboration: interpersonal communication skills to work well with different people.

It will help if you find ways how to motivate yourself, finding reasons why you do – or don’t do – something. Once you know where to go, you will need to coordinate yourself and learn how to use time at its best – look for good alternatives how to manage stress and manage your time and learn to prioritise. Keep curious and excited about change!

Be always ready to go on!

A transition may be he w or involuntary, but the will to go on should always be voluntary! A voluntary transition is when we start a new project, a new career or decide to quit a relationship. An involuntary transition is when we are forced to look for a new job as we get unemployed, or even the moment we are in at the moment, where the coronavirus seem to put darkness all over the place.

Here are 5 ideas how to make the best out of it:

  1. Evaluate the phases of a transition and be aware of which part could make it more difficult for you. Every transition starts with a) saying goodbye then goes to b) getting to the middle and finishes with c) the new phase. If you are aware of where you need to put more effort, you can get there!
  2. Check your emotions and your beliefs. If you believe you can make it, you will, but if you don’t believe it, you will not. Check how you feel and what you can do to improve good emotions, positive thoughts, visualizations and vibrations.
  3. Check your routine and dreams – implement a routine that allows you to look for what you strive, but also to give time to yourself to dream, be kind to yourself and recover from time to time. Your body and your soul will say thank you and you will keep the energy level which is necessary for the transition!
  4. Always remember to be creative – look around and identify what you love to do and maybe just forgot about it. Always find time to make more of what makes you happy!
  5. Be ready to add a new chapter to your life! – you are the one who can make it! If not you, who else? Be conscious on your portion of responsibility and… do it! Later on, as you look back and see your own transformation, you will be proud to be the one who fought to become a better version of yourself!

As always: little time, much to learn!

Time flies and everybody has a common challenge: we have a lot to learn, but always little time! A simple matrix can be keen to decide on where to put your efforts:

Combine time and utility, and you get a simple 2×2 matrix with four quadrants:

  • High utility, low time-to-learn: learn it right now!
  • High utility, high time-to-learn: you will need to plan some dedicated time to learn, every week or continuously, so that you can make it!
  • Low utility, low time-to-learn: learn it as you have time.
  • Low utility, high time-to-learn: last category where you will probably not be willing to put your efforts.

Source: article from HRB dated Sep 27, 2017.

The importance of the German language in German-speaking Europe

Authors: Lucas Migray / Sandra Santos

The countries in the German-speaking Europe (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) are known for the fact that their inhabitants have good English skills. In fact, as a tourist you can get well around speaking only English. But what about the world of work? Today’s post is based on the experience of people we know or their acquaintances.

Although English is spoken by almost everyone in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, it doesn’t mean you can live in these countries without knowing German (except for Switzerland, where many companies do offer jobs only expecting you to speak English and a part of the public life can happen in English).

But even in you are planning to look for a job in Switzerland, the truth is that life gets more complicated without German, starting with the bureaucracy. In the Foreigners’ Office, for example, only German is spoken. The letters from local offices you get are all in German.

Even in the supermarkets and bakeries you need German to get along. At the train stations (again, except for Switzerland) you hear the statements only in German, also in the buses. We think you understand what we mean.

Even in the companies, when you sit with your colleagues in the lunch break, everyone talks in German. You can indeed say something in English: everyone will understand it and answer shortly before they dive back into German. In a way, it is taken for granted: someone whose native language is German can, in theory, express himself better in German than in any other language. Life in these three countries may be quite international, but nevertheless the consumption of German is deeply rooted, and unlike the Netherlands, where almost all universities teach in English, this is an exception in Germany.

The reason why Switzerland is an exception in this rule is that Swiss people grow speaking many languages: they speak Swiss German and learn High German (for them a foreign language). Most of them will speak also English, French or Italian. There is even a part of Switzerland where one speaks Romansh, a language spoken predominantly in the southeastern Swiss canton of Grisons (Graubünden). In fact, Switzerland has four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh.

Getting back to German, a reason why it’s really worth to learn it, even if you are in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, is the feeling of being at home: if you know a language, you tend to create a bond with the country where the language is spoken. In other words, if you know German, you are not only halfway to integration, you also feel an invisible connection to the place where you live. If you know German, you get closer to the locals. You start to understand the reasons for people’s thoughts and actions and begin to see things from a different perspective.

Learning a new language is not only a good idea when it comes to your CV, but also for your brain. There are many further advantages you should consider:

  • You will expand your brain capabilities
  • You will have better memory
  • You will become more flexible, considering further aspects in your day-to-day life
  • You will have better listening skills
  • You will increase your verbal and non-verbal skills
  • Your attention (to details) will increase
  • You will be better at multitasking
  • You will be more creative
  • You will increase the sources to learn and expand your reality

In a constantly changing world, you must never stop learning.


Have you ever heard about that say:

“If you believe you can do something, or if you believe you can’t, you’re always right.”

It’s always you who takes the final decision, isn’t it?

The same applies for a job search situation. Many people, especially women, only apply for a job if they are able to fulfill all the expectations listed on the job add. But just because you don’t have all of the qualifications doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply for a job.

There are many ways how you could understand this a bit better:

  1. Many times, managers are trying to put a non-existent combination of attributes when looking for a new employee, as wish-thinking could give them the idea that they should aim for the impossible to get a good possible option.
  2. Sometimes the issue is the job add itself. There is no clarity on what is a must expectation and what is rather a “nice to be”.
  3. The second part is in you. If you have everything listed on the job add, how are you going to grow and develop. There should also be a learning curve for you in a new challenge!

This is why I can only advise: go ahead and give it a try. Talking to real people and being interviewed you might find out that the job is even much more interesting and closer to your values that you thought before. You might get so excited about a topic that you want to learn everything about it. Life is about learning, isn’t it?

Work in a city with quality of life – is that possible?

by Lucas Migray – columnist

Last week I already talked about the best cities to live and work. But good job opportunities are not everything. Quality of life in a city also plays an important role in the decision to accept a job offer or not. 

In the past, life in big cities was not particularly good. After the Industrial Revolution, many people moved to the cities because they had more opportunities to get a job in the factories. But the cities were dirty, with plenty of smoke and disease. Only with the Belle Epoque in France did this trend change. 

Not only the cities became more beautiful, but also the working conditions became better over the years. Therefore, the quality of life also increased. Especially in Europe, great importance is attached to cities that are worth living in. It is therefore not surprising that European spots dominate the quality of life rankings. 

Every year, the well-known consulting firm Mercer publishes a report naming the most livable cities in the world. In 2019, eight European cities have made it into the top 10, with six of them located in German-speaking countries. 

1st place: Vienna, Austria

2nd place: Zurich, Switzerland

3rd place: Auckland, New Zealand/Munich, Germany/Vancouver, Canada

6th place: Düsseldorf, Germany

7th place: Frankfurt, Germany

8th place: Copenhagen, Denmark

9th place: Geneva, Switzerland

10th place: Basel, Switzerland

Although we already took a look at the city of Munich last week, I would like to take Munich as an example again today. So what is so special about Munich?

Liveable cities score points not only with clean air. They offer security, freedom and infrastructure.  Although all German cities score highly on safety, Munich is the safest city in Germany with over a million inhabitants. 

 “Crime rates are low, law enforcement is efficient, and social and political conditions are stable,” explains Mercer expert Ulrike Hellenkamp.  “In addition, Munich offers an excellent range of international schools, a good urban infrastructure and a wide variety of leisure activities – an aspect that exerts a strong attraction on younger expatriates.”

He goes on to say:

“Munich has made great efforts in recent years to attract talent and companies, for example by continuously investing in high-tech infrastructure. Another focus has been the promotion of cultural institutions. These steps have led to the capital of Bavaria moving up to third place in the overall ranking”.

Munich has been moving in an upward spiral for decades: many companies are settling in the state capital and the surrounding area. As a result, almost every school leaver has a perspective for training and employment. Prosperity contributes to people’s sense of security and the income from trade tax allows for a steady expansion of the infrastructure. These in turn are factors that attract companies. 

Source: Unsplash