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Could be time for a career change!

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Posted

Hi all,

I moved to Germany in February following a redundancy in the UK. My Mrs is German, so It made sense (at the time anyway!)

She's got herself all sorted, working for the same company she worked for before she moved to the UK with me! I on the other hand, am finding things really difficult!

When I arrived here in February, I went to the Arbeitsamt, got all of the registration stuff out of the way and started looking for jobs while trying to improve my German at home. I then started a German course (full time) which has just ended.

I'm finding myself at a total loss on the job-front. The Arbeitsamt have been as close to unhelpful as you could imagine! No benefits, and constantly sending me letters requesting I apply for jobs I know nothing about!

In the UK I worked in IT. I have 8 years experience in that job, with the same company and have a host of qualifications they put me through on various bits of equipment. However, according to the Arbeitsamt, all these certificates and experience count for nothing without a German Ausbildung! They've basically said i shouldn't even apply for IT jobs as i'd be wasting my time. The only bit of advice i've had from the Arbeitsamt is that I should do an IT Ausbildung at a technical college they're in cahoots with. Naturally, despite the fact i'm broke and they won't give me any benefits, they expect me to pay for this 2 year Ausbildung out of my own pocket!

Having read the prospectus for this Ausbildung, It's worryingly simple stuff! Literally things 12 year olds can probably do in their sleep, let alone someone who has been actively doing most of the things covered in this course for the best part of ten years in exchange for a monthly wage! It's just a no-go. I can't afford it, and except for the qualification at the end of it, would be a waste of my time.

So, I'm now sat at home most days wondering what on earth I can do! I do the odd few hours behind the bar at the local kneipe, but thats only giving me a bit of pocket money! I need to be doing something useful and worthwhile!

I'm in my mid thirties, and studied photography at college (which is a dead profession really), worked briefly in insurance before moving on to IT. People, including my other half keep suggesting I teach English. I do have a TEFL certificate (a mickey mouse 100 quid learn online one), but have read so many negative stories about the profession that I don't think it's really going to be for me!

So, over to you folks! I'm open to any thoughts or suggestions (no matter how amusing or left field) and ridicule! If you were slung out of your job at 5pm tonight, and couldn't work in that field again, what would you do?

Cheers!

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Posted

Don't listen to the Arbeitsamt.

If you have 8 years of IT experience, then just apply for suitable positions in your field.

It's not the Arbeitsamt that are doing the hiring.

Oh and ignore the jobs that the Arbeitsamt are sending your way if you don't want to do them. If you aren't receiving benefits anyway, then it's not like they can penalise you for that...

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Posted

Hi Hazza,

I didn't mention in my essay above that id been applying for jobs too :)

Had 3 interviews from god-knows how many applications.

Point taken on the arbeitsamt job applications - i bin just about everything bearing their name on the envelope now!

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Posted

As you don't receive any benefits stop wasting your time talking with them. Start looking for suitable jobs and apply for them. Find out about the options to build a network of people working in your field. BTW, custom tailor your application for jobs rather than to send out plenty of standard applications.

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Posted

I agree with Hazza - pay the Agentur für Arbeit people no mind. Sounds like you've been saddled with an especially clueless caseworker, tbh. IT is one area where finding a job is not hard for expats with not-so-good German, so go for it. Get yourself a (free) profile on Xing.com, that's where a lot of the Germans network, and go from there. Put together a good CV, tailored to Germany - it is worth paying someone to help you with this btw. Include copies of all your qualifications (as you probably know by now, these make Germans sit up and take you seriously) and then start looking on Xing, Stepstone, Monster etc.

Best of luck!

EDIT: If you're not fully convinced about teaching English, then probably best to leave it. There are still areas where English teachers are in high demand, but that's geographically more in the south, and topically more business-oriented - but you still need a lot of persistence to succeed. If you don't enjoy it, then it'll be a hard (and discouraging) slog.

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Posted

Thanks for the replies everyone!

My caseworker is one of the single biggest morons i've ever come across in my life!

Success with job applications however has come from my time spent on the German course. On Friday we would have a sessions specifically on applications and CV's. My CV is now in tip-top German condition :)

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Posted

I was 37 when I arrived here in 2003. Qualified for nothing and with no German (aside from the wife). Did a German course but never occured to me to actually try and get a job here!

You have an IT background? Just find something nice on Alibaba.com and flog it on Ebay and Amazon. Beyond me why anyone has a real job these days 'cos the interwebby is money for old rope.

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Posted

@Johnny Yeah, I know where you're coming from with the eBay thing. I tried my hand at that over the summer with some clothing i was getting supplied from the UK. It went well to start with, sales built through the summer, and then in September nix! I've sold about 3 items in 2 months! No idea whats happened!

@thefrollein I've tried doing a bit of Englisch Nachhilfe locally, and while it is rewarding, i'd obviously struggle to eke a living out of private tuition alone. Like I mentioned, i've seen a lot of bad press about the franchised language schools, so that has put me right off!

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Posted

Ebay is getting killed by Amazon. Amazon is....hmmm.....10 times busier than Ebay for quality products. Ebay is a junk shop these days compared.

So....you had a "taste" of selling online then! Perfect. Basically you just work to a very very simple model. Same as building a hut in Africa - keep throwing shit at the walls until some of it sticks. Buy new products in low volume, and keep trying new stuff until you find things that sell, and then repeat.

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Posted

lol! What i was selling was selling very well, so i went higher volume and got lumbered! Bursting at the seams with the crap here!

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Posted

Get it on Amazon and sell at cost to dump the stocks if necessary (but mark with your RRP and then the sale cost below). Then get summat else.

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Posted

Linkedin, Xing - these are the places to get IT jobs.

Buy a book on CVs in German but do your CV in english - you don't speak german yet so don't bother confusing peeps with a denglish CV you can't comment on if asked.

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Posted

Not registered on Amazon at the moment. I have about 150 pieces in stock, and re-photographing everything to meet Amazons rules would be a super ball-ache!! It may have to be done though!

I don't suppose you know of a German site or forum where you can trade in job lots do you?

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Posted

@ Joe thanks for the reply - you must have missed the bit about the German Lebenslauf I wrote in my German course. Where i learnt to speak German. ;)

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Posted

Possibly register with IT agencies in the UK. I knew one guy who was registered with such an agency and was forever being offered fixed-term contracts in Germany. (He didn't take them all as he liked to see the world.)

I think there are tens of thousands of IT people required in Germany - open vacancies. Maybe you could even hire yourself on a freelance basis. Get a website, join associations, advertise to small businesses (those who cannot hire a professional full-time)...

Or join something like http://www.monster.de/

And see what you can find there.

Search the job listings in your newspaper of choice (German one obviously).

And in the meantime, hone your computer German by reading computer journals. Get your wife to help you with pronunciation.

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Posted

Johnny, I didn't mean ebay, as i'm already using it. Places like wholesaleforums.co.uk, but German based, where you can shift stock B2B in job-lots without fees. I am registered as a seller on Amazon too, but have found ebay the better market for what i was selling. Fees were less on eBay too! But, point taken, fleabay has gone dramatically downhill recently, and clearly amazon is the best alternative - benelux sellers are really struggling at the moment on ebay due to it placing new algorithms on searches. They're almost getting as much bad press as Facebook! Time to get the camera and boxes of stock out!

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Posted

Thanks Nina, back on topic :)

I've registered with a couple of agencies in Düsseldorf. One was quite welcoming in accepting my skills, the other jumped straight on the Ausbildung bandwagon, questioning how I ever worked for such a large company as i did!

I'm on Monster too. I have sent a couple of applications off this week so far. But as you can imagine, with such negativity from various corners about having not planned ahead by 15 years and done a German apprenticeship in the first place, i'm starting to wonder if I should be considering something else entirely. Sure it would be a bit of a waste of the experience I have, but I just feel like i'm banging my head against a wall a little.

Maybe something will come of the applications i've submitted this week. Maybe not, and if not it would be interesting to know why.

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Posted

I know you didn't mean Ebay. But any kinda "wholesale dumping" website or forum is gonna get you €1 a garment for scrap. You will get killed. If you cannot wholesale it on Ebay then you are proper stuffed.

You can sell it on Ebay as "wholesale" for 10 garments at a time. Low starting price but fix a reserve where you fancy. Try and make it look like you are really distressed and liquidating stocks etc so that the sharks smell blood and get excited.

In the UK when I was an estate agent the #1 thing that got the punters gagging was the hint of somebody in trouble. Only had to mention the seller had "financial problems" or "divorce issues" or "bank moving in" and the bids and price would rocket.

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Posted

I don't speak german and this is already my 2nd job as a software developer. I get calls and emails about possible positions every now and then.

If you have a straight chance of finding a non-German speaking jobs it will be in IT. So stick to it.

Let me know if you wanna do java. I can refer to you to a couple of people

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Posted

Hi Stingers - My experience is all hardware, network and network design related. No programming sadly. Language is of no issue either.

@ Johnny - not a bad idea that ;) although, ive been burnt before using that method. I may try packaging a couple of must have garments in with some (cough) not so nice ones!

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Posted

LinkedIn is a great way of getting connected. If you set your profile up properly, you end up getting recruitment agents getting in touch every other week, not all will have something thats suitable but its a highly recommended way of passively looking for new opportunities, and letting the market come to you.

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Have a look at www.gulp.de which might give you an idea about the IT freelance situation and also an indication about the marketability of your skills and the hourly rates you might expect if you decide to go the freelance route.

Good luck.

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