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Expat Advice: Working in Frankfurt, Germany

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Frankfurt

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Banking and Airlines, by far.

Many multinational companies are in Frankfurt so jobs for ex-pats are somewhat more common there than in many other German cities.

What type of work do you do and how did you find your job?

Database Marketing Consulting

Joined an advertising agency in Chicago and was moved overseas for 1 year.

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How did you obtain your work permit? What advice would you have for others about work permits?

My company arranged for my work and residency permit.

They also arranged for my partner's residency permit, but since it was a short term assignment they did not want to arrange a work permit as well, so he was not allowed to seek enployment.

Have you taken language and cross-cultural training courses to prepare for your assignment? If so, how have they helped you on the job?

My company arranged for a budget for language classes, but they were not compulsory.

They also arranged a 2-day cross-cultural training class, but I found it to be a complete waste of my time. The reference book they provided with the class was helpful, though.

If you were transferred abroad by your employer, were you guaranteed a job upon repatriation? What type of mentoring programs does your employer offer?

I had a job waiting for me, but I just as easily could have needed to stay longer instead of returning.

No formal mentoring programs are in place at my company.

What advice would you offer others about finding jobs and working abroad?

For Germany at least - do not assume that any lasting change can take place in 1 year. My company wanted to be optimistic, but there should have been no way for my assignment to be less than 18-24 months. A year is enough to get the groundwork laid, but not show the progress needed.

Make sure that rules concerning your spouse or significant other are clear and fair. I.e., make sure that YOU are the person to decide when and how you get home (stateside) in an emergency - and that you and your spouse or significant other can identify what constitutes that emergency.

Ask for introductions to major players in the new office as soon as possible. Don't let things wait "until plans are more firm." It might not happen until it is too late to have the effect needed.

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