Sunday, October 28, 2012

I have a job!

Day 7 in Berlin
As I write this I have been here for 7 days and gosh things are working out fast for me. Faster than I had ever imagined. So, let me just brief you on my latest few weeks so you understand how great this is. Sorry for spelling errors - to me the content is more important.

The dilemma! 
My website - a screenshot taken on the last day I had it.
On the 1st of October I had closed my Google Adwords Consultancy Company and handed over all my clients to a bright young man. I felt free for the first time in years. It has been such a great experience and challenge to run my own business, but I was ready to try something new. I missed colleagues and being a part of a team. Also, I could feel how I would like to have a more stable income again, as I never knew what I earned from month to month. I felt I needed a change. I had no boyfriend, no home, no furniture - I had let go of it all, so why not let go of my company, too? why hang onto something that no longer seems right?

I have been dreaming about moving to Berlin for a long time and figured that this was the perfect time to move past my comfort zone and go all in and move to a new country and find a job there. I decided to use my unemployment insurance (in Denmark we call it A-kasse) and close my company. I had learned from friends that you can take 3 months unemployment benefit with you to another EU country while you apply for jobs there - now that was perfect! Dadaaaa, and then the surprise came at my meeting with the A-kasse!

Help! What should I do - Call 112!
I knew they would take 3 weeks pay from me the first month I was without a job, which they do if you leave your job or close your company (not if you get fired). Little did I know that I had to be in DK an additional 4 weeks after the 3 weeks "punishment period", before I could go abroad. So, this meant that I was forced to apply for jobs in Denmark for at least 7 weeks to get my money. I said I thought it was a total waste for both me and the companies that would be receiving my applications, as I was not staying in DK. The A-kasse agreed and said these were the rules.

"Punished" for being creative!
They also know I write music, as I have released some songs, so they said that I was only allowed to spend max 15 hours per week on writing music and singing and this would be deducted from my monthly pay! I would have to inform them every month of how much time I had used on this. I cannot stop writing music and singing because I am on A-kasse and applying for jobs. I love to sing and play music and often do this at night - in my free time! But, in the A-kasse they don't care if it is in your free time. It still counts and you are paid a lot less in your benefit. I would not be able to live of this amount at all! I asked if it also counted if I sang in the bath and she said - theoretically yes! So, this meant that if I played by the rules I could not afford to write music OR sing in my free time.

I felt totally misplaced and punished for being creative. I get so much energy from writing music - energy which I can use on applying for a job and being a valuable asset for an employer during working hours.

I felt my new found freedom vanishing through my fingers faster than I could blink. I felt trapped! I felt all energy get drained from my body and I felt that for me this unemployment benefit insurance I had been paying for for the past two years was a total waste. I thought, and thought, and thought some more and talked to many people. Almost everyone told me to wait in Denmark until the end of November and take my benefit with me ... it was the beginning of October and I was aching to get on with my life! 7 weeks of waiting was unbearable!

The Battle
Now comes the battle between the brain and the heart. I felt so strongly that I should quit the A-kasse, as it held me back. To some of you this may sound crazy, but I have always had this deep belief that I would manage no matter what situation I was put in. I am a fighter and I do not give up. I have taken charge of my life and I am not too "this or that" to take on any form of job (yes, I have done cleaning, too), so I felt confident I would get a job one way or the other. I would keep searching 'till I had one. My heart (intuition or gut-feeling) was telling me to "dive right in" and quit the A-kasse. The thought made me so full of energy and so free and I felt this bubbly feeling in my stomach every time I thought about it. I thought about this for at least 2 week before I made my decision!

Like most of you, my mind has been coded to expect that the very worst may happen to us if we don't do this and that prevent it. A quick risk analysis said: "Damn, there is a lot of unemployment around and you have been paying your insurance for so long. Don't throw all that money down the drain. Don't throw this safety net away. Hang on to it and stay here in Denmark and apply for jobs that you don't want for the next 7 weeks and just wait. Some people told me to just go to Germany and f.. the system, but I cannot do it! I am a very honest and ethical person and it would go against every bone in my body to pretend I was in Denmark when I was in fact in Germany. I would not be able to enjoy it. Damn... it would bring about a lot of bad karma! ;)

The big decision was made!
This was what I got out of my unemployment insurance - a pen!
Hmm.... so what seems more attractive? To me there was only one right thing to do based on who I am and what I feel and that was to quit the A-kasse! When I sent them the email, I confirmed to myself once and for all that I will manage and the most important thing: I believe I can. If you don't believe it... then don't do it! If you don't have this faith in your abilities... then don't do it! Wait for the feeling of strength to manifest inside of you and then do it! Go all in! I am telling you it feels great. I feel so alive! Another important measure here is that for me, not having this safety net, makes me fight even more to get where I want to be. But hey, that is just me. I guess you can say I have a little safety net as I have moved to Berlin where my sister also lives, so I am not totally on my own and left to wonder about Berlin if I don't find a job or flat easily. But, it is more the actions and feelings inside of me that are important when you are realizing a dream!

Just do it!
On the 12th of October I booked my ticket for Berlin for the 22nd of October. I knew I had to do it or else I could keep on waiting for "the right" moment to come.... and when is the right moment?
I had heard about the German company Zalando and happened to coincidentally met up with a friend from Germany back in Copenhagen who worked there. I had no idea she did! I asked her how it was and she loved it. I got an email to HR and decided to send them and application within the next week.

My first (and only) job application is sent
On the 16th of October I sent my application to Zalando and three hours later they called me for an interview. That was fast! I was so fortunate that I had already booked my ticket for Berlin, so we could have the interview face-to-face and not online over Skype. How lucky was that! Then I could also feel the vibe of the place.

Off to Berlin
On the 22nd of October I was on my way to Berlin with a job interview but no flat. You can read more about how that felt in my first blog post. I just felt I had to be here to sort things out. It is so much more easy to find jobs and flats when you are in the country. Also you meet people who often have tips for you or happen to know the right person.

The job interview
The road sign next to Zalando HQ
On the 24th at 10am I had my interview with 4 people from Zalando. My strategy was to be 100% me and so I was during the entire interview. You can read about this in my 2nd post on this blog. I was told I they would get back to me within a week.
I have to tell you something I find rather funky! Zalando lies next to Kopenhagener Strasse here in Berlin ;) I laughed at that. I leave Copenhagen to start a new life in Berlin and end up next to that street for my first interview!

Am I in or am I out?
On Friday the 26th (only two days after my interview) I felt that I was stuck again and that made me feel down. Without a job I could not find a flat and I had to wait another 5 days for an answer from Zalando! Gosh, I am not good at waiting that long when I am ready for action!
Zalando called me back already at 3pm on Friday the 26th and offered me the job! Wohoo, I was so so so SO happy. I jumped up with my hands in the air and felt so ecstatic. Then the most amazing calm feeling washed in over my body just to be replaced with a huge amount of energy again and so it went on! I am really looking forward to working there from the 1st of November.

Zalando HQ in Berlin - a huge old Electrical factory.
In the evening I had been invited to the Danish Popstar Medinas concert in Berlin with some of my new friends. I come all the way to Berlin (actually not that far away from Denmark) and end up seeing a Danish star perform the first week I am here - also a bit funny. I had such a great time and Medina (and her great live band) rocked the place!
We went to Due Forni (Prenzlauer Berg) after and man they serve a good Italian Pizza. It had such a great atmosphere and was packed with people. Go check it out if you get here. I was told it is one of the best places for Italian nosh!

What's next?
Caught my reflection in Hackesher Markt
Finding a flat is next. I have looked at so many online and continue the search tomorrow where I will go and see two of them. I would love two rooms (and a bathtub, which is normal here) and a balcony. A funny thing is that quite a few flats have no kitchen! You have to put that in yourself and people take their kitchens with them when they move. I find this rather strange. In DK you would rarely see this with a rental flat. As I have written on my last blog I have never lived alone, so this is something I am looking very much forward to. I really like my own company ;) Yes, I actually do. I love being with family and friends but I also love to chill at home and just read a book or write music or do absolutely nada! Life is good and never have I felt more ALIVE and kicking.

Enjoy your day and I'll keep ya posted!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

First job-interview in Berlin

Third day in Berlin
Cheap and easy to use public transport here!
Today I had my first job interview at one of Germany's largest companies and it made my move to Germany seem more real. Now I am really DOING things to build a life here and not just talking about it.
The people that interviewed me thought I was just here in Berlin for the interview until I told them I was moving here and had no job or flat. They laughed and I thought to myself: "woopsi, wonder what they say to that?!" Will they find that a little irresponsible or cool? Later on in the interview they said: "Well, we guess you can start pretty much any time as you have no job or home?" and then they laughed again... and so did I. I could hear how crazy it sounded in my ears, as I would never have dared to do this 6 months ago... or even 3 months ago! I am still getting used to "the new me", the "no safety net Nina". Gosh, if anyone used to need structure and security it was me! Anyways, back to the interview. I thought to myself, I am gonna be 100% me in this interview. I don't wanna play games. I want them to know who they are gonna get if they pick me. I was interviewed by 4 people who were firing many sharp questions at me (also the typical ones I knew would come) and felt so calm about it. I guess the reason was that I was just being me and then the answers just came nice and easy and honestly. I feel it went well and I will know for sure next week. So, fingers crossed! Yes, I will reveal both title and company to you when I have the job ;)

The salary surprise (or shock)!
One thing I had not really given so much thought to was that the salaries here in Berlin are a lot lower than in DK - and I mean a lot! Almost half of what they are in DK. However, the taxes are a lot lower here too, and you pay around 20-30% tax on an average salary where I have been used to paying way more in DK. Food and living expenses are quite a bit lower here, so I am sure it will all work out to my advantage (I am practicing my positive thinking here). Also, another thing (a rather important thing!) is that you cannot really rent a place without a documented income... ehh, one thing I had not thought about either, but I am lucky my sis will caution for me if they need that. So, "just-doing-it" also means dealing with things as they surface and that is what I am doing now. It feels good. I just take one thing at a time. 

What do you do?
This morning as my sister and I were talking about the whole "moving to another country" thing, I came to think about if I have to register myself anywhere? Yes, you may call me Blondina, cause I know some of you may find it very blond, not to have considered this and I guess you are right ;) I figured that a smart move would be to phone the Danish embassy and they were very helpful. You can live in Germany for 3 months without having to register that you live here. Within 14 days after you have got a place of your own you have to register. So, now I know that. I find it amusing that in spite of having thrown myself up into the air and don't really know how it will go, I feel so calm and happy. I have this deep rooted confidence that I will be alright. I will not waste my time worrying about a thing, cause to worry is indeed to waste time. Having said that, I openly admit that I still worry about things. I am just learning to not let the worrying take over my life and control me. I will just follow what my gut feeling tells me to do when I have to make a decision. My gut feeling told me to "just go" and buy that ticket to Germany and things would sort them selves out when I got here. My gut feeling told me to send a job application to this company I visited today and 2 hours later they called me to arrange an interview. This was last week and today I had the interview. So letting go of control, diving into the unknown and letting go of limited thinking has been very good for me.

I have never lived on my own!
Should I live here? ;)
I have to admit something. I have never ever lived alone! I have always lived with friends or a boyfriend and now is the first time I am gonna have my own place. I am so excited I am bursting. I bet I will have to pinch my arm when I sit in my flat a few weeks from now. I don't mind if it is small, as long as it is cozy. I don't need many things. I have been using hours on the web searching for flats to rent on, which is a very good site for this. Found tons of places and will see some tomorrow. I am looking for one or two-room flats and they are around 300-400€ per month which is a good price (incl. utilities). I must have a flat with a bathtub and preferably a balcony! Oh, I will love that. I can already picture myself in a hot tub with a book, a candle, a cuppa English tea (Tetley or PG), some nice music (or maybe no music) and just relaxing.

Sign for a Doggie "Hair Dresser"
Next stop TV-Shop!
Now onto something totally different. I will soon get ready for some serious TV-shop watching here at 24.00 on QVC as my sister and her husband are promoting their new Body and Mind Workout DVD on that channel. I can't wait to see them live and in action. It is so exciting. I will probably post something about it tomorrow.

I know this picture on the left is way out of context with anything written here, but I have to post it. This funny picture is from a dog-hairdresser (or whateva you call them) that I passed today. It says: Nur Mut. This means: For the brave! I find this SO funny to write on a sign. Poor little doggies and what great humor!

Sweet dreams to ya all from Miss Hall.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Starting a new life

As I am writing this, I am on the train towards the airport. I feel weird and excited at the same time. I don't quite believe this day has finally arrived. I have been dreaming about moving to Berlin for a long time and now I am off to find a home and a job and do lots and lots of music, which I love. I have one huge case packed with clothes and my essentials (midi-keyboard and mac amongst the important bits) and the rest is stored in DK. If I had been told one year ago that today I would be single, "homeless", that I had sold all my furniture, that I had closed my company and that I was on my way to Berlin today to realize my dreams after having survived a larger break down, I would not have believed you! Never! But, the fact is that all this has happened since March 2012.

I lived in a lovely flat by the lakes in Copenhagen, was engaged, had my own company and what many would consider to be a good life. However, I was growing more and more unhappy and felt that little light of fire inside of me was burning out faster than ever. I knew I had to make drastic changes to get back on track. I am not saying that you have to make such huge changes as me to find more happiness in life, but for me it was essential. Today, 7 months later I have never felt more free and alive and I will not let fear of failure get in the way of me living my life and dreams.

I have always been a thinker and way too often worried about all the things that could go wrong if I did this and that. The result was that I did not really do any of the huge things I dreamt about! So, a valuable lesson I have learned is to think less and feel more and act upon my gut-feeling (intuition or whatever we call it). So far (the past 7 months) it has made my life so much better and more fun and I am doing things I would never have dared to do with my old limited mindset. Moving past my comfort zones has already brought me such wonderful experiences and brought new inspiring people into my life.

I can write so much more and will (also about how I got through all these major changes), but the fact is that life is good and I am on my way to Berlin now. As I wrote, I have no job, no flat, but can stay with my sister for a few weeks (who lives in berlin) and I have a job interview at a huge company in Berlin in 2 days. I am confident everything will go as planned, cause I have renewed passion for life inside of me and I follow my gut-feeling in everything I do... at least I aim to ;) I am still learning and this is an ongoing process.

Why this blog?
I have decided to blog about my adventures, in the hope that it may inspire some of you to make the necessary changes (small or big) you have to, to feel more happiness in your life and not let fear of the unknown (or of failure) get in the way of your life and dreams. I aim to inspire by letting you in on my own life and all its ups and downs as I move along ;) I hope you'll enjoy following me on my adventures.