- Nationality: Bulgarian
- Age: 31
- Field of study: International Business and Management, Strategic Management
- Current employer: Phenom People
- Current position: Engagement Manager
Why I started my career in the Netherlands
I came to the Netherlands when I was eighteen. A friend of mine, who was already studying here, told me that the Dutch culture is very open to internationals and that it is easy to feel at home. Well, he proved to be right as I have been living in The Netherlands for ten years now and I feel at home here. After completing both my bachelor and master studies I was well integrated and used to the Dutch culture. I spoke the language and knew how things work around here, so the most logical step was to start my career here. Plus where else on earth can you get such an international working experience?
A typical work week
At my current job I guide the implementation of IT projects and make sure that the project remains within the agreed scope, budget and time. I really enjoy project management because it is very diverse and always challenging. Every project and client is different and it is the art of sensing what type of client you are dealing with and adjusting your relationship management style to it.
No matter how good you plan and guide the project there always will be unexpected situations and challenges, so you need to be flexible and go with the flow when needed. My work week involves a lot of contact with my clients per mail, phone or face-to-face. Internally I also have to coordinate the activities my colleagues are performing and make sure that the agreements we have made with clients are met.
In my career so far I have completed various projects at big and international companies, small and fast-growing start-ups as well as medium-sized companies. I have guided internal projects such as improving the recruitment processes or launching a new marketing value proposition on the B2B market, but also external IT implementations for various Dutch companies in the recruitment and call centre industry. I have also guided technical implementations for clients from Poland and Germany.
What I like about the Dutch work mentality
- The Dutch working culture is mainly open and honest. No matter the hierarchy and titles most of the time you may address the CEO with his/her first name and share any ideas or doubts you might have.
- The Dutch are very direct. You might experience this as too harsh sometimes but at least you will know what they mean.
- I am sometimes struggling with too demanding clients or striving for perfection whereas the Dutch are able to put work in perspective. The client is not always right and often 80% is good enough which is something I can still learn from them.
- They value their free time and keep a good work-life balance, which makes working more fun and less stressful as you are not expected to make long days and work during weekends or holidays.
My career advice to you
Dare to explore, meet new people, share your fears and ask the people you meet to share their experiences. Your network is the most important weapon. You never know where opportunities will come from. The more doors you knock at; the more chances you will get. Speaking Dutch opens up tremendous opportunities and gives the advantage to choose between more jobs and locations. The only way to learn Dutch is to be persistent. It is challenging and it takes a lot of energy but believe me, it’s worth the effort. The Dutch really appreciate internationals who speak the language even if you have a strong accent and make a lot of mistakes, at least you are doing your best. When it gets tough and you are about to give up, please remember that “in order to succeed your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”
Want to connect?!
In my role as a Holland Career Ambassador am I there for you when you are in doubt, need an advice or just need some inspiration or support by someone who has been where you are now and hopefully can make you move forward.
Don’t be shy and feel free to reach out to me. I am more than willing to help and I am looking forward to meeting you!
I prefer to be contacted by LinkedIn.