torsdag 28. mars 2013

Being an Invandere: Managing Expectations

Yes, a follow up to my tool kit in the last blogg:

What should you expect of Norway and what do Norwegians, especially employers expect of you?

I'd say 1) Lower your expectations and take it a little easy on these 2) Put in a heck of a lot more effort than you may think you need to, seeing this is only superficially similar as a western country with high education level!

Norwegians are skeptical to immigration on average and see "Invaders /wanderers in" as a migratory workforce by in large which is expendable: the breathing part of the economy which should be sent home if there is  a down turn.

Employers looking for skilled people are more positive, but mainly because they don't want to pay engineers all a million kroner a year starting pay, which they would have to in order to get enough noggies to graduate with those skills and even stay in engineering functions rather than drifting into administration!

Being married to a Noggie is not much help. On Askøy and Sotra in westland, it is often said " huh, English? He wont last. Not enough pubs here"

Firstly like France and Germany, Norwegians don't really tolerate mediocre use of their language. Some don't even tolerate people with different regional dialects! In either situation, some will drift of and become irritated rather than listening to you. Speak english and be very succinct and modest.

Languages school at night classes will be tough along side a job. If you get supported to do day school then put your back into it like it was a full time job! TOugh but worth it and if you are going to get up near average pay in non engineering jobs, then you must be fluent........

......if you are not coming to work on a tour from a central office in another country of course. Then they have to put up with you!

The next tough thing may be the social highway code being very reserved and certainly not Celtic of Mediterranean. If you build up expectations of friendship and even a little, then you will be shunned. It is the way here on average at least. Perhaps in North Norway people take you in more I dont know.

The best social way in is with a key person who speaks english and you have some commonality with, not least a sense of humour! Probably someone who studied abroad. DOnt expect your Norsk spouse to be any real help further than their family and a couple of pals. For example asking people around for dinner may hardly ever be reciprocated. People will communicate they would like to but have been busy, or ask you for a coffee instead thus cutting the visit commitment to just an hour.

Also remember that a lot of noggies are pretty darn DULL! and not worth the effort of coming in on! many lives go in a round of the public holidays as an annual perpetual clock like ground hog day carbon copies year in year out:  trips to cabin only with near family, visits to grand parents, endless training on skis and bikes without much socialibility, and only having a very small group of long established friends. it is closed, it is boring and only superficially interesting to a foreigner.

You can arrange your own cabin trips, ski lessons, travel to your own cultural or religious happenings abroad,  join a sports club which has a group which is at your level and so on, without laying any expectation on people you meet at work or through other people.

It may take years literally to be accepted as a "friend" but then you may well find you have made a very, very good friend who will open their door for you and include you in cabin tours, dinners etc.

Work is going to be tough too: the market is different , much more oriented aroudn th north sea of course and large petrochemical production. Houses are wood here so joiners are favoured over brickies.

It is worht as I have done, taking a new career direction whcih takes you up to average apay for the private sector after a couple of years ( around 380-000 to 450 000 NOK for the private sector and more in offshore positions of course. 185 kr per hour to 250 kr per hour app.)

New career direction means starting at the bottom in terms of maybe even like me, doing an internship. Thus you learn the day to day language and operations and the workplace culture while probably going on "day money" ie dole or some grant or other. This is low risk ,win win and if you don't like it you can have a look at other types of jobs.

Noggie employers are a bit simple when it comes to rectruiting experienced folk: you should be doing or have done the job you are applying ! It is good then to take a temp position just to get the right job title even if it is sonething you can master. English speaking companies are only so much of a help, the spoken word will be norsk.

So moving here is not like moving to many other countries but much the same in some ways!

Manage down your expectations of career and social life and put in a lot of effort on the work side and of course at language school, and then the social side will pick up.

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