etiquette blog

The glue of life.

‘Have you ever tried to walk on eggshells?’

Europe at its best

On board the last Thalys train back home, I reflect on the weekend spent in Brussels with Eef and Donato. I have always enjoyed their company, from that very first moment we had met in Rome on a warm evening in June, the three of us throwing coins in the Fontana di Trevi. I smile …

Watching the Flowers grow

‘Net op tijd!’ There was relief in Leopold’s voice. Despite the early hour, they had been caught in bumper to bumper traffic as they approached Amsterdam Schiphol Airport where Herr Hartmann’s flight from Berlin was to land in about 10 minutes. It was the first time that Leopold accompanied his boss to pick up a client, but not just any client. ‘How long have you been working with Blumen- Krause?’ Saskia Verbeek smiled watching the arrivals, KL 1818 had landed and so much the better, a lot to do today! ‘Oh, for some thirty years, I was a teenager when my father signed his first contract with Helmut Krause after a long discussion in our glasshouse’. Leopold looked around, ‘There he is’ waving to a tall blond man in a dark suit already heading in their direction.

When is Mother’s Day?

‘Mother’s Day next Sunday! Somebody has an idea for a gift?’ Martha’s mischievous look spoke volumes, ‘It’s more than time to discuss this highly relevant topic’. Her colleagues laughed, appreciating her sense of humour, again today. All knew about Martha’s unpleasant mother in far Groningen. Both were in all respects, far apart! ‘You’re kidding, Mother’s Day is only at the end of the month’. Their French colleague, Pauline looked up from her laptop. Their French colleague, Pauline looked up from her laptop. ‘ I bought already my Thalys ticket, my mom won’t survive, misère!’ she sighed. A low voice interrupted them, ‘You do not seem to know that our mothers are celebrated all around the world, but not on the same day’.

French Rebellion

‘We could spend our holidays in the south of France this summer, what do you think?’ Jonas looked up from his sautéed foie gras, his broad smile speaking volumes. ‘Such a long time we haven’t set foot there, you remember our hotel in Aix en Provence?’ Of course I do, but funny that you’re talking about France. Haven’t you read the newspapers? All those strikes!’ Tanja’s somewhat pessimistic slant made him creepy. ‘They are on strike now, not next summer’ he said a little stiffly.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

-’When is your job-interview ? And tell me, have you prepared for it ? Jean-Luc hardly listened to his father. ’Prepared ? What can you prepare for in an interview ? —’What do you know about the Dutch culture, son ? You want to change jobs, normal, you’re almost 30 now, but are you aware that in The Netherlands things are different from here’. — ’I will be working for an American company there’. Too bad that he was so stubborn, his father realized again. Never in his life Jean-Luc had had interest for the Dutch language, something his father regretted, in particular now that his son wanted thatjob of Software Developer in Amsterdam. Dutch would have been a plus. He would not fail to discover it himself, his father sighed, ending the phonecall.

Cut the chit-chat

-’And how long have you been working in France, Ms Keeren ?’ Used to this question I answered it as precisely as I could. ’18 years and 7 months, Madame and Iworked for different companies’. After a vague ’bonjour’, Madame Dufour, who was the head of the language department of UL, a school in the suburbs of Paris, had got straight to the point. No small talk like in Anglo-saxon cultures, a waste of time in France. – ’Ok ok, but what brings you today to apply for a job in English teaching at my Institute ? The lady I was facing made me think of one of my high school teachers who had made our whole class suffer.

Better safe than sorry!

-’ You’re sure ? Why shouldn’t I start showing them some pictures of my achievements ?’ Gerald Adler looked at his coach, Peter, ’In the US it’s something we do all the time, I can tell you’, he added with a broad smile. -’ Yeah, in The US, but here you are in Germany and the interview is your only chance to convince them that they need you. It’s crucial that you focus on what you can do for the company, you understand ?’ As a job coach, Peter Baumgartner knew quite well how to prepare applicants for an interview, some basic elements making the difference, in particular when foreigners were looking for a job here. – ’Don’t be late, not even one minute, but don’t arrive too early either’, was always his first piece of advice.

The right attitude

’Sorry guys for being late, an endless phonecall from France’.

The three people around the table nodded with understanding, waiting for Ken to sit down. – ’Did you manage to draw up a shortlist ?’ PKD Communication was looking for a qualified sound engineer, a search that had been more complicated than expected. – ’Yes, three of the eight candidates are still in the run, one woman, two men’. The answer came from Robert Lane, the HR director who waved a paper as if to applaud his words. – ’Then let’s have a closer look at our final selection’. Kenneth Dawson who was the owner and CEO of PKD, looked around the table in the big meeting room with view on Hyde Park.

Election Day

‘Why a Canadian girl like me is not entitled to vote in that civilized country of yours?’ It was not the first time that Lisa raised the subject with her colleague Karlijn. ‘All my friends living in The Hague will be going to the polls on 21st March even those without a Dutch passport. Look at Dorothy, who voted already for the municipal council here, four years ago, it’s not fair!’ Karlijn smiled ‘the problem is not you being Canadian, but your American friend has been living for ages here, whereas you arrived only 3 years ago. I don’t know how things in Canada are, but in The Netherlands, a non- EU citizen must have legally resided without interruption, for five years’.

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