Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




So, I dropped on your backyard

I talked about this before on other threads, and today I need to address a specific item.
Imagine that I dropped on your backyard. Me, a complete foreigner, left my country and came to yours to work. Mind you, we both live in the EU, we both have more or less the same living standards (we both know what a BigMac is), so the shock won't be too hard.

But as an employer, how would you see me?
"Hey, there's that French/Italian/Spaniard guy who knows how to develop in C++ with Sybase OpenClient."
or
"Hey, this guy's resume is packed with beautifull words like EJB, STL and ASE. Let's get him! Who cares he's a foreigner?"

Any answer is welcome. Even if it's just to say "Auslander Raus!".

PR
Monday, March 29, 2004

It is quite common for foreigners to work in other UE countries.

When I was at HP in UK, we had several German people.

MX
Monday, March 29, 2004

I am not sure what you are after? Is it nationality biases or is it skills vs. buzzwords?

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, March 29, 2004

Nationality biases. Are there any inside the EU? Can they be forgotten by my skills buzzwords?

RP
Monday, March 29, 2004

The buzzwords without substance would be far more damaging then the country of origin. Make sure you qualify on the (human) language front for working in the target country. E.g. if you want to work in Germany make sure your German is close to perfect.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, March 29, 2004

The buzzwords have content, they are not empty. I am also a fairly good speaker of the mother tongue of my target country. I just wanted to know about any possible problems that I might encounter while moving abroad that might have escaped me, from simple racismo to "oh, we don't hire people from ******** because they don't use Hungarian notation over there"

RP
Monday, March 29, 2004

Auslander Raus!

Wants to be an ISV
Monday, March 29, 2004

I didn't expect that from *you*!

What are you going to do when you start dealing with foreign customers?

RP
Monday, March 29, 2004

As an employer, how would I see you? I would see you as a guy willing to accept 25 percent less pay than the natives, and less likely to backchat.

If I could fill my development department with others like you, I could cut my wages bill by $1.5 million.

I was just thinking out loud there. The reality is that it's desperately hard to find skilled programmers in this country, and hence we need to have lots of skilled foreign workers.

CEO On The Take
Monday, March 29, 2004

You read this thread but your mind was on the code shops that existed in the US during the .boom

Like I said, I come from an EU country, and I am thinking about moving to another. Living standards are more or less the same, so I don't think you'll see me as someone willing to work for 25% less.

RP
Monday, March 29, 2004

The first problem is language. As a coder in a big shop it may not matter, but in small to medium shops there could be a lot of interaction with the customer, either directly or indirectly.

In general if you and a native of the country are both applhing for the same job he will get it if thngs are equal. However things normally aren't equal.

The great advantage you have is that most of the invisible and not so visible barriers have disappeared. You no longer need a work permit, which means that your employer need not be afraid of government fines if he is a good employer and need be afraid of them if he is a bad one!

Stephen Jones
Monday, March 29, 2004

How can anyone tell you what problems you will encounter when they don't know which EU countries are involved?

RP wrote, "... so I don't think you'll see me as someone willing to work for 25% less."

While you might not be willing to work for 25% less than what you are earning now, keep in mind that there are plenty of talented Eastern European programmers who will.

One Programmer's Opinion
Monday, March 29, 2004

That is one excellent point.

All that labor is a force to be reckoned with, and I don't have anything to fight back.

RP
Monday, March 29, 2004

If you're living in the community, plan to stay, and make a good match for the rest of the team, then who cares what your nationality is!

A Canadian Perspective.

Happy to be working
Monday, March 29, 2004

> A Canadian Perspective

"Recent immigrants may face greater discriminatory hiring and promotion practices" -- HRDC (quoted at http://www.fsatoronto.com/pdfs/Immigrantpoverty.pdf ).

Christopher Wells
Monday, March 29, 2004

As a developer as long as you can read, speak, and
write english nobody on the interview team will
care. We'll pick the best person. I know there are
issues with green cards etc that may impact
the ability to make an offer.

son of parnas
Monday, March 29, 2004

I haven't been in Europe since the EU was just an interesting idea (not counting GB as EU, hehe), but I would have to agree with SOP regarding language--I would expect that English trumps the local language, but that's just my americentric guess :)

As far as predjudices, in the late 80's and early 90's I spent a bit of time tooling around a few EU countries, and the impression I got wherever I went was that other Western Europeans were more or less equally excepted while Eastern Europeans and Turks did seem to get a pretty rough time.  Obviously that was a long time ago, so discount it as appropriate but I would suspect the general acceptance of other Western Europeans still applies.  And if I'm just dead wrong, don't blame me--I'm just saying that's the impression that was being conveyed to an outside observer who didn't know any better.

Of course the fact that I'm offering any opinion at all is pretty laughable, being American, and having no real clue about what goes on in the EU, while there are plenty of qualified EU readers here who could no doubt comment better than I, so apply the requisite grain of salt.

MacSqueeb
Monday, March 29, 2004

"As a developer as long as you can read, speak, and
write english nobody on the interview team will
care. "

What can I say? Yes, there are places like that, but no, it is not true in general. A lott of the company procedures and client interactions are in the local language. In large parts of the EU English is far from universaly accepted.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, March 29, 2004

Just Me, if you have language restrictions then
that is a fair criteria to select people on. I have
worked with horrible people and good people
from all nationalities, so i don't see why it matters.

son of parnas
Monday, March 29, 2004

One of the things I like the most about London is that one never feels like a foreigner, largely because almost everyone is a foreigner (either outside UK or outside London).

Most professional employers will not care. Most professional offices are just as indifferent. It is only when you move further down the employment chain that Xenophobia rears its head.

A wise man once said that racism was the snobbery of the poor. Well Xenophobia is the same.

Tapiwa
Monday, March 29, 2004

Isn't xenophobia a fancy name for racism?

 
Monday, March 29, 2004

No, racism is a term for a specific kind of xenophobia.  Your question is like asking, "Isn't mammal just a fancy word for dog?"

Phillip J. Eby
Monday, March 29, 2004

Racisim these days gets badied about for all sorts of hatred that has nothing to do with race.

Also, Xenophobia has the connotation that, although the person may not hate the other party, he hates them for being in his county.

pdq
Monday, March 29, 2004

Racism means hatred of people from another race,
e.g. "I hate Whitey", or "I hate A-rabs".

Xenophobia means hatred of people from other
countries, e.g. "I hate Yanks", or "I hate Saudis".

OP:
I guess the biggest problem you'll face is arranging
for an interview; it's a hassle if you have to interview
across continents and they might not want to fly you
over.

I was told to do this (of US companies):
Put a local address on your resume (mailbox?).
It's possible that this could get you past an HR filter,
and then the hiring manager might be interested
nevertheless. If you try this, tell us if it works for
European companies!

Curious
Monday, March 29, 2004

xenophobia means fear of strangers. A lot of people have this - we teach children to stay away from strangers don't we? And its a good idea. It has nothing to do with hatred.

Racism means you believe in races. Often this means you hold stereotypes of typical members of a given race, stereotypes that sometimes but not always are generally true.

Tony Chang
Monday, March 29, 2004

"(not counting GB as EU, hehe)"

Since it is, why not count it as part of it?

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Simon, I think that what the poster was suggesting was that GB was itself a collection of nations (Wales, Scotland, England) before the EU existed.

The UK throws Northern Ireland into the pot too.

Tapiwa
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

> the impression I got wherever I went was that other Western Europeans were more or less equally excepted while Eastern Europeans and Turks did seem to get a pretty rough time.

Unless you happen to be a black Western European, in which case you will be stopped and asked for your papers on a regular basis, plus a whole host of other mastier things.


Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Perhaps you have "Black Western Europeans"
confused with "Black Texans"?

Curious
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

No, he's right.


Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Always something in the UK press about black youths being "stopped and searched" by the police a lot more than their white counterparts despite the fact that they are a minority.

Despite being black male, I have never been stopped. Having said that though, I have been asked a disproportionately number of times, in nightclubs, whether I had any drugs for sale.

Tapiwa
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Well, have you?


Wednesday, March 31, 2004

By the way Tapiwa, you must be one of the small number of people who understands the distinction between GB & UK :) For full points you can explain it to our American & European friends, and for a bonus explain the Channel Islands, Isle of Man, etc. etc. as well!


Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Easy version - the Channel Islands are the last bit of the Duchy of Normandy that annexed England in 1066 and The Isle of Man is a dependent fife of either England or Scotland (I think there was some unpleasantness over this) which ended up belonging to the Crown anyway.  They have their own governments but the UK covers international affairs (and some other things).  The nearest comparison for the political relationship would be Puerto Rico.

To make life more interesting, explain all the possibilities of British citizenship. (example: a citizen of a commonwealth country - Canada say - wouldn't necessarily have a right to stay in Britain but if they did so legally would have the vote).

a cynic writes...
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

There's a difference between UK and GB? I thought it was all the same.

About stopping black youths: I never get stopped by the police either, but whenever there's a raid at a nightclub where I'm at the bouncer always makes a point of asking for my ID and not of my girlfriend (who is lilly white).

RP
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home