Sunday, December 13, 2009

Fries with that sir?

McDonald's,  Advertising, Germany,  Work permit, Freelance, End of the Vietnam War, I wonder how I will look in that paper hat? I was recently advised that taking a job at McDonald's is a way that many foreigners get a work permit for Germany. And with just a couple of months here I can understand why. With a full-time job one is able to participate in the social system which includes health insurance and for all that's a primary importance. My current status is as a freelance worker and that requires I provide my own insurance at around a hundred dollars a month. Recently in an email from my father he advised that I not come back to the US. 'There are no jobs here', he says and as a 53 year old professional, I wonder if there will ever be any more conventional jobs for me. Recently, in Vietnam, where the advertising business actually enjoyed a 30% increase in adspend, I know of at least three senior level people who were released with companies looking to trim budget and reduce losses globally. And how will I enjoy that paper hat? Better than I might enjoy a paper blanket on the street, I expect.


  1. I think you mean: Moechten sie pommes frites mit dass, mein Herr?

    If you want to keep that paper hat you'll need to learn the language.

    Your father's right.
    Even in a place as recession proof as Vegas, about the only people hiring require paper hats.

    And here you don't get the insurance.

  2. Right, all I need are a bunch of smartass readers who speak German to make me feel better about the situation!

  3. Here I am, making the opposite transition: from Germany to the US, albeit at a somewhat younger age. As a European who grew up working around the EU, my thoughts keep going to the one thing that screams here louder than anything else: the disadvantage of "being outsider" that comes with every change of country (my 4th in one way or another).

    We in EU made great strides to reduce the hurdles associated with free movement of workers. They are still there, but at least labor laws are uniformed to support transferability of ... (you name it: health insurance, pension, opening a bank account, credit history, driver license, etc.) and one can work / argue his way through on some kind of rational basis.

    However, going from one to another of the world's greatest economic islands can be a kafkian experience for all but the few multinational-backed managers with piles of cash and personal assistants...
    Even as a highly educated specialist in an industry that is in high demand (and has limited homegrown workforce). The feat is doable, just takes a lot of patience and putting up with a lot of ..., including being treated like you just got off the boat escaping a warzone. So much more respect for those who really did... hats off, we have no reason to complain!

    However, in the greater framework of things, the absurdity of this isolationism amongst the great economies (US, EU, and Japan) makes me think that the loud advocates of "free trade" (for whom trade is only "free" as long as done the way that benefits them) should really be advocating free movement of suitably-skilled workers for the positions to fill... to sustain their industries by matching worker supply with demand... if they had any balls ('xcuse the Lond'n English).

    The price for the illusion of national sovereignty and political power (while it lasts) is an accelerated decline of the current great economies; losing to ones which, for completely different reasons (think China) provide better match for worker supply & demand. Again, like on Wall Street, shortsightedness at the helm. Instead of diversifying on specific difficult-to-replicate characteristics (which we all have), our masters decided that the race to the bottom is on...

    ... I guess that's why: Sie sollten sich bei McDonalds bewerben

  4. BTW, a word to the wise, in Germany at least...

    Speaking an educated, almost perfect German definitely opens a lot of doors. It's like conquering a fortress: the walls are high, but once inside it's all there!

    Viel Erfolg !

  5. the 30% increase in adspend was due to the media inflation? this year HTV prices are going up another 40% even though they have lost the vast majority of their viewers to cable versions of themself. still, media inflation means brand owners need to spend more on tv to have the same effect. they are also spending less on creative. the big show reel was ok, though a bit short this year. No Saatchi, no lowe and not many locals. think its been a tough year for most agencies in VN this year hence the lay offs.

  6. Three Multinational agencies released creatives. So that's where the money was saved. Yes I know know who they were, but let#s not drag that through the mud. No Point. Point is business was good and the companies took it out on the people who made it. Sucks.

  7. And Giovani;

    What a well written and considered response. better than the post itself! And yes, the West is basically fucked. Even in my lifetime and more in yours. Methinks getting those CVs off to China isn't such a bad idea. I've already got Korea and Vietnam under my belt so I'd happily consider a fat expat posting to China. Do they still make those?

  8. DJGJ;

    Great point on the media inflation. The story I saw was in Vietnam Business News on the net. They didn't cover that point. Their story was more of a puff piece about well the business was going. But remember, agencies work on commission so they made more on the deal - I view their layoffs at profit mongering.


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