May 14, 2021

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Lessons to help Thanh’s girl get promoted abroad

4 min read


Through her journey to Europe to work, Le Thanh Huyen, 36 years old, learned some lessons to help her have a better job and be recognized.

Thanh Huyen has lived and worked in Vietnam, China, Singapore, Belgium and Germany, and is currently a Marketing Specialist in a leading Japanese corporation, a European branch office in Germany. Huyen co-founded the Bilingual English – Vietnamese – Beyond Tra Da Podcast site, to share learning, applying for scholarships and work orientation for young people.

During the process of integrating and working in multinationals, Huyen has learned many lessons for himself and can be useful to many young people.

Huyen visited the city of Porto, Portugal, in August 2020. Image: NVCC.

Smart when choosing the job

If I had to, I would choose a good company instead of an interesting job. Having a good job in a good company is best, but choosing a normal job in a good company in the long run is better than an interesting job in an ordinary company. That is the case when you have a choice, but when you are unemployed, any job is fine.

So what is a good company? For example, with a Vietnam passport, once you have a US visa, it is much easier to apply for a visa to go to some countries, even without having to apply for a visa. A good company is like an American visa. In addition, defining a good company depends on your career, industry and shape your long-term career strategy, without a common answer.

If you want to do Marketing B2C then a small FMCG company will be better for you to start than a big B2B company. When I finished my MBA, I received a job offer from two companies. While talking and researching, I know that working in Belgium is much more interesting but the company is small.

Working in Germany is a bit more boring (a characteristic of many large companies) and making decisions sometimes takes a lot of time (because it is a Japanese company). I was going to take a job in Belgium, but my mentor persuaded me to choose a company in Germany. Until now, I see that choice to be correct.

Find mentors early

Finding a good mentor is very important, I am fortunate to have 4 people helping, directing work and study.

To find the right mentors, start by asking questions. One thing I found out from myself is the mentality of being afraid to ask, afraid of troublesome others, the thought of asking people won’t help. However, you should remember that if you don’t ask, of course the answer will always be no.

If you ask, someone will refuse and someone will help. I realize that people who have had certain experiences and successes are quite generous in helping others.

If I do it again, I will realize the importance of mentors earlier and start earlier.

Be proactive at work

If the job is a bit boring but everything else at the company is fine, talk to your boss before resigning. Sometimes your boss does not know that you are bored, talk directly to him and want to receive more interesting projects. In case things do not change, then it is not too late to apply for leave.

If you see a project in the company you want to participate in, contact the person in charge directly and say that you want to learn and support them. You shouldn’t just wait for your boss to give you the job.

Instead of just doing the assigned work, I actively search and write down project proposals I want to do and benefit the company. My boss agreed to let me continue to research more deeply on this project. After that, I was sent to the headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, presenting two projects and approved, funding for implementation.

In addition to doing the projects I want, I also have the opportunity to expand relationships with colleagues at the headquarters in Japan. I am also more trusted by my boss.

It is difficult for Japanese companies to advance in terms of title change because they sometimes have to follow the seniority. But by the way, I get a raise, assigned to other projects.

Agility in dealing with the boss

When working with managers you don’t think are very good, don’t try to prove you are better than them. This can affect your promotion, or sometimes whether you are on a project or not.

If they show or prove you are better, they will be more prejudiced against you. Instead, you accept them as your boss, find ways to solicit their support, skillfully find their consensus for your projects. You can share with your boss any ideas that you think are good and consult with your boss. This is to link your project idea to your boss.

Effective time management

I’m easily distracted so I usually turn off notifications for Whatsapp, Facebook, and other apps on my phone, except for incoming messages and calls. Just checking my phone every few hours makes me much more productive.

In addition, once you open the email, you have to process the email: Reply, make notes on the to-do list, or put in follow up (follow, monitor). Having opened an email means you have to leave it out of your inbox, avoiding the need to process the message the next time you open it.

You should avoid starting and working on multiple tasks at the same time. My to-do list has a priority task and I just do one thing, finish it and move on to something else. Multitasking is time consuming and ineffective.

Le Thanh Huyen

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