Inspiration

Every day is International Women’s Day: Inka Dieckmann

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Inka Dieckmann 29 / London via Stuttgart, Germany / Brand Management – Power Tools

Inka DiekmannFind me on LinkedIn : Currently at Bosch Power Tools

Education : Master of Science International Business, Bachelor of Arts International Tourism

Languages : German, English

 

Claudia : What are you most excited about right now?

Inka : In two months I’ll be moving to London which I am definitely mostly excited about. I will be starting a new job in a new country; I feel very lucky. It’s all a big adventure because I have no idea where I’m going to end up! I don’t even know where I’m going to live because navigating the apartment situation in London seems to be like trying to find the mid-point of a painfully expensive maze. But I guess that’s part of the deal moving to a ‘metropolis’.

I will be experiencing and learning so many things; even though it is going to cost me a few nerves I believe it will be all worthwhile. Starting with the new dress code at work (very fancy!) and getting to know new colleagues, to experiencing and trying to adapt to a new culture, to actually living and settling down in England. All the while, I will be trying not to neglect my life back in Germany, such as family and friends and of course, my German heritage.

You’re courageous to make such a step! What motivates you and gives you the strength to move forward into the unknown?

I am definitely motivated by my affection for the Anglos (as I call them: my Anglophone friends from Canada, USA and Australia) and my own curiosity to experience life abroad. You can’t really talk about things if you have never done or tried them, right? And I do want to improve my English.

The strength to move forward into the unknown comes definitely from one essential source which is my family. I have the privilege to be able to say that I know that they will always be there for me and support me whatever I do or if anything goes wrong. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that.

I’ve taken big steps into independence before and it has worked out fine, not at least to say that it brought me where I am now. So if I have done it before, there is hope that I will manage again!

Are you nervous about the move to London?

Yes, I’m definitely nervous about this step, but as much as I’m excited. In Stuttgart, Germany where I have lived since 2010, I have a pretty internationally-diverse friendship group. I’ve lived through their phases of adaptation, expat challenges and learnt about my own culture through their eyes. Now, when I move to the UK, I will experience what they have been doing! I am going to be the odd one out and I’m excited to see what that will feel like and how I will react to that.

How did you celebrate yourself and the women you know and admire this International women’s Day on March 8th?

I went out for drinks in London, where I was visiting to meet my new team. I had to celebrate my conquering the apartment labyrinth, or more precisely, to encourage myself to continue the search!

When I want to treat myself in general, I have a pretty simple routine. I go for a run, take a bath, put make up on, some nice clothes, have some bubbles and meet some friends in the city.

I heard in Germany that after having children, the return to the workplace for a woman tends to be after several years, if at all. Is this the case for your generation? Is a family considered a shared task?

This isn’t yet a priority for me so I haven’t started thinking about it. Nevertheless in the majority of families I know now and from my childhood, the woman stays home to look after the children, at least for a few months or years but definitely going back to work at some point.

I wouldn’t mind staying at home to be a mother and home-maker, but I believe we are a generation that has the option to share the household tasks and responsibilities. I’m very aware that we are lucky enough to have this freedom to choose, and I like that. I think it’s a personal choice for every woman and man to make for her- or himself.

You know that I’m not the only one to think that you are extremely level-headed and to value your pragmatic opinion when it comes to a difficult situation. I think my words were: if there was a zombie apocalypse, Inka would be calmly handing out baked goods with a tablet in hand telling everyone what they should be doing, probably in a fabulous tweed blazer and pumps. Do you have any pragmatic message for young women starting out in industry now that might be overwhelmed with choice or fearing a ‘professional apocalypse’?

I think most women ask themselves so many questions : “where I will end up, what will I do, how can I do a better job, am I doing this correctly, what can I do to contribute to a better world or a better environment, what if I forgot something in my email/grocery run/phone–call etc…” All I can say though his take it step by step, stress less, stay friendly and keep smiling.

We are all humans and humans make mistakes. And the good thing is we can learn from mistakes. And sometimes if you are not sure, it doesn’t hurt to ask for advice even though many people see that as a weakness. In my opinion, it is more a sign of strength then weakness because you care and had the guts to ask. I sometime tell myself to put anxieties into perspective – some people have way bigger problems or challenges in life.

Most importantly, find something that motivates you! Because if you are motivated – you work harder and you enjoy it more! That’s pure pragmatism [laughs].

 

About Claudia Schulz

Claudia Schulz is an Engineer who left Australia’s shores in 2008 to pursue post-graduate studies in International Management in Germany. Currently, Claudia is in Paris working in Key Account Management for a global engineering solutions provider.She is passionate about raising awareness of gender-roles in the international workplace, connecting people, language, literature, and croissants.Has been described as sassy on more than one occasion (thank you, high-school debating).Life goals (in no particular order): attend a TED Conference, travel through Turkey, obtain a PhD, buy an oven (not an easy feat for a Parisian-sized apartment).

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