Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Day 7 How to get a job in Italy

From now on when someone asks “How did I end up here?” I’ll point them to this post

It’s quite simple. It starts back when I was born in the quiet suburbs of Cincinnati. Ok, maybe that’s going back too far. The short version is I’ve always loved airplanes and anything that flies. So to me it was obvious that in college I would study Aerospace Engineering (by the way I don’t recommend this, study Mechanical Engineering instead, trust me on this!). After university I got very lucky and found a job in the aerospace industry almost right away. Most of my classmates didn’t even try to go into the workforce because the job market was so bad back then. I took a contract job at a jet engine manufacturer in Indianapolis that turned into a direct job. Then I quietly spent almost 10 years designing jet engines in Indianapolis. I liked it but I wanted to play with the whole engine and see the world. In the design department you need to specialize in one area of the engine to be able to handle everything but only in “your area”. I was tired and worried about being too specialized, so I decided to get out and see engines in the wild. The Italian Government at the same time was deciding that they were going to buy some new aircraft for their Air Force with new engines, IF (that’s a big if) they were allowed to repair the engines in Italy. So my company said, “Ok, we’ll let you repair your engines in Italy, IF (that’s a big if) you agree to have someone from our company there to help you learn this engine.” The deal was made and a job created. I saw the advertisement for the job in our company newsletter and put in for it because it was exactly the combination of things I wanted, a new adventure at work and home. After a tough round of interviews they picked me. It was an easy choice for them because the engine that the Italians bought is one of the engine models that I worked on for most of the 10 years in design. So you see that’s how I was able to legally live and work in Italy. I had experience with a jet engine that was designed and built in the USA so there was no EU citizen that could do the job I was contracted to do. Not easy but I got in. I do recommend working for a big international company that has offices or businesses around the world if you are seeking a position in another country. That is your good way of getting a job in the country of your choice. By the way the company I work for and the Italian company are not part of the military but they both work a lot with the military.

A couple of interesting side notes to my story.
I had never visited Italy before I accepted the job in Brindisi. I did have a pre-work visit but at that point I was committed to coming and would have looked bad if I refused. I reasoned that with the Italian side of my family I already knew what it was like to live in Italy. I think that was true…to a small extent.
The day I was offered the job was also the same day that I had a first date with a woman I had known for a while in Indianapolis. In my excitement we went to an Italian restaurant called Amici. I announced how excited I was to be moving to Italy and that was our one and only date. Did I mention that I’m not good at maintaining a relationship?
My original contract was for 3 years and I’ve just finished 4 years. My contract runs out in September of 2008 but NOTHING has gone to schedule in Italy. All good things must come to end. I’m also not sure what comes next. That’s the subject of a post by itself, someday, when it’s clearer.
The job requirements should have included, “must at least like soccer, preferable to have playing experience and a desire to play in situations that are as serious as life and death.” If I didn’t play soccer then the working life here would have been much tougher. When I would go into new area of the Italian company there would be somebody there that was in the company league and therefore I was not a complete stranger or outsider.

The photo is the miniature radio controlled helicopter I bought myself for my birthday. It's soo frickin' cool but the cats better stop looking at it with a gleam in their eyes.


Judith in YUMMMMbria said...

Happy birthday, big boy! Nice toy, too.

Lori said...

I picked up a gourmet magazine today and it featured Puglia. I was longing again for the markets, food, and sea.It made a dig or two on Bari and Brindisi and made it sound like Lecce is all that. When we know they are a bunch of thieves. Anyway, there's alway Polignano and Ostuni. And plenty of other beautiful Puglia towns.

Roam2Rome said...

Ah, I was wondering how you ended up in Italy! You know, today when they announced that the dollar fell even more, the first thing I thought is that a lot of American companies that have international offices will get busier, since they are now more affordable for Europeans. At least, some of my translations are about Italian companies wanting to start business relationships with American businesses. So, your advice is a great one!

My brother started with Aerospace Engineering, and switched to Computer Engineering... the copter is frikin' cool, make it fly above the cats and I'm sure the gleam in their eye will be gone! :) That or...

Tui said...

I can believe what you say about soccer being a requirement to join the Italian workforce!

That helicopter looks like a blast. Good luck keeping it out of the kitties' airspace. :)

Jeff Gromen said...

Thanks and since when is "yummmmbria". I guess in chestnut and new wine season.

I think people that do that travel stuff haven't even been to Brindisi and yet they write about it.

The Europeans better wake up because work goes where it's cheaper. This strong Euro is not all good for them. What happens when the hourly wage is "cheaper" in the US than Eastern Europe?!

I guess I could close the door but that would take some the risk factor away.


Delina said...

So know we know!

Imagine flying the helicopter just high enough so the cats can't touch it. Hours of fun to be had.