The Background

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  • Timestamps
    • 20231119, started and published the first version of this article

It was already more than 5 years ago, the February in 2018, I quit my job as a R&D team leader in a startup legal tech company in Shanghai, China, to fully return to my master study at the Antai College of Economics and Management, a renowned and the first business school in China accredited by all three of the world’s most authoritative business school accreditation entities: AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA, in Shanghai Jiao Tong University. It symbolized a return to my supposed track of career after a diverge of about a year.

But the story began in fact a year earlier when I was invited by a friend to join the legal tech company. And it was also the critical time when I had to make a plan for my career. It was right before the start of my 4th semester of master study when all us as master students had to make the important career preparation for the next step. I had some thoughts around the decision and joined the legal tech startup with a salary request taking the oppotunity cost into account agreed. It was about the salary but in fact much more than it.

I had been hugely influenced by the cherrypicked western culture of independance which includes rumors that westerners (mostly Americans) being more independent from parents before I first came in Germany in 2014 and my own experience of hearing and observing more cases about Germans being independent when they finish their high schools in Germany. But to the ground, it is just more of my own will to be independent which is also partially cultivated by my parents. They are hard-working people and have done financially well considering their limited resources and oppotunities. They can financially support me well like most Chinese families. But they also have taught me repeatedly not to own others by their words as well as their own acts. But only that the "others" in my ears and eyes also include them. Although I known inevitably family members owe each other and owing each other is exactly what relationship means. But I just have got the personility to wish to own them as less as possible and to stand on my own legs as much as possible. I applied for national student loans when I started my universities although I didn't really need to. I started earliest in my class to do an intership job in my master study since the beginning of my 2nd semester in 2016 to become financially independent from my parents like many German students do since their universities. There is a bit more worth telling. I had a hard goal there which is financially completely independent from my parents since the graduation as a bachelor from my first university with the thinking that some of my bachelor classmates just started their work in society to support themselves after the graduation while I continued my further higher education. Together with the knowing about how German students do in terms of financial independence, I strongly would like to be financially independent after my first university. As a matter of fact, except for the 10,000 CNY from my parents for my first year tuition of the master study, I have since then financially independent from my parents. And I didn't really need that 10,000 CNY because of my saving resulted from wining several national and national encouragement scholarships as well as a CSC scholarship. But I did take the 10,000 CNY from my parents because I would like to owe them there to have them involved in my master study which is an important phase of my life. I managed to be financially independent, because I am good at living a minimum life in terms of finance. I want some things so I given up on other things. It has always been the trade-offs.

Joining the legal tech startup is about the salary, but is also more about paving the road for the further future. When one is young, it is more important to make good choices than to try hard. During that "diverged" year, I saved the money which supported me financially coming to Germany later as well as the knowledge and skills that helped me getting a job during the epedemic. If the decision was made not to take the legal tech startup offer, things could have gone largely differently. I returned to my "main" road after a year because things in the legal tech didn't work so well for me and I really needed to focus on finishing my master thesis then as well as that I had and have always been with a belief that I shouldn't waste my efforts made in my formal university studies because I did study hard and well without muddling along.

I returned in my master study with a year gone without much focus on the study in university. After the return, I did spend my time doing the "summary" work of what I should do. I had spent my time and energy on the master thesis which I do think worth presenting to the world a bit better. So there comes my article series "Master-Thesis.series" at the time which is about 5 years later when I finally get the time, the mood, or the situation where I am calm enough to do the presenting part.

This is a background article for the master thesis series, so it should also be good to look back of the 5 years when I haven't find the situation to write about the thesis.

Where has the 5 years gone? Looking back, to be honest, I am not so efficient or successful in the past 5 years. It is kind of like the lost 5 years. Have I become better or worse? I become better if time is not considered as a cost, but I may have become worse if time is considered to be a cost - oppotunity cost.

I worked at a fintech startup after graduation as a M.Sc in Management as a means to get my registered permanent residence in Shanghai as well as to get some fintech practices as my study is also by largely finance - both because of the fact that my college is in the financial center of China and my college is for a combination of management and economics with finance contained inside. Because of my experience at the legal tech startup, I knew how the other fintech startup would mean for me. So I restarted my learning of German after just 2 months of joining the fintech startup by taking weekend courses and using time after work. The fintech startup job didn't convince me as a worth doing job for my time. I got out after about 8 months. After that, in 2019, I did also searched for other jobs at the beginning and also joined my last company in China, as a software engineer at Fullgoal Fund Management, but for just a week. Fullgoal is a big company which could also pay me well, but I just think the job there did not pay me well in terms of experience I would gain there and the time I would instead be used for my preparation to Germany. After the May in 2019 when I left Fullgoal, I no longer searched for another job in China, but instead doing all the preparation to Germany. I passed Goethe-Zertifikat B1 German Exam in September, took B2.2 German courses until November, as well as passed Part I and Part II of the GARP Financial Risk Manager Certification Exam (FRM® Exam) in May and November, 2019. Then in December, 2019, I arrived in Munich, Germany, again. It was the first small 2 years of my lost 5 years. I graduated from a renowned business school as a M.Sc in Management, I got my registered permanent residence in Shanghai, I gained some experience in fintech as well as passed some professional financial exams, I refreshed my Germany language ability to around level B2 and landed finally in Munich, Germany, again. Thereafter, it is the big 3 years in Germany.

It was 3 years I finally got confused and lost, but it is also not the 3 years I completely lost without achievements. Fortunatly, I left China before the outbreak of COVID-19, so I didn't get locked there; Unfortunitely, the COVID-19 epidemic arrived in Europe about just 2 months later than me, which made finding a proper job harder. In the first 2 months after I arrived in Germany, I was still more concerned about my German ability to find a job in Munich. So I spend more time in learning German than looking for job oppotunities. And the I took the Goethe-Zertifikat B2 Exam on 20.02.2020 in Munich. Luckily, I was a one-shot success. When I had the "Goethe-Zertifikat B2" on my resume, I started to put more focus on finding a proper job in Munich. Started at only looking in the financial sector, as most of my preparation is for a fintech job in Munich, but I didn't get the luck to have a proper offer. Fresh B2 German was still a big obstacle there. But epidemic made it much worse. So I enlarged job criteria as well as lowered my requirement for the salary. Blessed with luck, I got my opportunity to join DAVID Systems GmbH, which was my savior and was quite to my favor, in May, 2020. Only that I was delayed to official join for about 9 weeks because of the work permit Visa issue and the very slow process in Munich. Work is commonly biggest part in one's life after leaving universities. (8 hours of good time per work day are a lot of good hours a day.) So does mine, especially when it is my first job in Germany.

I was finally onboard and not longer floating on the sea in July, 2020. I started my year proving my profession at the company which I was much emotionally greatful for considering the fact of joining during the COVID-19 epidemic as a fresh immigrant, which was more or less also a reason that I didn't start to search for a new job after I had got my settlement permit in Germany in 2022. The company was quite to my taste or expectation of a Germany company. It was quite focus on one industry which is audio, or more specifically, broadcasting; It started early and has a histroy around 30 years which would have allowed it to accumulate and establish knowledge, experience and good practices that I can learn from; and it is not a consulting company which switches projects every now and then driven by customers but instead a company which can make its own product development to shape the industry. At least, I thought so before I joined. The first year was the best year I was there. I worked happily with the goal to prove myself at the company and I had a group manager who cared about me and could speak for me to the management team. Also with the suggestion from my group manager, I also gained my professional certification of Professional Scrum Master I in May, 2021. But my attitude changed when I had found out that it would make no difference if I work hard for the company or not at all. Upon my one year at the company, I talked with my group manager about the salary raise in July, 2021 and my group manager helped in the middle talking with the management team. But I felt like just unheard by the management team. And the salary raise was a very unwilling process. It was felt like the company had a lot of profit and was very much willing to pay much more for freelancers who did less than me but just did not want to give me reasonable salary raise. When working much for the company is meaningless, I no longer do so because I know it will not come to a suitation which is fair. Then there came the strategy change. It is not just about the salary, it is more about whether the company sees my contribution or even whether the company is willing to see my contribution. The first year was like the water test, but only that I showed my willingness to contribute but got a response that the company didn't want to have it. I was not well valued, so I got discouraged. The job became just a job, not a proud one, indifferent. This is quite negative, especially for someone who flew thousands of mile from the far east. But I stayed patient, as there were changes happening within the company. Only that it turned out the changes were least favorable for me. From my group manager was removed leaving no intermediate channel to talk or get feedback from the management team, to the product development teams were dismissed and instead to form short-time project teams. And unfortunitely, until I left the company, the situation hadn't come to a state where I could light up my passion to contribute more there. The later 2 years at the company is also the time I got confused and lost. With absolutely fewer achievements as I had anticipated. It was like a state that I had lost my directions or orientations, and wasted a lot of time and energy wondering where to go and what to do. Missing a guide is a big missing. Although I made the decision to pick up finance knowledge again and passed Level I Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam in May, 2022, and got my settlement permit (went ashore) in Germany in September, 2022, it was too little for the 2 years, and there were still many goals I failed to reach including making my Germany ability practically effecient (the work langauge at the company is English) in the past 3 years and I even failed Level II CFA exam in May, 2023 as a result of burning out or losing my good discipline, which showed a red flag about my status. I left the company in October, 2023. It is/feels now like a wished/relieved leaving and I do not feel guilty to the company which picked me up in 2020 during the epidemic. (Because of some disputes around my moving from Munich to Frankfurt.)

I am now kind of back into the state as I was in at the beginning of 2020. Only that now I have lived in Germany for almost 4 years and have the settlement permit in Germany which enables me to wait longer for a better job, no COVID-19 epidemic which leaves fewer company hiring and harder for interviews, and I have much more work experience in Germany as well as better understanding of German society as a whole. Although I got older, I feel I have more free time for myself to do something I missed finishing in the hurry past. Like writing about my master thesis as a means to refresh some of my knowledge.

Why writing this? My master thesis is indeed something I had proudly done and I finally got the time to write about it. It is the background. Also of my current state. And also the consideration as the following.

If you don't let others to know you, you cannot get known by others. Writing as a way for myself to look back for better planing for the future as well as a way for letting potential people to get to know me better.

* cached version, generated at 2023-11-24 13:25:40 UTC.

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