Why don't you like America
Lifelines: Monique Menesi "America is still the land of opportunity"
Lifelines: Monique Menesi "America is still the land of opportunity"
In this interview we want to introduce you to Monique Menesi, who emigrated to the USA in 2014 with a green card won, without a plan, but with husband Sascha and two children, eight and twelve at the time, as well as a Jack Russell Terrier.
Where did your American adventure begin, and where have you already lived?
First we went to Seattle with a one-way ticket because that was the cheapest flight. We then traveled for a few months and then settled in Charlotte, North Carolina. There we founded our first company Meetus @ US www.meetus.us - a German-American Executive Search, Recruiting & Consulting company. In 2018 we moved to Portland, Oregon, to launch our second business www.breadlovers.net there. We have been living in California since February 2020, where another business www.equilibrium.team was added.
At the moment you and your husband have four businesses and Sascha mainly takes care of breadlovers, right?
Exactly, here are our four websites about it:
1. www.meetus.us: German-American Executive Search & Consulting
2.www.breadlovers.net: "German Style" Sourdough Bread Baking Mix
3.www.equilbrium.team: Mindful Leadership online course & coaching
4.www.muttersprachepodcast.com: The United States Emigrant Podcast
What do you love most about your new home USA?
The country, the people and that you can try out yourself here. All that glitters is not gold here either, but in many ways the US is still the land of opportunity. However, you have to work hard for it!
And what do you particularly miss about Germany?
Actually, I just miss Munich and certain people. Although I was born in the Sauerland, I felt very at home in Munich. I would like to go to the dm drugstore again. For the bread that we were missing here, we have found a great solution with our own business.
Is your everyday life in America today different than it was before in Germany?
Phew, that's hard to answer. Actually not that much, since I was self-employed most of the time in Germany; I always worked a lot there too. Maybe the distances and public transport. In Germany I was traveling a lot on my own for work; I haven't been since we've lived in the USA. And the business trip culture has changed a lot as a result of Corona.
How does working life differ from that in the old homeland? Has moving to America affected your career? And have you perhaps embarked on a completely new professional path?
I worked in Germany as an executive coach for companies like the Otto Group, Lufthansa and TUI. Even if my English was okay, it was initially difficult to gain a foothold here as a psychotherapist and coach. When we started in the USA, I first had a job in the HR department of a German company, and then we set up our first company very quickly. I think that if you emigrate and are not sent as an expat, you definitely have to be flexible in your job. Since the Corona crisis, I've only been working online, mainly as a leadership coach, similar to what I did before in Germany. Full circle!
At the age of 19 you founded your first own business, a travel agency chain in the Ruhr area. So being an entrepreneur wasn't completely new to you. Do you feel like it's easier to be self-employed in America?
Yes, in any case. But that may also be due to social media in general and the opportunities to network more. We are also strongly focused on the German-American market, and that is a manageable community.
What plans and goals do you have for your stay abroad?
To further expand my successful companies and my native language podcast. I would also like to expand my network and lead a relaxed life here.
What does a typical Monday morning look like for you?
Running on the beach, yoga and meditation, and then it starts at 9:00 a.m. Usually a few phone calls, emails and a few coaching sessions. In the afternoon a walk with the dogs on the beach and then some more work.
Have you changed after moving to America?
Good question - maybe this question should be asked of my family in Germany. I think I've always been a little crazy and spontaneous. I don't mean America has changed me. But I have certainly changed because I put a lot of time into intensive work with myself and dealt with the question of what I want from life. Emigration has also welded us together as a family and brought us even closer to one another.
Did you learn anything special about yourself from immigrating and living in America?
You can do anything you want. Doesn't work, doesn't exist. However, there are no weekends either.
What was your first impression of America / where you live?
At first I thought it was weird to be in a place where I don't know anyone. Fortunately, that changed very quickly. Since we had lived in Dubai, Qatar and Switzerland before, I knew how to quickly network with other Germans and find my way abroad.
When did you feel that you really understood the Americans?
Not until today. :-)
And when did you feel that you had really arrived?
To be honest, we've lived in so many places that I get somewhere relatively quickly. I always need a year to feel really at home somewhere. It sounds strange, but as soon as you've spent a season in one place for the second time, it feels familiar.
Do you have any tips on how to best prepare mentally and organizationally for a move abroad?
Good preparation is essential. I would network with Germans on social media. On Facebook there are groups for almost every place where you can get to know people and get good tips. If I am looking for a job, I would find out which companies are suitable and update my LinkedIn profile. And: We had all sold our furniture, I would do it again. Networking, networking and networking - these are absolutely the most important things.
Do you have contact with other German-speaking expats / emigrants whose experiences you can benefit from?
I even started a podcast just with German emigrants, and that's a huge asset, and I look forward to a new interview every week. www.muttersprachepodcast.com
Four more "fun questions" for you:
What three things do you want to bring with you from your visit to Germany?
Handkerchiefs, things from the dm, tea
And what three things would you take with you when you go back to yours tomorrowwould move old home?
What is your favorite season and why?
We have almost no season here in California. I loved spring in Oregon and autumn in Charlotte, NC.
What is your favorite holiday and why?
Thanksgiving is great here: people get together and just enjoy the time together.
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