Meet Markéta Pokorná – our cheerful and smiley Project Manager who is well-known in the Foreigners Headquarters team as a “chameleon”. Why has she got a nickname like this? Find out in the interview!
Tell us, Markéta, why did you choose Foreigners?
For me it was quite easy to make this decision. I worked for an accounting company and I have to say I found it extremely boring. I just knew I won’t be there for a long time! In winter 2017 Foreigners were looking for a project manager, but frankly speaking, I didn’t exactly see myself as a suitable candidate. It was mostly just a desire to work for a company like Foreigners: help the international community and be in contact with expats and foreign students. I met with Foreigners CFO Vojta and according to him, I seemed focused and dedicated and we decided to try working together. However, my first day at work went sort of weird: it was winter and the heating at our office didn’t work, so I had to have a jacket on, which wasn’t my best experience at all. I always laugh at this situation and say to everyone that Foreigners were trying to get rid of me, but as you see, they didn’t succeed 🙂
That is quite rare, I’d say 🙂 What did you expect from your job position and did it turn out to be everything you wanted it to be?
I have a truly unique job position: it includes a lot of tasks and things to handle. That’s why I call myself a chameleon 🙂 I do real estate, help with visa issues, take care of Domeq payments and I used to be a MeetUp and Czech Universities coordinator. There’re so many things going on in my life and I can’t be happier! I knew that a job in Foreigners will give me a lot and it didn’t fail to match my expectations. This is exactly what I love: trying new things.
Wow, not everyone could actually say that about their job! And did it help you grow as a person?
Definitely! I learned how to finish tasks and focus on the end of the project. It’s extremely important for me, as I have a lot of things to manage.
Do you have any experience of living in a foreign country? How does it help you in working with expats?
I went to Estonia under the Erasmus programme. My second language is Russian, though it’s a little rusty since nowadays I don’t get to practice it a lot. Back at the time, I used it quite often because I lived in a neighborhood full of Russians. It’s a slightly different world and you always have to adjust to it, and, of course, any experience of living abroad will change the way you think. Now I can see more differences between Czechs and other people: for example, we often come off as friendly people, but I think we’re actually not. Our level of the English language is not high and, in fact, we could even be scared of foreign people. A similar story happened to my mum: she didn’t really understand expats’ culture, but over time she actually started to be very interested in the international environment.
As you said before you’re a chameleon in our team. How do you manage to be focused and do everything on time?
Our CEO Andrea helped me a lot. I created so-called “bubbles”: one bubble for one group of tasks, so I know in what direction I should head today in my work routine. Also, I use Google Calendar and Google tasks: I find them extremely helpful! One important moment: if I have way too many things to handle, I try to finish or postpone it immediately to ease my mind and concentrate on what I should do first.
What is your favorite part about a job?
I love the fact that I’m actually in between the Czech and foreign communities. Sometimes I can feel anger, frustration and bad feelings from both sides and I sort of become a middle link between them. I know it could be so hard to calm down and I strongly advise both sides to stop thinking for a moment, breathe deeply and start thinking again.
This could actually be applied to many life situations! Let’s move to more personal questions. What makes you happy?
Small things! Like this breakfast with you 🙂 Also my dog and boyfriend. And chocolate 🙂
You’re too sweet 🙂 What do you usually do in your free time?
I train my dog, hang out with friends: I have a lot of them and I try to meet with everyone as much as I can. Besides this, I like traveling: from time to time I go hiking.
I’m aware of the fact that you love to help dogs. Did you want to become a vet when you were a child or maybe to have a job related to animals?
Actually, I never wanted. What I knew I wanted is to be with people, to communicate!
What would you recommend a person who has decided to move to the Czech Republic?
I would strongly recommend thinking through all your plans and what you expect from the country: if you want to find new friends – live in the city centre or in dorms. If you need to study or work a lot – try to find a calm place on the outskirts or on the edge of the city. Find a reason why you move here and I assure you, it will help you a lot!
Lovely! Thank you, Markéta, for sharing your experience, a useful piece of advice and your time!