Not everyone dreams about being a mobile worker. Some take the decision based on necessity rather than as a lifestyle choice. This was certainly the case for Daniela Tsvetanova, who left her native Bulgaria for Germany. But once there, she realised that the grass can sometimes be greener on the other side.
Daniela is emotional when she talks about the hotel manager who is her current employer: “He has given me everything; a good job, a good salary, holidays, and he is such an intelligent, tolerant and respectful person,” asserts Daniela.
But let us start from the beginning. Daniela was once a successful entrepreneur in Bulgaria, owning several pizzerias and bars. But when the financial crisis hit the country, business started to go downhill and Daniela found herself in financial difficulties and without work. Adding to this was the illness of a family member who needed surgery that needed to be paid for.
“Going abroad was not my primary idea, but I felt forced to do so due to the situation I was in. I had friends telling me that working life can be better if you move to another European country,” says Daniela. Informing herself about the conditions to move abroad*, she first moved to neighbouring Greece, and took a job as cold-buffet manageress, preparing cold starters and desserts. This experience was tough in many ways, but it inspired Daniela to continue her search. At this stage Daniela turned to EURES for help and Malinka Todorova, EURES Adviser in Burgas, eastern Bulgaria, was happy to assist her.
“Malinka showed me how to search for vacancies on the EURES portal and guided me on how to write an application and approach employers. I quickly approached three interesting employers in Germany and two of them responded positively,” recalls Daniela.
Just two months later Daniela was working as a hotel maid at the Nordeseehotel Freese, based on the island of Juist, in north-western Germany. “It is amazing,” explains Daniela. “Being a seasonal worker** suits me perfectly, as I would never consider leaving Bulgaria for good.”
And Daniela’s limited German language skills have not proven to be a barrier, instead letting her hard work do the talking for her.
“How do I manage without speaking the language? I don’t know, and no one seems to understand that either. I just look, listen and work really hard, I guess; people respect those who do their duties,” concludes Daniela.
** Seasonal work contracts do not require work permit in some countries (see above) but are limited to six months, and can only be renewed three months after the end of the last contract.