Monday, 12 September 2011

Well that was short!

When I was researching whether I wanted to take a six month contract in Switzerland, I discovered a post on the infamous English Forums from someone who'd been in the country just six months.

He listed the positives as... well that the scenery of mountains and lakes is quite pretty.

The negatives were a seemingly endless list of bullet-points, which I won't bore the reader with here. Suffice to say the cost of everything was top of the list, with petty bureaucracy, silly rules, long working days and the country seemingly closing down after 9.30pm even at weekends being near the top.

I would add that the transport system is excellent (although expensive once you veer outside the Zurich Zone 10 and want to travel around the whole country).

I would also add that once you've seen one carbon-copy pretty lake with cable cars and mountains, you've pretty much seen them all. Zurich, Lausanne, Brunnen, Montreaux ... meh! I've seen them all and they're pretty indistinguishable. Travel a little further to the South of France and see a variation on the theme, but with far more character that DOESN'T look like a model railway toytown charicature.

I meant to update this blog with reports of some of those visits, but really they would all have been much of a muchness, and I haven't had time with the crazy day job and all.

That being said, this post is being written after I've left Switzerland. My departure has been rather hasty. Working for one of the big Swiss banks, the cutbacks I'd been told I'd be immune from just three weeks ago, and which at interview I'd been assured wouldn't happen, hit my team and I was 'saved' by being moved to another team that had nothing to do with the contract I'd signed up for and the skillset I have and came out to Switzerland to use.

Last week's devaluation of the Swiss franc, meaning a further reduction in salary when take-home pay is way below that in London, mainly because everything in Switzerland costs 2-3 times as much as it does back home, was the last straw. I quit the bank. I quit Switzerland.

Switzerland may be pretty, but it's over-priced, bland and xenophobic.

Will I be back, should another more lucrative and appropriate contract be offered me in the future?

Errrm... no!


  1. I hope that things are going well now that you're back in London. I wonder if the Swiss are "missing you already"? I know I am ;)

    Hope all is well.


  2. Well if you can call having lots of bills and no job 'going well' things are going fine ;-)

    Main thing is I'm 'home' and hope to be in a position where I can start looking for paid work in a week or two (so much to do first), despit the best efforts of Microsoft to tell the world my skillset is dead.

    Hope things are well with you.


  3. Make sure you've deregistered correctly and paid ALL your taxes before you leave, or they won't let you back in. Seems like a certain UK based rogue trader has done you a favour. Bye.

    1. It didn't seem like it at the time, but yes they did me a favour. It's funny how hell can seem bearable until you manage to escape it and realise you were just fooling yourself to survive. I did de-register but in all honesty can't envisage any situation where I'd ever consider returning. Not for all the tea in China, as the saying goes.

  4. Hi Ian, funny to hear from someone who is not German that Switzerland is way too expensive. It seems to me as if all the Germans living in Switzerland are having this as a primary topic at parties and gatherings (besides, I only know Germans and Swiss people in here, which is quite a pity, I would like to also know different people). For myself, it is also quite expensive, however I am from Scandinavia, which is already very expensive in itself :-)

    Alexander at cosmobutler