From Village to Big Town – My Road to Austin

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“I’m excited to let you know relocations for next year have been approved.” An email I’ve been waiting for months arrived December 2, 2015 and suddenly a dream was about to become reality. Deep breath! It is really happening.

Janine Wegner at Dell Experience at SXSW 2016

I grew up in a very small town, nay village, in former East Germany and first explored the world in 2002/2003 as a high school exchange student near Salt Lake City, Utah. It was an adventurous year with ups and downs that showed me that there are people, yes sometimes strangers, who are willing to help in difficult situations. This is a character trait I’ve been trying to practice ever since. It was clear to me that at some point I’d like to go back and live in the States again.

To explore the world a bit more, I studied international business and management living in multiple countries: South Africa, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. I moved back to my home town to write my thesis before moving to Dublin, Ireland for a full-time job. Through LinkedIn, a talent agency convinced me to stay near my home town for role as a Social Media and Online Marketing Manager at Dell.

So I stayed for almost four years and was fortunate to work at Dell in a variety of roles: from launching the first ever global brand campaign around empowering our customers to do more and leading the social and digital strategy in country and region; to teaching executives and hundreds of employees on the use of social media with our award-winning trainings.

Next to providing me such great opportunities, Dell is also a great employer for flexible workstyle and always keen to develop its employees. To be clear, nothing is delivered to you on a silver plate, but you do have many options to get engaged and to develop your skills. The Global Marketing Rotation Program is one of the programs available to advanced marketing professionals and has been recognized for its excellence, earning the LEAD 2016 award. Members are hand-picked by Dell executives to develop leadership skills while completing multiple job rotations in global marketing functions and to collect executive and industry-wide exposure and organizational agility while completing stretch assignments. It is a marvelous program with a unique community of smart, driven marketers. Next to being exposed to different roles, you (and your family, if you have one) also have the opportunity to relocate to different Dell locations worldwide.

I raised my hand and expressed my wishes to relocate to the headquarters in Austin, Texas–my chance to move back to the United States. And so it happened starting with that email on December 2nd, 2015.

I have been living in Austin for six months now and it has been a great experience so far. The move was relatively easy thanks to a great relocation service from Dell. The team provided me with access to various service providers and agencies that helped me to settle in and set up my new life in Austin. I found a great place within a day with my *** agent – a perfect combination of high standard apartment complex with pool, lounge, business center and gym and an unbeatable offering for a great apartment with built-in kitchen and appliances. Within an hour I signed the contract and also met my new neighbor who just recently moved from Brazil and was working for Dell as well. She took on a role I initially turned down. The world is a small place.

Luckily, I did not suffer a “culture shock” when moving here. My experience living in the States before and previously moving from country-to-country helped with getting a routine and settling in a new place fairly quickly. Usually it starts with buying a decorative home item or two before actual real furniture. J Don’t judge!

The first week in Austin, I took off some days from work.

Day one: Unintentionally, I bought most of my furniture in one store. Sometimes it just fits. Downside was the delivery time was two to three weeks. An air mattress had to do for that time.

Day two: buying a car. That was the plan but it didn’t work out. I didn’t like what I saw so I decided to give it a rest for the day and moved on to getting organized on smaller things: kitchen utensils, office desk, and coffee machine. IKEA was my friend for the rest of the day.

Day three: Car. I gave it another try because, well, I needed a car. And with a little help of friends, I scored a great deal. Having crossed of the big items from my list, the following days were occupied by unpacking the boxes that arrived day after day and making myself comfortable in my new home.

The relocation agent checked in every other day if I needed anything. Any question or concern I had I could address with them, almost like a concierge service. Thank you Dell and the agencies.

Stay tuned for Janine’s key takeaways during her international adventure in Dell’s Marketing Rotation Program!

About the Author: Janine Wegner

Janine Wegner leads the strategy and partnerships across Dell’s entrepreneurship programs as well as acts as Chief of Staff for the Entrepreneur-in-Residence Office. She joined Dell in 2011 leading multiple digital and brand roles in country, region and corporate. Previous to Dell, she held multiple marketing roles at eBay, Philips International and start-ups. Since 2015, she is part of the award-winning talent program “Dell Marketing Rotation Program” whose members are hand-picked by Dell executives to develop leadership skills while completing multiple job rotations in global marketing functions. Janine holds two Bachelor and three Master degrees from universities across 4 countries. She recently moved to Austin, Texas, from Germany.
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