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WORKING IN DENMARK

JOB

Introducing The Local’s employee advice column

As a companion to our ongoing series on how to find a job in Denmark, we are happy to welcome Nancy Rasmussen on board to answer the questions that arise after you've landed the gig - from taxes, holiday time and career advancement.

Introducing The Local's employee advice column
Getting the job is just half the battle - after that, you've got to learn the ways of a Danish workplace. Photo: Colourbox
Getting a job is one thing in Denmark – we already know that it’s difficult and time consuming. But what is there to do after you’ve landed the job? Starting a job in any country can be hectic, what with all the paperwork and practicalities to consider. It can be daunting, but especially for foreigners who often find it quite confusing to navigate their way around new surroundings. And once you are settled in, how do you make sure that you can meet your objectives, whether it be maintaining a healthy work-life balance or advancing up the corporate ladder?
 
We hope to provide some insights with a new regular feature. You may have seen that we recently launched a new column written by Franco Soldera of NemCV. Joining in this venture is Nancy Rasmussen, who has been using her experience in HR to advise on business development for NemCV.  Nancy’s columns will focus on answering your questions about careers and the workplace.
 
Since earning her MBA in 2002, Nancy has accumulated over 12 years of experience with international companies, both in the US and Denmark. In 2013, Nancy moved to Denmark from the US for what is a fairly common reason: love.  Her husband is a Danish citizen and they made the decision to settle down in Denmark, where she has transitioned in quite well. She has 10 solid years of experience within HR, in a variety of roles. She became interested in helping out at NemCV after attending one of their workshops and creating her CV using the NemCV tool, which led to an immediate callback and subsequent job offer as an HR Business Partner at a large international company in Denmark. Since then, she has been helping NemCV intermittently on projects in her free time.   
 
“I was really impressed by the NemCV workshops and the guys are very dedicated to linking people to jobs here in Denmark”, she said. “They’ve created a CV format that is easy to review and presents the candidate in the best light possible. I have also always enjoyed helping people, be it friends or colleagues, or just people in my network, to make a professional CV that really highlights their skills and experience, so it seemed like a natural fit to get involved”. 
 
“I am excited for the opportunity to write this column and help further by providing insights and tips for new employees in Denmark. There are a lot of confusing things to learn about, for example tax cards, insurance, and how vacation time works. But even more importantly, a lot of foreigners have questions about how to get the most out of their time here in Denmark and how they can work toward developing their careers here. I hope to address some of these questions and more in this column”.
 
So, readers, what do YOU want to know about working in Denmark? Send us your questions and Nancy will provide the answers. We look forward to hearing from you! 
 
Nancy RasmussenNancy is currently employed as a Change Management Consultant, supporting IT projects. She has more than 12 years of experience within large, international companies. She writes this column in her free-time in connection with NemCV. This column is not affiliated with her current full-time employment. 

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JOB

‘We wanted to make chocolate to reflect Denmark’s seasons’

Stuart Eve moved to Denmark with his family after his wife, an archaeologist, was offered a job at Aarhus University. Nearly four years later, he is the co-founder of a fair trade chocolate business in the Scandinavian city.

'We wanted to make chocolate to reflect Denmark's seasons'
A chance meeting at their children's daycare resulted in the Ørbæk and Eve families starting their Danish business. Photo: Stuart Eve

Eve still works full time at his day job, also in archaeology. But the sweet-toothed entrepreneur told The Local that Denmark provided him with inspiration to try something out of his comfort zone – starting his own business in a foreign country.

After meeting business partner Anders Ørbæk at the daycare centre attended by their children, the two began the project, initially producing the chocolate out of their own kitchens.

“That has now moved to the renting of a professional space, so that we can scale up production and also get all the relevant food hygiene certificates and so on,” Eve said.

The archaeologist said having Danish partners had been beneficial in the course of setting up a business in the Scandinavian country, even though the process itself was straightforward.

“Actually starting the business was a matter of filling in a few forms online and showing we had 100 kroner [13 euros] in the bank. However, I think without our Danish partners, it would have been quite hard – mainly because of the technical Danish required. My Danish is pretty awful – and there are a lot of financial terms that are difficult to translate,” Eve said.

READ ALSO: Danish: Is it really so hard to learn?

“So I think for us it was essential to have Danish partners. Also, the food hygiene rules and health and safety, while similar to the UK, are quite onerous – and again very technical.

“I run my own archaeology business in the UK, so that has set me in great stead for the financial and business side,” he added.

The startup currently sources some of its supplies from Eve’s native UK – one aspect that may be complicated by Brexit, he said.

“My secret dream is that the chocolate business will enable us to beat Brexit and stay in Denmark for a lot longer — but we'll have to see how it pans out,” he said.

 

Packaged up and ready to go #somerferie #chokolade #beantobar #chocolate

A post shared by Ørbæk & Eve (@oerbaekandeve) on Jul 3, 2017 at 2:40pm PDT

It was not just the administrative side that Eve had to learn on the hoof for his Danish-based business, though – the process of producing the chocolate itself is also new.

“I was eating some Ritter Sport one evening and wondered to myself how chocolate was made, thinking it must be some incredibly complicated industrial process. So I checked out a few YouTube videos and it turns out you can make chocolate in a coffee grinder – it tastes awful because it is so crunchy, but it shows the process. From there it was a matter of buying a bigger grinder and starting to experiment. We have so much to learn still, but people seem to like what we are producing so far,” he said.

The chocolate produced by the startup – which is both fairtrade and organic – is heavily influenced by Denmark’s nature and seasonal variations, including a quarterly subscription service which can be signed up for via a crowdfunding campaign.

“We have been trying to find a way to really represent the beauty and abundance of the Danish countryside and combine it with something that Danes really love – chocolate,” he said.

“Strawberries from Samsø for summer, hazelnuts foraged from the woods for autumn, etc. Between us we have six kids so the family always come in and help during the production days,” he added.

A longer term aim is to consolidate the new company – named Ørbæk & Eve after its co-founders – as a well-known ‘bean to bar’ company in Aarhus.

“Our main reasons for doing this are two-fold. First, we eat a lot of chocolate and have become increasingly concerned by the human and environmental costs of industrialised chocolate production – there are new reports about destruction of rainforest for cocoa plantations and slave labour in West Africa, for example. In order to not be complicit with this, I wanted to figure out how it was made – and to do it myself.

“Second, we have really noticed the differences in the seasons since we moved to Denmark, so we wanted to make chocolate that reflected and celebrated the different qualities of the changing seasons,” he said.

Eve, Ørbæk and their partners are currently spending evenings and weekends on the chocolate production runs.

“As things pick up, I suspect I will move to one dedicated day a week, but we have four of us working on it, so we can usually juggle the time,” he said.

READ MORE: The Local's 'My Danish Career' series