I am a Project Manager for an advertising agency in NY that has several offices in Europe. Yesterday my boss told me that the Milan office might be winning business from a company that is in the particular industry our office services. They would need a PM who has experience in the industry / managing digital marketing tactics, and have English/Italian skills. I have always been vocal about my desire to live in Italy (waiting for my dual citizenship application to process) so he asked me to update my resume to share with the Milan office!
One caveat is that this is advertising, so there's still a chance we won't win the business. More importantly, I am quite nervous about my rusty Italian skills. I'd be communicating with a web development team based in Sardinia, so I don't know if they'd give me the job without being 100% fluent. And not only fluent, but be able to discuss web development projects in Italian.
Just to give you all some context - I studied Italian in college, did a semester in Rome, am an Italian film nut, and try to read/speak Italian as often as possible. BUT - I'm not speaking it everyday, so it'll take me a month or two to get comfortable. I'm considering taking some advanced night courses so I can be prepared if I do somehow get this position.
Any expats out there work for Italian ad agencies? Am I being unrealistic thinking I could get this job? Any opinions/suggestions are much appreciated!
I can tell you that they are speaking quite a bit of English in Sardinia. I'm a SKY Satellite subscriber and whenever I call SKY with a technical problem, I am connected to someone in Sardinia who speaks English.
Ok that's comforting, thanks! My hope is that the Italian language requirement isn't as strict given most global tech resources do speak English. But I do plan on achieving fluency once I'm there, definitely a big goal of mine. It'll just be a while before that happens.
My sense it that it is all up to the employer. I applied for a publishing job that said "excellent English skills", but discovered that they assumed that my Italian was fluent.
Again, it's a matter of the specific requirements for the job. Keep in mind that as a project manager you will be encountering people throughout the project process; you will probably be in meetings where subtle shades of language and vernacular are used. Don't let that stop you, but be aware.
There are some good online sites, like Cafe Mocha, that teach language skills.
Bottom line: if you're motivated, you will eventually make this happen.
One more thing: you might also consider trying to land something in the UK, or in the Netherlands, or any other place where English is more readily spoken. You could use that experience as a launch pad to Italy - as well as being very close to Italy for more frequent visits, vacations, etc. You could also be brushing up on your Italian skills.
Once you have your Italian citizenship, you are able to work in any EU nation; you don't need any special permits (you are a Citizen" of the EU). In fact, you could literally accept a position, and be on a plane the next day, headed for your job. Keep your eye in the prize, and good luck!
Thanks for the encouragement and all the info, much appreciated!
I didn't get too much detail about the position since it's still a maybe right now, but I told my boss I'll do everything in my power to get my language skills back up if they give me the opportunity. Whether that's private lessons leading up to my departure or setting up Skype calls with my Italian friends a few times a week, I'll do what it takes. I want to live and work in Italy, and it will happen. Maybe not with this position, but I'll make it work eventually.