People @ Personio – Dan Touchette’s relocation story

Our teams in Germany, Spain, the UK, and Ireland are working hard towards fulfilling our main purpose, Enabling Better Organizations, and we are constantly looking for new talents from different corners of the world to join us.

We already count more than 525 employees representing more than 56 different nationalities and cultures under our Personio roof! 🤩 And, after successfully relocating 22 people in 2020, we wanted to share some insights from the perspective of one of our teammates.

Daniel Touchette (or better known as Dan) is one of our Group Product Managers who joined the Munich team this year, and he shared his experience relocating from the United States to Germany with us.

“My wife and I were looking to move to Europe since traveling is really important to us. We found that Munich is a great home base to travel from,…

…as it’s central within Europe and has great transportation options. If travel motivates you, too, know that Munich allows for short drives or trains to a half dozen countries and short flights to almost all of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Even with Covid-19 travel restrictions, there is plenty to see in beautiful Germany, when appropriate.

About my journey to Munich

I grew up in New Hampshire which is about halfway between Boston and Montreal
and has a similar climate to Bavaria with lots of mountains, forests, and lakes.
From there, I went to school in Baltimore to study mechanical engineering and business at Johns Hopkins University. After university, I moved to D.C. where I joined my first tech start-up.

Then I moved to L.A. for my first product role at Buzz Media (now Spin Media), a publisher that aggregated content from music and pop culture. Buzz Media taught me the importance of working with
colleagues who are dedicated and driven, but know how to have fun. Here’s a picture from a team event at the beach.

At the time, I was in a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend (now wife) who was still in D.C. After a year of flying back and forth across the country for long weekends, we decided we were ready for an adventure and moved to Seoul, South Korea, to travel and teach English to kindergartners. The job gave us the opportunity to visit more than 15 countries across Asia and cemented our love of learning about other cultures through travel. But, after a two-year break from our professional lives, we were ready to get back to the U.S. and I was excited to re-enter the tech space.

About a year ago, my wife and I decided we were ready for a change and got serious about making our shared dream of living in Europe a reality. We looked at a number of different cities and opportunities across Europe. The more I learned about Personio, and we learned about Munich, we realized it was the perfect place, providing the professional opportunities to continue to grow our careers and enable us to live the lifestyle we wanted.

After almost a year in Munich, I know that this was the right decision. Personio is a company of interesting and talented people from all over the work, all trying to make a difference by helping other companies be better. And in our personal lives, we’ve made incredible friends, traveled throughout Germany and southern Europe, and have loved having easier access to nature through Munich’s parks and the Bavarian Alps. Here’s a photo taken this fall at a hike near the Neuschwanstein Castle, which Walt Disney used as the basis for the Sleeping Beauty castle (see above).

So what did my recruiting and relocation experience look like overall?

Last August (2019), we decided it was time to pack up out of New York and move to Europe! So, I began to search for jobs, applied to Personio in September, and by October signed my contract! 🥳

After that point, it really came down to the visa process. In New York, especially, there was a long wait to get an appointment at the German embassy, and so it took a little bit of time, but overall, not too bad.

It was about two months total to start the visa application process, submit all the paperwork and have it ready to pick-up.

And then I start to work at the beginning of December. And so for me, it was pretty fast! I know Covid-19 has changed things a little bit (or a lot), but I think it really depends on the countries specifically on how that timeline can look in the end.

The really cool thing that Personio is currently doing is enabling people to start working from their current locations, we actually even have some folks as far away as Colombia right now working and they’re integrated into the teams as the visa and relocation process gets wrapped up.

I also worked with Palladium, a relocation agency provided by Personio, to make this a lot easier, and they’re very much an instrumental tool, especially when making sure all the documentation is correct so the visa process goes as smoothly as possible.

As I mentioned above, I started working in December, and my wife Katie and I moved to Munich officially in January right after the holidays 🤶🏻🎅🏼 I completed my probation period in June, which is really a great milestone, and received my long-term visa in August. This one took a little bit longer because of Covid-19, but I was actually really surprised about how the German government has adapted to a more online strategy to carry on the paperwork under our current circumstances. A lot of the documents were all submitted through email, which was really nice. And when things got started again in Germany, the process went pretty quick. And now today, here I am sharing my experiences with you all.

Few learnings from moving from New York City to Munich

Of course, moving abroad is a big change in life, passing from one kind of environment to another, however, I really appreciate it here there are a lot of people and a ton of culture, especially from a food perspective 🙌🏻, which is something that we also enjoyed in New York.Some of the biggest learnings we’ve had along the way:

Be Flexible 🤸

-There is no right way to move.
-Understand what is important to you and prioritize.

Patience is key 🧘🏼‍

-Moving takes time and involves many steps.
-The German government can be a bit slow, especially now, but they won’t forget about you.

There was never a point where we needed to remind them when we’re ready for the next step. They were proactively especially after COVID so it gave us a lot of comfort in their process.

You’re not alone 🤝

-80% of Product & Engineering at Personio is non-German, so there are lots of people here willing to help you.

Personio is here to help 🦮

-Our People team has helped many teammates move and knows all the best practices.

Dan & Adriana (Junior People Manager) at the Munich office

If starting a new chapter in your professional and personal life is something you want to embrace, then what are you waiting to apply and #StartUpYourWay with us?

Check out or open positions, you may be the next one to tell your relocation story.