Interview with Jason Farrell
Drink juice, smile and laugh with someone at least 5 minutes a day.
Jason Farrell is the Director at Gouverneur International – the company, which specializes in the placement of high quality Nannies, Governesses, Tutors and English Teachers to mainly high profile clientele who demand the very best levels of service. Jason had the kindness to attend an interview for My Guide Moscow.
You’ve been living in Moscow for almost 10 years, and not simply living, but doing a very successful business, communicating with Russians regularly. Do you feel yourself at home or still like in a foreign country and you want to go back to England at the next opportunity?
- No, I’m fine here, I know the city. It’s easy for me to get some place, because I know the roads quite well. I know the people, I know how it is to live in Russia, and I don’t want to leave. I’ve even got used to Russian winter.
Speaking about making career in a foreign country, usually everybody holds up the USA as a model: if you have a dream and you are hard-working, you will succeed by all means. What is the Russian winning formula?
- I think this formula works everywhere, but in Russia you should add openness, flexibility and patience. It’s not a secret many processes here are much more complicated than they should be. For example, every time a foreigner arrives in Moscow, he is given some form with a lot of points to fill in or take it to the hotel, which will fill it in. And when I ask, “What will happen if I don’t do it?”, they answer, “I don’t know… but you Must do it”.
Anyway, Moscow is a city of great opportunities with high occupational level. Sometimes this leads to certain difficulties in relations between employers and employees. I don’t understand the employees, who assume attitude “Why should I do this?” Well, because it’s your job and you are paid for this. And if you want to succeed, you should be ready to do more than you are supposed to do. For example, we often meet our clients at their place, since we understand how uncomfortable it would be for them to reach the city center, wasting their time in traffic. We try to provide a higher level of service and this I believe gives us a competitive advantage of other companies who are not willing to do this and in addition don’t have the slightest interest in service. Take the example Teremok the Pancake company ! This is a brilliant service orientated and successful business. The own is our client I am proud to say.
Here people mostly don’t care much about losing their job, because they know they will easily find another one. But there are countries, where losing job is a real tragedy. In South Africa, where I was born, the unemployment rate very high.
When you first came to Russia, you were proposed a position of teacher. How long had you been working as a teacher before you started running the company? And who does the idea of Gouverneur International establishment belong to?
- I worked as a governor in a Russian family for a year, then I returned to the UK and after a while I was offered another yearlong contract. Later I realized how many families needed a qualified English teacher for their children. And I simply couldn’t accept all job offers with Such high demand rate the decision to look for a partner and start a business was a risky but an obvious choice. We began with the idea of a consultancy which would help families to find highly skilled nannies, governors, tutors and English teachers. This is how Gouverneur International was established.
What kind of activity do you like more: teaching or managing? And don’t you miss teaching?
- I still give lessons, not many though. I like to work with children, to see how fast they achieve incredible results in English. I can’t say what I like more, all I know is that doing the same thing all the time is not for me.
What are your selection criteria for a candidate? Do all nannies and governesses come from abroad to work for certain clients? Or are there permanent residents, who are hired from time to time?
- There are two types of employees: those, who live and work in Moscow, so to say, permanent residents, who are doing a part-time work, and governesses from the UK and other countries, who are offered a long-term contracts or asked to travel with a family to another country for a couple of months, for example. As for selection criteria, of course, it’s fine when nanny or governess has a brilliant education and rich experience, but if she can’t get along with a kid, and the kid simply doesn’t like her, all these qualifications on paper don’t mean a thing. First of all, they should be open-minded, sincere and willing to teach children.
One of the most important questions I would like to ask you, as an expert in education for children, is if the children of the 21st century are really interested in education. Nowadays people never stop complaining that children don’t need anything except computer games and social networks. All of us agree that children are our future. So, what future does Russia have?
- In fact, children are very open. They absorb and accept everything you say. And it’s definitely our responsibility how to arouse children’s interest in education. I think the education system in Russia should be updated. First of all, education should help people to get a job in future, to prepare for interviews, to make up resumes, etc. I also believe people should understand more of what it means to be a human being and how we should treat each other and ourselves.
And, of course, the form of education is very important. Traditions and discipline are good, but a modern approach is necessary. Imagine a 45-years-old Soviet grandma telling you that you must enjoy her lesson… By the way, I’m against home education in the sense of only home school because kids should socialize, they should be prepared for future life, which will not go on within four walls.
I know you’re fond of Yoga. Is it a hobby or lifestyle? And how does it influence on your everyday life?
- It’s not a lifestyle, I can say I’m a newcomer to Yoga, but it has already changed a lot in me, as a person, in my philosophy. Yoga gives you opportunity to look at yourself from the outside, to understand your thoughts and control your emotions. It makes you reflect on what is really good or bad. In our childhood we are taught many things, which we rarely put in doubt. After all, who decides this or that to be good or bad? We listen to what others say too much. Very often we don’t even try to do something, because we were told by someone it wasn’t interesting. But, in fact, what isn’t interesting for one, can become a passion for another.
Yoga has a great influence on my life. Earlier I wouldn’t think I would become a vegetarian, because in South Africa people are used to eat a lot of meat, or when I smoked, I thought it relieved stress, as all smokers think. But how can it relieve stress, when it actually causes it?
Can you name a cult figure or a person, who influenced you very much? And, maybe, you have some favorite quotes?
- First of all, my mother. She always told me “Do what you love and money will come.” And I like the quote by Henry Ford “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you’re right.” You know, when I was a kid, I dreamed to become a famous actor or a sportsman, but now I understand that I’m going my own way and all I’ve been through are parts of me. I am as I am.
What is Jason Farrell’s key to healthy and happy life?
- Drink juice, smile and laugh with someone at least 5 minutes a day.