Five Days In A German Office

I started my new job last Monday and was thrown into what life is like working in a German office. Like all new jobs, there was thousands of things I had to learn on day one like where the bathroom was, where they are hiding the printer (in an unmarked room, it turns out) and a new one for me – how to clock in and out. My new company has a system very similar to the old clock cards, except with a card embedded with an RFID  chip.  Every morning I need to go up to the mail room on the 13th floor and swipe my card over the reader located at the mail room reception desk before making my way down to the 12th floor to start my day. At the end of the day, I head back up to the 13th floor, swipe out and then head on home. Thus how many hours I work per day are duly noted. I’m dreading the day I forget to clock in or out as then I have to write emails informing certain people to change the log.

It’s like a modern version of this.

Then on top of all the new stuff one needs to learn at a new job comes the fun of doing it all in German. It is not as bad as I feared it was going to be, but it is not easy either.  I’m thanking my lucky stars that the main program I need to use every day is entirely in English, including all user manuals, as there is no way I could learn all the things I need to learn in order to do my job in German. It is amazingly complicated even in English. My team mates have been incredibly welcoming and friendly and very accepting of my unique use of German grammar. They all speak/understand English to varying degrees but no one speaks English to me. It is 100% German, 100% of the time. It is what my German needs if I ever want to reach fluency, so I’m trying to view it as a good thing, even when I find it frustrating, due to my failing in the language.

I’m also loving working at a large media agency instead of a failing technology provider. The perks are quite incredible but then so are the number of meetings I have attended in just 5 days, so it all levels out I guess. We have a fully equipped kitchen with a water dispenser where you can choose still, lightly carbonated or really carbonated water at just a touch of a button. Therefore I invested in a flavour-infused water bottle that I can fill up with fruits like lemons and lime and have amazingly flavoured chilled water just sitting on my desk.

My lemon-lime water bottle

I’ve also discovered that this place loves feeding you, like a lot. Our team assistant is always bringing in pastries, muffins and raisin breadrolls and a 30 min morning meeting is an excuse to bring out all the food. I’m going to have to really refrain from indulging on a daily basis.

I also love working in a geeky office, although I’m really uncertain about this guy who sits right behind me.

I still haven’t worked out what the deal is with the cow.

But the fact our office has a large painting of Spock on the wall makes me feel like I’m in the right place. I now have plans to create my own geek-o-sphere on my desk. Did I mention that I can raise or lower my desk height automatically, so I can switch between working sitting down or standing up whenever I feel like it??  Honestly, I feel like I’ve entered the office version of a candy store.

So, my first week was really good, but ridiculously exhausting. I spent yesterday almost comatosed on the couch trying to recover. It will get easier as my brain gets used to speaking German every day and as I learn all the ins-and-outs of my new job. However, I feel I definitely made the right decision quitting my old job and starting this one despite the fact that a tumblr called What Happens In AdOps exists. Yikes!

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8 thoughts on “Five Days In A German Office

  1. Wow, it sounds great! Speaking German all the time is definitely tiring at first, but it will eventually become second nature. It’s great that your colleagues are so supportive too — that’s definitely not to be taken for granted! Hope the rest of your transition goes well — I think I would definitely put on a few pounds if everyone were bringing in treats to our office too. It’s bad enough that I’ve discovered delicious glazed doughnuts in the Hauptbahnhof that tempt me both on my way to work AND on the way home. Mmm, doughnuts…

  2. Congratulations on a successful first week! Your German will be awesome in no time when you have to speak it every day. You’re so lucky! I’m looking for a new job at the moment too – if I have to say “Hi, my name is Linda and I’m calling from…” one more time, I’m going to poke my own eyes out with my headset ;)

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