15 things to know before you start working in Germany
With more opportunities opening up for job seekers to work in Germany, it becomes all the more important to understand the German work culture. From what I have experienced working for over three years now, here is a list of things that one must know before you start working in Germany:
A considerable aspect of your salary will go towards taxes and mandatory insurances (but it pays back in the long run). Also, salary levels are lower in Germany than in some other countries for similar job profiles (but the cost of living is also lower than many of those countries).
You cannot take the smallest thing for granted. You will need always need to be detail oriented. All your work including projects, proposals, etc. must be compartmentalized and completed with perfection. Every point will be examined in great detail.
No shortcuts or gut feelings. You will always need to be prepared to back each idea up with logical and convincing information. Simply put, you will always have to be present-minded and do the work required.
Rules and Regulations
Germany believes in strictly following rules, regulations, and laws. one needs to learn the expectations and then abide by them for all work and life aspects in Germany.
Titles and certification are taken seriously in Germany. One should always address their superiors with formal pronouns and titles unless directed otherwise.
The focus is on always remaining professional and respectful and no beating around the bush!
If you are most motivated by compliments for a job well done and can’t handle honest criticism and bluntness, working in Germany may not be for you (That doesn’t mean people will be making rude comments rather there will be straightforward communication without euphemism).
Some other thing,
- Gifts, attempting to smooth-talk, or partaking will backfire pretty quickly.
- It’s common and natural for workers in other countries to ease into a business meeting with a bit of small talk, this couldn’t be farther from the case in many German offices. Small talk is not very satisfying and perceived as something that’s superficial. Also, one is expected to keep personal and private life separate.
- You will need to stick to a strict schedule. German punctuality is often depicted as a silly stereotype, but German efficiency is no joke. Being even a couple of minutes late to a meeting can be considered very offensive.
- Germans start work really early. A lot of Germans will already be in the office by 7:30.
- Germans like their privacy and one of the ways this is exemplified in the German work culture is that you don’t come across as many open plan/cubicle type office spaces. This is convenient for working productively but on the downside, the workplace feels much less sociable.SEE ALSO: 7 Tips to integrate into German culture – A beginners guide
- There is a very strict distinction between professional and social life in Germany. Socializing with colleagues outside of work is the exception rather than the norm. Don’t expect an invitation for a beer after work.SEE ALSO: 11 Things that happened to you after living in Germany
- Also, life will be hard if you don’t speak German. The language barrier makes it difficult to interact with and get help from non-English speaking colleagues. If everyone at your job interacts in German, you will need to master German to work efficiently. Many Germans can speak at least some English; but, good luck having them continue speaking in English esp. when you are in a group with a German majority.
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