Link to Profile Semperoper, Dresden Sieg (auf dem Siegesäule), Berlin Brandenburg Tor, Berlin Skyline, Frankfurt am Main

Friday, March 17, 2006

How I Spent my Winter Vacation ...
(ala Cheech & Chong)

On the first day of my winter vacation, I woke up. I went downtown to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drug store.

On the second day of my winter vacation, I woke up. I went downtown to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drug store.

On the third day of my winter vacation ....

Six months ago, I took a deal. They gave me cash, and I went away. German companies have discovered downsizing with a vengeance, but they haven't quite figured out how to actually accomplish it since very few german employees are willing to actually walk away from a job, regardless of how much cash is on the table.

In my old company, they planned to lose at least 200 people in the general area in which I was working. I believe they actually succeeded in getting 85 to take a deal. When I said yes, the HR person on the other side of the table said, "You Ami's seem to be a lot more comfortable with leaving your job. I admire you for that."

Well, the deal was pretty good, far better than it would have been if I had repatriated to the US and then taken a deal. Probably because they assumed that it would be a long time before I worked again. I suspect, in fact, that they figured I would never work in Germany again.

I figured I would. In fact, my Partnerin repeatedly told me (and she still does) that German companies love Americans with my abilities and experiences. Of course, I have been the one slogging in the streets for the past six months, and I am not quite picking up this sentiment. In fact, in discussing this with a few other Ami expats who have been here since the early 1990's, they suggest that way back then German companies did love Americans, but that is no longer the case.

It has been an amusing trek through the winter, and I am still working on finding a new job here in Germany (aside from pushing a broom around, which is what any skilled foreigner can expect if his or her documentation is not up to German standards ... more on that some other time). In the meantime,

On the fourth day of my winter vacation, I woke up. I went downtown to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the imbiss and had a bratwurst.

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