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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Living on the Edge

The NASDAQ Q's turned out to be a lame trade. The markets did turn up the next day, but the NASDAQ remained fairly flat. It seems people really are re-assessing their appetite for risk.

As for me, I still seem to have my taste for risk, so when the Russian called me for dinner, I thought "What the heck." Actually it was pretty tame. She told me about her new job and her old and now new boyfriend and how she was getting along in Germany. She reminded me that I promised to take salsa lessons with her, and I reminded her that she also wanted to go skydiving. If we're going to live dangerously, we may as well do it right.

Unlike me, she really is dependent on the one and only job she has. Lose this and there is nothing else in sight, so she toils away pretty long hours doing pretty menial stuff for a pretty demanding and dubious character. Believe what you will from my previous posts about the Russian, but she really is a good kid with decent character.

I admire that, especially when I think about going to my job with a take it or leave it attitude. I'm good at what I do, which is why I get away with walking out the door three days out of five at five o'clock while my colleagues toil away until 8 or 9 o'clock. They (all Germans) live in a constant state of crisis ... almost fear. I'm still trying to figure out why, since my corner of the action seems to only require a good 8 to 9 hours a day at the most.

But I realize that walking out the door early really makes me stand out, and Germans hate that. It does not make it any better that I'm the Auslander ... they must think I take it for granted that I will keep my job as the token foreigner. The ugly secret is that I don't take it for granted ... but I also don't fear for my livelihood. It's just a job, it's not my life. And so I go home with daylight to spare.

But I have convinced at least two colleagues to venture out to lunch for ... gasp! ... a whole lunch hour at an Asia buffet and not just at the cantine. Who knows, I may have started the revolution!

As far as German employers are concerned, I am the mentor from hell.


Anonymous Maribeth said...

I was sort of surprised and amazed to see how many people I know in Germany really "worry" about their positions. In the states I always get the feeling that if something happens to this job, oh well, something else will come along.
Heck there is always Wal-Mart now that they offer their employees medical insurance for a dollar a day. LOL

8:23 PM, March 02, 2007  
Anonymous Hamish said...

I wonder if they'd like it more if you hum the star spangled banner next time you leave at 5?

8:27 PM, March 04, 2007  

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