For my blog this week I wanted to give some insight and my wife and I experiences during our time in Germany. I was stationed in Germany from 2003 to 2006. In that time I was working at the North Atlantic Treat Organization Headquarters and my wife worked for a german owned bank. We both had a great experience to be able to work not only with germans, but many nationalities. For me, it was due to NATO and the 26 countries that belong to it and her, because the culturally rounded community near the base.
I will start first with myself and how I enjoyed the time in NATO. One of the things that I was most worried about was having leadership from another country and the possibility that culturally they may be completely different. What I came to understand is that there are many differences in culture and daily life but work seemed to be very similar (My experience). I had a few great managers that had leadership skills and ideas that reminded me of many of my prior bosses, one of which was from northern Ireland. He was a “lead by example” kind of guy, which was what I was use to. There were some differences in the military mentality for a few people that I worked with. Things like, uniform and person hygiene (hair length and shaving for the most part) were not taken as serious as the americans.
My wife had some different experiences and thoughts on her time at the bank. While talking about it this evening, she stated that she had never had as much training for any position as the one at the bank. They sent her on a week long training retreat when she was originally hired for the basics of banking. Then, each different position that she moved into, the company would send her on a couple day retreat for those specific job skills. She had never and has never experienced such detailed and training driven company. The only problem that she frequently came across was the directness of the Area Manager (German national). She was not a passive aggressive leader, she was a direct and to the point type of leader. This was something that could be a culturally normal way of leading or it might just have been her personality.
So, all in all, the time in Europe and Germany specifically was a great experience at our places of work. I can say that culture had very little boundaries in our situations and work environments.