One Week Left!

Second to last week done in Berlin! I cannot believe we only have one more. This week I did not travel anywhere and decided to enjoy more of Berlin. Me and a couple friends made our way to the DDR Museum which is essentially an exhibition that depicts life of former East Berlin under the Deutsche Demokraticshe Republik. The museum is very interactive and gives the audience a very clear understanding of how the lifestyle at the time reflected the ideology of East Berlin. I think so far this has been my favorite museum because of how interactive and creative it was. It is also really crazy to believe how recent this era occurred in history. That is what still fascinates me a lot.
This weekend we made our way over to Mauerpark which had very large flea market we were able to explore. The market had shops with art, jewelry, vintage clothing, and lots of different types of food. There were also different musicians playing throughout the park which was fun to watch as well. This place is really family friendly place as well which made it a nice environment to be in this Sunday. This weekend we also made our way back to the small city of Potsdam which we had visited earlier in the program. We were able to explore more of the streets and restaurants in the town. We also visited the Brandenburg gate in Potsdam which was cool but definitely not as eye-catching as the one located in Berlin.
With the program soon coming to a close and my internship winding down, I have definitely had time to reflect what exactly defines “success” in a professional setting. I think that success within the setting I have worked in is really defined through giving your work your best effort and focus. The German culture, specifically in the work environment, seems to be much more aimed at helping the collective as opposed to moving yourself forward individually. The real estate industry, based off of my own experience at my company, requires employees to have a lot of attention to detail and careful focus when it comes to completing tasks and projects. So I would say that the company I work very much values an employee’s honest effort in making sure the details are correct and being very engaged in their tasks. Rather than being focused on just having the task done, they value employees who are proactive in checking for possible mistakes, evaluating their work with a critical eye, and always asking questions that will help them improve. My boss says the common phrase that “there are no dumb questions” in the sense that he would much rather me ask questions to get things correct than appear as if I know what I’m doing when I actually don’t. Essentially, he focuses on how being honest in your effort is what is most important. There have been multiple times where I have made mistakes and my boss always uses those moments as opportunities to teach me and help me further understand. He has even said that he is far more focused on me learning from this internship rather than me getting everything completely correct. That is exactly why I have enjoyed this experience so much.
Overall, I would say that this idea of “success” is ultimately very similar to that of the US. However, I think that back in the states there is a slight tendency to put more pressure on getting everything entirely correct rather than actually understanding the work that is being done. This may also simply be my experience in the past that has led me to this idea, but I think it would be a completely fair claim. In all I think that my experience has led me to believe that the German culture is more focused on the willingness of the employee to work hard and show that they are about the work they are doing. I am certain that this exists in the US, I’m not suggesting it doesn’t, but in my past work experiences it was not as prevalent. Another aspect of the German work culture that is very different is the loose work hours. In my company the rule is you must complete a 40-hour week. The number of hours you work each day does not matter as long as your hours add up to 40 by the end of the week. Essentially the rule emphasizes that people should not be forced into a strict 9:00 to 5:00 schedule and should have the ability to work during the times that they find they will work most productively. The culture is more focused on making rules that will increase the quality of the work rather than simply meeting set time requirement each day.