Beating Adversity in the Workplace

Another Week Finished!

As I wrap up my third week here, and my second week working at Læmon, I have truly gotten into a rhythm here in Berlin. I have found go-to food and social spots, I have gotten a decent grasp of public transportation, I have come to terms with the ridiculous price of laundry, and I have gotten to know my co-workers. This week in work was quite boring, as we were given quite a long and simple assignment. We were assigned to research different venture capital firms around the world that would be a good fit with our company to give us seed funding. This means that Cate and I both had to research the same few facts for probably over 1000 companies and list the good fits on a document. It was quite repetitive and not my style of work, but I was able to get through it to this point and with good effort. Outside of the workplace, I did some fun social things this week. During the week I was able to visit a rooftop biergarten called Klunkerkranich and get to see a pretty incredible sunset, as well as going to the Thursday Street Food market for the second week running to try some new food. We had another holiday this Monday, so my friend Nick and I planned a trip to Dresden for the weekend. We were able to find an AirBnB which was simply a bedroom in a suburban house outside of Dresden, and we spent the weekend checking out the palaces in the town, eating at some good restaurants, and going to a park to swim. It was a great break from the high speed of Berlin, and just from thinking about work. I am now back in Berlin quite sunburnt but feeling relaxed. I am now planning a larger scale trip in the near future to either go to Budapest or Prague, as I don’t think those will be parts of Europe I will ever get to see outside of this opportunity. Trips like these are not cheap, but I feel like these experiences will be something I am grateful for in the long-run, and will be worth it to me.

So far, I have experienced a decent amount of unclear instruction and confusion within my job, mainly due to the language barrier. Sometimes Vanessa’s explanations will not be exactly what she means, and it has left me slightly confused a couple times. The easiest solution to this is to just ask more questions and clarify and I have had no problems speaking up and doing that. The biggest problem is just how busy Vanessa is. She has mainly been the only one of the founders in the office since we have gotten here, and she is constantly doing different tasks and having different meetings. There are times where she is gone for hours of the day. I have now experienced the same problem twice where she will give me a somewhat vague assignment then run out of the office for the rest of the day and a good amount of my effort is put into just figuring out what she wants from me, and there is a pretty good chance that I might not get the assignment done correctly. The way I have combatted having these problems is just making sure that I am completely clear with the assignments I am given by asking as many questions as possible. I will either text Vanessa, get her attention when she is not in meetings, or just ask questions until I know exactly what I am doing right when she assigns me the task. All throughout different aspects of the workplace, not just what I have talked about in this blog, there is a lot of ambiguity. Most of that is due to me joining a German business as one of the first two English first language speakers. All files and messages in our Teams page are in German, and all conversations not with me and Cate are in German or Russian. We both have to somewhat go out of our way to make sure we are on board with everything. This certainly makes me wish I knew some German, it would make this job a lot easier. That being said, I am pushing through this adversity well, and I feel as if I have been doing some great through work throughout my first two weeks, and hopefully I will continue to push through this ambiguity!