Defining Success in Berlin


This was my last full week in Berlin so I did my best to make the most of it. On Monday after work, I went over to Warschauer Straße where the fan shop for the Eisbären Berlin is. They are the major hockey team here in Berlin. This past Saturday, they released their new jersey for the upcoming season along with celebrating the opening of their new fan shop. I was not there for the newly released jersey, but the jerseys from last year, which I picked two up, the away and the third jersey. I also took some time to walk along the East Side Gallery and look more at the art on the Berlin Wall. The first time I went, I quickly walked through and did not get the chance to really look at it. On Wednesday, our group got back together and met with Britta and Sara for dinner at Südblock. It was nice to see everyone again and catch up on how their internships are going, say bye to the FU students as they were leaving, and I also got some recommendations of things to do during my last week here. I was recommended a restaurant that I plan on checking out later this week. I made my way over to Checkpoint Charlie on Saturday to grab some souvenirs for my family back home. It was quite hot this past Saturday so I tried to make the trip as quick as I could. The following day, I made one final trip to the RAW flea market to see if there were any more items I wanted to pick up and took a brief walk in the surrounding neighborhood. I then tried to plan what things I wanted to do during my final week here. There are a few places I want to revisit and some new places as well.

When it comes to defining “success” in a professional sense here in Berlin, I think success is looked at in a much bigger picture. The little victories are celebrated less and projects are not named a success until everything is complete. For example, at my internship, they are working on signing new contracts. Even though they are progressing through meetings and phone calls, there has not been much celebration and they are waiting until everything is official on paper to celebrate the success. This is different compared to the USA when I feel as if every little win is celebrated. I do see the pros and cons of each approach. I think only celebrating the “bigger picture” can lead people to be more effective and more passionate about their work as once it is all completed, they can celebrate their success. But I could see where the issues might be. People might be working on tasks that contribute to the bigger picture but they might not exactly see how it fits into that picture and that could cause people to lose hope or be less determined to work. When it comes to celebrating the little things, such as the building blocks to the bigger picture, I think it helps make people feel more connected as they can then see how what they did was important and contributes to the final project. But when you celebrate every little win, people may focus too much on the little things and lose sight of the bigger picture. 

As for being a successful or effective employee at my internship, it looks different. An effective employee is someone who can market my host company’s product to other companies, someone who is willing to make the calls to get new clients and sit in meetings to discuss and get the contracts signed. It is someone who can sit through the slower times when the contract talks are happening or the trailer is in use. It is also someone who can work across multiple industries as the CEOs of my host company are also the CEOs of another company that works with cows. Being able to do work in the healthcare field and then switch over to cows/farming is important and can make you valuable. When I compare this back to the USA, I think we have the mindset that to be “successful” you always have to be doing something. That if you have downtime, there is something else you could be doing yet there are times when you may have time to just relax and let things work their course. 

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