Guten Tag, Morgen or Abend depending on when you are reading this.
I will briefly acknowledge I have failed miserably at my goal of posting more regularly and of getting my “step by step” guide to moving to Germany written.
I have no valid excuse to offer other than to be open and honest and say this website is like a garage project for me. I tinker with it for a bit, get bored, and go tinker with other things. Eventually I see it in the corner covered with cobwebs and come back to show it some love. So no grand promises on how often things will be updated for now. Especially given that I now have a valid excuse as per the title of this post.
The original plan for me was to first concentrate on learning German while working with the in-laws in their holiday accommodation business. Work was going well and there was plenty to learn and do early on. However, things are very slow in winter. There is just not much for me to do and while I could fill my days with leisure activities, I was not feeling particularly useful.
One obvious solution to this is to find another job. Whilst I am in a different place from when we last tried to live in Germany, the struggles and rejection from trying to find employment then still effect me to this day. The main way it effects me is my confidence and motivation. I struggle to get started looking for suitable roles and if I get this far and actually find something suitable, an inner voice inside me tells me I would never get the job much less even a reply to my inquiry.
Not exactly a recipe for success…
How I found my new job, or how it found me
The pessimist inside of me would say it was luck. The pessimist is strong in me. But when I sit back and reflect on what happened, there are certain things that had to happen for this “luck” to eventuate meaning it was not luck at all. You have to put yourself in a position to be “lucky”.
As I mentioned Eva does triathlons and I have started training for my first one which will be sometime this year. She has joined the local triathlon club and they catch up monthly at local restaurants. Eva asked if I wanted to come and I normally say no to these things.
I normally have fun meeting new people and enjoy myself once I settle in. But the idea of doing it before hand makes me nervous and anxious. Add speaking German into the mix and this elevates these feelings further. Therefore quite often I would rather stay home and let Eva be the social butterfly.
On this occasion I had said yes early in the day. Changed my mind to a no and then last minute back to a yes. The yes probably had more to do with the restaurant having some very special pepper chicken called Pfefferhähnchen. This post is not about chicken but it was honestly the best chicken I have ever eaten. I would come to any social gathering if this is on the menu.
Before the chicken came and stole my focus, we started talking to a friendly guy called Benno. We had the usual conversation of why are you here and what are you doing here. Benno then let us know he owns a “bike shop” and that he would like to help. If I wanted to, he could offer the possibility to work for him as a way of improving my German, having fun and getting to know new people.
At this time, I did not give much thought to the offer. I had had people say similar things or ask for my CV because they know someone and it had never really led anywhere. So with this offer, I took it with a grain of salt as being along the same lines.
The first thing I did when I got home was google the “bike shop”. I use inverted commas because bike shop is not what I would call it even though there is a bike shop on site. It is a company with over 130 employees that import bikes and bike parts for sale domestically and internationally. Benno happens to be the CEO. It is not just us kiwis who can play the modesty card.
Knowing the CEO helps get things moving. I forwarded my CV and four days later an interview was set up with Benno and his second in command. Naturally I was pretty nervous. Interviews are difficult at the best of times but in another language it is the worst of times.
I had nothing to worry about though. Benno of course was very kind and patient as was the other interviewer. It was more of a friendly chat and getting to each other rather than the normal grilling one might get in order to prove themselves worthy of a job. I think I had the job before the interview but it was good practice none the less.
The role they were offering to start with is to work in the bike store full time as a seller or Verkaufer. I am not sure if Benno thought I knew a lot about bikes beforehand, but I was upfront in that my bike knowledge is still in it’s infancy. A diplomatic way of saying I know nothing *think Sgt Schultz. This did not seem to be a problem and would be something I can learn on the job. Likewise with improving my German.
I left the interview with a bit of homework. They wanted me to check with Eva if it is ok to work on Saturdays. What wife is going to say no to having their husband out of the house and a day to themselves? I asked her anyway and she did her best to make it at least look like it was a difficult decision.
The other homework was to do with my salary. I was given a range for the position and asked to suggest where I fit. If anything, I can be too honest at times. Because I had no experience, I could think of no reasonable reason why I should be anywhere above the starting salary and told them this. I did add the proviso though that should things go well after three months, I would like my salary reviewed.
I am not sure if I was the only one thinking this, but I am about to start a job selling things I have no knowledge about, in a language I am at best, at the level of a 7 year old. While I feel rightfully nervous about the situation everyone else says I will be fine. The typical kind of response when a situation is really bad and you want to say something reassuring, and all you can come up with is “I am sure it will be fine…”
Normally these things play on my mind and build up. Especially if I have a long countdown to when the event I am nervous about will happen. Luckily or unluckily I had no time at all to dwell on it. A couple of days later I was phoned and asked to start the next day. No time at all for anything to build up.
Wish me luck for my first day!