Thursday, December 4, 2008

A New Twist to Our Adventure

Well, after three weeks of misery, my boss and I have come to the conclusion that this was not what either of us expected it to be. Perhaps this was no surprise. A new school, a new position, and language and cultural barriers have caused great frustration on both sides that proved to be insurmountable.

My expectations were that this would be a dream job, that I would have free reign and independence to help the school become established in English while being surrounded by German culture. The reality was that I spent most of my time running small errands and trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing without getting yelled at. I learned a couple days into the job that every email I sent, every project I worked on, had to be approved and then viewed by Frau Mock at every stage of the work. This meant that nothing I did could really be finished for days at a time, even a simple 4 line email. The Germans are so thorough, persistent, and cautious that I realized why it took so long to hear back from them about getting the job--every email that was sent to me was probably weighed, discussed, saved, and signed for before being sent to me. I felt like my creativity and independence were severely stunted in this process.

So then every day when I got home, after spending nearly 10 hours a day at the school, I was too tired and emotionally drained to do anything but want to sleep. This stress of no system yet high expectations is experienced by all of the teachers and the school is a revolving door of employees. I witnessed one lady quit after working only 4 hours as a new secretary, citing that it was too chaotic for her taste. Another lady quit on her second day after Frau Mock told her that she should stop speaking like a farmer since this is a private school. Apparently Germans value frankness over tact... Anyway, that's the unfortunate news.

The good news is, Jacob and I plan to continue to stay in Europe and travel at our leisure, which was not possible with this job (I found out when I arrived that no days off could be taken for the first six months). We are blessed that our mobility and our financial stability with his online businesses makes this possible. Meanwhile, I will decide if I want to teach English and get accredited to do so, or perhaps find another job... this is still up in the air. We still want to become fluent in German, so for probably the next 6 months we will stay, with talk of maybe living in Vienna again... :) That would be fun. Then Asia, New Caledonia, and Buenos Aires are still on the horizon...

1 comment:

wood0306 said...

WOW.... Amazing Kalli. What a experience. You are so fortunate to be able to take advantage of what you want. Enjoy your time there to the fullest!

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