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Understanding work culture

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Posted

Hi,

I was almost sacked from my current (and first) job here for "not asking my boss for tasks"?

??????

In the States, your boss gives you tasks, and LOTS of them, and he really makes sure you get them done!

Is it common here? I was instructed to "regularly ask my boss for tasks".

I started doing that and everything seems to be fine - except one little detail - I am quite senior in my position, and he only gives me the equivalent of "getting out the garbage", he makes really sure I am not involved in anything far-reaching or important.

I do know he thinks I am competent, and he is always nice with me.

What's really going on?

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Posted

Not sure what's really going on, but I could imagine that if he does not give you enough tasks to fill your working week, that constitutes a breach of contract and could cost dearly. Yes, I know, surprising that "having too little to do" is a breach of contract, but it is in the UK (even though few cases ever go to court) :)

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Posted

Yes, that also happens - either gives me things to do that will last 30 minutes, or things so simple that they are borderline offensive.

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Posted

Just a couple of weeks ago, you were posting that you were dumping the job and were worried about getting a Sperrfrist. If that's the case, let them fire you = no Sperrfrist. Simple.

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Posted

Keydeck: many thanks for the advice.

I have, and they squashed me - they started putting fences around me so I would go back to taking out the garbage.

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Posted

ruapehu: I thought of that.

But, could getting fired for fault mean more than a regular 3 month Sperrfrist?

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Posted

No, getting fired would mean you would have no Sperrfrist.

However, you'd need to feel ok with somehow getting around the fact on your CV (not actually that hard to do; a lot of companies who fire you will still agree to write something else in your reference) - but if it is obvious to potential future employers of course it doesn't look good to have been fired. Inb your case, since you wanted to take some time off and do further training, I should think you'd be able to "polish it up" on your CV to make it look positive.

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Posted

If you still get shitty jobs, and are under utilized; brush up your resume and look for another job; since you are on SS Titanic.

Aihal: I will eventually do all that you recommend, but knowing my manager and his manager, I strongly suspect that the outcome will be disastrous.

So the question becomes, what's the better way to go?

1 -> quit, work 2 month notice, get 3 month Sperrfrist from Arbeitsamt

2 -> get fired, and?

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Posted

No, getting fired would mean you would have no Sperrfrist.

However, you'd need to feel ok with somehow getting around the fact on your CV (not actually that hard to do; a lot of companies who fire you will still agree to write something else in your reference) - but if it is obvious to potential future employers of course it doesn't look good to have been fired. Inb your case, since you wanted to take some time off and do further training, I should think you'd be able to "polish it up" on your CV to make it look positive.

Thanks ruapehu - Sperrfrist and resume, I don't really care, I would plan around those issues - but the Arbeitsamt? Could they just say, brother, it was your fault, you're on your own?

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Posted

nope

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Posted

... he is always nice with me.

Heard of wolves in sheep's clothing? Some people will smile at you while pulling out your finger nails.

Considered an Aufhebungsvertrag? http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aufhebungsvertrag

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Posted

An Aufhebungsvertrag generally comes with a Sperrfrist though, and OP seems to want to avoid that at all costs.

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Posted

Yes, he needs to be good-and-proper fired.

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Posted

Ok two things here:

1 I can live with being fired without notice and getting a 3 month fine from Arbeitsamt for being fired for fault (I can plan around these things). I cannot live with Arbeitsamt leaving me out in the cold, period.

2 Why is this whole thing happening? Is it something typically German, or just some kind of office politics I don't understand? At this point it's become so absurd that I am starting to think that I was hired so that my boss can say "we have x people in my department bla bla bla"

One important thing to notice is that an important project just started, the future of the company is at stake, and the project is in the phase where they need exactly me - and I was kept carefully out.

I have a gut feeling that featherlight is right, but why paying me for doing youtube?

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Posted

Give them a chance,

Ultimately if you believe you are in an environment which is detrimental to your career as well as the company (and its shareholders) for which you work its high time to move on.

If Germany was a country like US with "at-will employment" this discussion would have been somewhat moot; not sure as to how you should handle your moving on.

In US, I would have done the following:

a) I would start looking for a new job first; its much easier to get a new offer, and you would be in a better bargaining position while you still retain your current job.

B) Once you have that promising new offer lined up. Simply give them the legally required minimum heads-up and move on. (which in US is -0-, but typically a 2-4 weeks grace period for places you like is nominal)

Of course in Germany there are different legal restrictions and accrued rights/benefits to consider. I am probably the worst person, as a new employee in Germany myself, to answer this with local realities in mind.

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Posted

Mediocre managers that are just there to prolong their cushiony positions are always there; in any company..

In small companies, due to their sizes, if you encounter said person; you have little avenue to remedy this but leave the company.

In big ones, you could switch to different divisions, branches, etc.

Even though small companies have far more interest in being more aggressive in weeding such people out, Alas for whatever social/legal dynamics it may not be happening.

Get your new job offer , and then walk up your management chain 1 by 1 and tell them your experience, that you are leaving, and rather than focusing on your grievances directly; focus how they could improve the work place.

Clearly the message of utilizing employees better and increasing efficiency would resonate with someone up there; whose interest is more aligned with the companies well being than your immediate manager's.

Worst case it won't; you'd have burned all your bridges.. But trust me; this is good Karma; if you do it in style.

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Posted

Of course if the labor market for your line of job is shitty... and you have mouths to feed at home..

Its a whole different ball game.

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Posted

Give them a chance,

If Germany was a country like US with "at-will employment" this discussion would have been somewhat moot; not sure as to how you should handle your moving on.

In US, I would have done the following:

...

Of course in Germany there are different legal restrictions and accrued rights/benefits to consider. I am probably the worst person, as a new employee in Germany myself, to answer this with local realities in mind.

Thanks Aihal,

really different game here!

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Posted

As a senior person in a lot of companies you are expected to be proactive in finding tasks and also in communication. Which can sometimes be strange if you are not used to working that way. I work in a large US company so its not a european or german thing.

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Posted

Sr. Assistant Manager in the Women's Shoe Department?

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Posted

Be careful about "getting yourself fired". If the Arbeitsagentur you were fired because it was your fault, e.g. incompetence, laziness etc., you're still screwed.

If you can finagle a redundancy package, you're OK.

But remember: the Arbeitsagentur can still ring up your boss to check and see whether the redundancy was genuine. And who knows what your old boss will say if he was glad to sees you go?

My suggestion: get another job sewn up before you leave your current employer.

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