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About burningkrome

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  • Location Germany
  • Nationality usa
  • Gender Male
  • Year of birth 1968
  • Interests Biotechnology/Bioengineering
  1. Rosetta stone to work success in Germany?

    And, I'm asking sincerely ...   How do you handle impasses?   I.e. How would handle a situation where you're in a flat hierarchy with Junior developers who have a few years of experience, and are about to make a very common mistake you've seen often in your 30 years experience ... but they're really convinced of it and you can't make them change their minds (often because the mistake won't be apparent for a year down the road?)   As a person who has been a manager (although, not in this specific situation), I strongly encourage positive reinforcement, and creating an environment that allows for an open, uninhibited, exchange of ideas. But, at some point, people do have to have a decision maker. Trying to come to every decision by committee - especially when you have a very disparate group of skills and experience in a group, often means 30 minute discussions last a week ... or never get resolved at all.   I will admit, that this is one of the faux pas I have made in German culture. As a rule, the German decision making process is often painfully slow, inefficient, and (honestly) somewhat nonsensical to an American mindset. While I'm aware of this, and aware of the need to be culturally sensitive - it is the crux of the question. How to handle ineffective processes that are, unfortunately, often engrained into the culture. 
  2. Rosetta stone to work success in Germany?

    I'm curious about this too. I have two direct bosses: one my age (50's), and one slightly younger (40's.) But the majority of the team is very young (Masters and PhD candidates.) I have received mixed responses from my bosses regarding my "taking a leadership role."   Honestly, this mixed response is part of why I'm asking the questions here. :D
  3. I'm a U.S. expat who has been here in Germany for some time now, although for most of my "German life" I have been working with U.S. companies (remotely.) For the last three years, I've changed to more traditional jobs in Germany (albeit, "traditional" prior to the pandemic) - where I'm working with Germans, in a German environment. To make matters worse, these years have been spent in German academia, versus typical corporate culture (which is where I worked with the U.S. companies.)   In German social life, I've learned that the subtleties and expectations of interaction are slightly different than in the U.S. For example, a person would never remind a stranger to pick up their trash in the U.S. This would go beyond rude, to border on fightin' words! But here in Germany, it is considered quite reasonable. I bring this up not as a complaint, but as a recognition that all of the subtle cultural and social queues I have learned as "appropriate" and even "required for success" are quite different here.   I'm finding this especially difficult in the work place. For example...   In U.S. corporate culture, it is expected - if you want to be successful - that people automatically take the initiative and self-assign leadership roles. When you see organization needed, you organize. If your team doesn't know what to do, and you do (or think you do) - you take charge and try to get the team moving in the right direction.    No one will "tell" you this. It is certainly not written down anywhere. But it is such a subtle, critical social expectation - that failing to do so will ensure you never get promoted. The ability to show leadership, to get people to follow you, and take control of projects is mandatory for success. It's how you tell the "quality" people from the people who won't make it through the next set of cuts.    So, in my new work here, I did this instinctively (as I have at every successful job I've had) and discovered this was seen as quite inappropriate. Attempting to "take charge" - when authority had not been specifically assigned - was quite a faux pas. I'm not clear if this is a "German thing", or if this was isolated to German academia, or if it was just this particular environment (which was very focused on a having a "flat hierarchy.")   So these are my questions! What are the subtle, unspoken expectations for success in German companies? How/where can I learn them? (I don't have another 40 years to absorb them organically, like I did growing up in the U.S: :D) Any good articles on the subject?
  4. Handling a hostile colleague in Germany

    are you the only one in this small group he has a problem with?  I don't know, but there's only three of us in - and one of us is only there 10% of the time     does the behavior take place in front of others? Sometimes, and it has been seen and commented on. Most of the abusive stuff is in a private chat channel (which I no longer go to :D)   are any of his accusations true? With the most sincere reflection, I don't think so. All of my Arbeitzeugnis here in Germany have been good (including looking for weasel words and coded sentiments.) My reviews from the U.S. before moving were excellent. 
  5. Handling a hostile colleague in Germany

    I did get my direct supervisor involved, and we're forming an action plan. We'll see how well that works   Thanks for the post
  6. Purchase precision rotary lathe spindles/shafts in Germany

    I did find a local company that provides it, but thank you for the post. I'll keep it in my bookmarks! :)
  7. Handling a hostile colleague in Germany

    Unfortunately, I'm not :/ But thanks for the response. I am disabled, but I don't see how that would help in this particular situation. He has never made a problem of my disability.  
  8. Handling a hostile colleague in Germany

    I'm working for a large research firm in Germany in a technical role. For the last year, it has been my dream job. Unfortunately, starting about two months ago, one of my primary coworkers has begun behaving in an extremely toxic manner. He's made a couple of very angry and inappropriate attacks on my competence (via text, so I have then documented.) In our daily work life he has become increasingly passive aggressive (as well as classically aggressive), argumentative, obstructionist, and hostile.   Simply put, he feels (and has told me directly) that even though I'm 10 years his senior in experience and qualifications, I'm incompetent compared to him, and I should be deferring to him in all ways. He has begun actively pursuing a takeover of all my tasks.    We are considered to be in a "flat hierarchy." Neither of us has any official authority over the other, and the project is small - meaning there is no legitimate way to avoid working with him.   I have (today) sent an email to our managers asking for intervention.    My questions are these:  I am American. He is Russian. I know that - in the U.S. - there are certain standards of professional behavior, including how you interact personally with employees. For the most part, I have found the German workplace in agreement with this. But, I'm a stranger in a strange land. In the U.S., his comments to me would be considered insanely inappropriate and aggressive - I believe such much so that (if we were in the U.S.) sending the text copies of our conversations to HR would result in immediate reprimand, if not dismissal.    Q1. However, this is not the U.S.  - and he comes from a different culture. Am I misunderstand, or mishandling the situation? I have tried all the conflict management techniques I know - FROM THE U.S. - and they all have failed. Should I be responding directly to him in a different way?   Q2. In the U.S., as I mentioned, I fully believe his actions would result in immediate reprimand or dismissal. I suspect him being dismissed is nearly impossible under these German employment laws, and that's not what I'm seeking anyway. But do German HR departments involve themselves in these types of things? The impression I get is German HR departments are less about "managing employees" and more about handling hiring and firing paperwork.    Q3. If not HR, whom else, or how else, should I be asking for help with this?   Q4. I'm not sure this can be solved while we remain in a flat hierarchy. While I honestly do not seek to be in a formal leadership role, I also suspect life will be intolerable working with him were he to be placed in a formal leadership role. I know that Germany is highly dependent on certifications and years work for determining position. If the only solution is appointing a "team leader", is it reasonable to insist that I'm appointed the position based on my senior credentials and experience?   Thanks! 
  9. Hello All!   I'm looking for a McMaster-Carr type of company here in Germany that sells directly to the consumer. In this specific case, I'm looking for highly precision made rotary shafts that will be used in a lathe. I need a shaft that is 156mm long, 15mm diameter, with at least a .03mm straightness tolerance. Similar to these at McMaster-Carr.   Unfortunately, McMaster-Carr no longer ships to Germany thanks to Trump's trade wars.    Can anyone direct me to such a company?   Many thanks!