German Corporate Structure
The basic German business structure is highly hierarchical with strongly defined roles.
The issue of negotiations is probably a good place to look at the nature of business meetings in Germany. The rules here are simple: Germans like to “get down to business” rather quickly and dispense with any special rituals.
Task-masters and Problem-Solvers
Just as “thorough” is something of a mantra here, another word you will hear quite often in these parts is “Ordnung”, or order.
The German Approach
Germans have managed to maintain their reputation for high-quality work even under the pinch of shorter working time – because of their tradition of thoroughness.
The Work Day
You may already be aware that Germans are not the driven workaholics of popular legend: an eight-hour day is much more the exception than the rule in this country where the average work week only runs to 37.7 hours (but to be fair, this is very close to the western European average).
Job Hunting in Germany
If you find yourself looking for a job in Germany, you should be aware of several factors which will shorten the entire process and in the end lead to more success.
Directness – Not Rude, but Honest
One thing to prepare yourself for is the slap of candor: Germans can be rather blunt when they offer stern advice or criticism.
Right Time, Right Place
As you can probably gather from the above, Germans tend to believe strongly in the concept of a right place and right time for everything.
Formality – the tricky Sie or Du
Closely aligned to this formality is the obligation to use the “Sie” form of address with people you don’t know that well.
The Basics of Understanding German Culture
Making generalizations about any society is difficult, but if you are a newcomer in Germany you will likely notice many small and seemingly large cultural differences.
Holidays and Celebrations
Here’s a quick rundown of the legal holidays and celebrations observed in the Rhein-Main area.
One of the more flavorful aspects of German culture is its cuisine. It is often all to easy to fall back to the familiar … particularly when it comes to food.
One of the most impressive and lively variations of the Straßenfest is the Weihnachtsmarkt or Christkindelmarkt (Christmas market).
Another favorite way for Germans to amuse themselves is the Straßenfest (street or block party). These are pleasant events organized and sponsored by local governments and local businesses.
The Pub Culture
As an indispensable antidote to indulgence in organized sport or other strenuous physical activity, the Germans have achieved a highly developed pub culture, where various alcoholic libations can loosen the tongue, warm the heart, and soothe a troubled mind.
As is true of most nations, more people in Germany tend to be fascinated by sports than there are active participants. Armchair experts abound, with the airwaves full of sports shows, sports reports, and live broadcasts of sporting events.
Clubs and Organized Fun
You’ve often heard about the Germans’ strong skills for organizing. Well, they are even adept at organizing fun and free time.
Of course, public transport is not the only way of getting around in Germany. The two leading forms of private transport are taxis and private automobiles.
Driving in Germany
Many German traffic regulations may differ from those in your home country, so it is essential to familiarize yourself with the basic rules and to get acquainted with the international road signs.
Using the Postal System
The market for postal services in Germany has been deregulated, meaning that private companies are allowed to deliver both letters and packages.
When moving into a new apartment in Germany, most people keep the same electricity provider used by the previous tenant.
Paying TV and Radio Licensing Fees
German television and radio broadcasters are state-funded, and you, too, will have the pleasure of contributing to the system while you live here.
How to Receive English Language Programming
Your new apartment or house may already be wired with cable or a satellite receiver. In some cases, cable television fees are included with your apartment’s monthly maintenance fee.
If you often call friends and family in a specific country, you should consider booking a flat rate for international calls.
Wireless Hotspots and Call-by-Call
Wireless LAN Public Access Points (or so-called Hotspots), which allow you to surf the Web away from home using your own laptop or smartphone, can be found in countless cafés, restaurants and hotels across Germany.
Choosing a Provider
You’ve found your new home, and now it’s time to get connected (along with a few other tasks). To have a fixed-line telephone installed in Germany, there are two basic options.
Having a Baby
For the last few decades, Germans have been worried about declining birth rates and increasing life expectancy and the obvious demographical problems caused by these two trends.
Should you need to go to hospital during your time here, your doctor will arrange a bed for you and find a specialist on that hospital staff to attend to your problem.
Pharmacies and All-Night Drug Stores
Almost any medicine you need you’ll find at your friendly local pharmacy (Apotheke).