Aufgabe. Task, job, project given to a person to complete.

An Aufgabe in Germany is a job one feels obligated to do to the best of their ability. More than completing the task, it is a personal matter, a question of professionalism and integrity. People can assign themselves an Aufgabe or have it assigned to them by a third party.

The Germans say Aufgabe für das Leben, a task for life; Sie müssen Ihre Hausaufgaben machen. You have to do you homework; Man wächst mit den Aufgaben. One grows with the tasks given to them; Eine zu große Aufgabe. A task too great.

It is important for Germans to have a clear separation of tasks, clear borders delineating who does what. It is considered to be a negative sign for a team when one German says to another: „I thought that was your job.“ Even worse is when a German employee does not have an Aufgabe or has too few Aufgaben.

This could be an indication that management doesn‘t regard all too highly that employee‘s capabilities. On the flip side, German employees often take on as many Aufgaben as possible. This is part ambition, part job security, part arrogance in the sense of being able to claim to their colleagues „That they have so much to do, so much more than the others.“

For Germans it is important to have important Aufgaben, to have a lot of Aufgaben, to complete them well.