On their Own

To be given a task in Germany is a form of advanced praise. It signals that one has the ability to complete it properly. It is a sign of competence. Every new task is also an opportunity to demonstrate that ability, perhaps even to surprise the boss and other colleagues with exceptional work results.

For Germans define themselves very much through their work. Recognition for solid work is for many just as important as compensation. A job well done in the German context, however, is work done independently, on one’s own. Help now and then from the team lead or advice from colleagues are seen as bothersome, unnecessary, possibly even hostile, as a form of doubt that the personal can do solid work, on their own.

Lästig, bothersome. Germans find follow up annoying, both for the team member who has to report on the status of their work, as well as for the team lead who has to ask if the work is being done properly. Both parties believe that they have better things to do. Namely, their work.

Figures of speech: Viele Köche verderben den Brei. Too many cooks ruin the porridge. Dazwischen Funken. Literally, to radio in intermittently. Figuratively, to stick your nose in someone else’s business.