'We are a team despite national differences'
Published: 03 Jun 2013 07:26 CET
Born in China, with a degree in Communication Studies from Canada and an MSc degree in International Management from Norway, 29-year-old Jeanet is no stranger to intercultural exchange. Ten months ago she headed for Berlin, where we caught up with her.
Where are you working at the moment?
I'm working at a leading international fashion retailer. We are available in 14 countries at the moment, where Norway was our latest expansion and opened September 2012.
What exactly does your job involve?
I'm a Campaign and Promotions Manager. As a campaign manager I am responsible for planning and executing all the online campaigns that are run for the Norwegian market. My job involves lots campaign planning, everything from brainstorming to preparing the materials to executing the campaign across the different marketing channels.
How long have you been there for?
I've been working here for almost 10 months now but it definitely feels shorter, since I work in a fast-paced environment and have fun at work so time goes by so quickly.
What is it like working in such an international environment?
My job is interesting as I get to work with many amazing people from different nationalities and with different backgrounds. I have always wanted to work in an international company, and where I work, it is truly international. It is not every day you get to hear 14 languages being communicated across one office!
Is German one of them?
My job did not require any German skills, as it is an international company, and I mainly communicate in Norwegian or English. German is, however, a plus, as I have many German colleagues. I have an advanced level of German, but always tend to forget it if I do not use it for a while, so it was a bonus to be able to use all these three languages at work.
Did you have previous experiences of work in Germany?
I'd lived in Germany many times for studies, in Munich and Düsseldorf for example, but had never worked here before, so that was something new.
Had working there always been part of your plan?
Actually, I did not really plan to work in Germany. The company I work for was an exception, which at the time of applying seemed interesting for me because of the role and the company itself. I was recommended to apply for this job by a German friend of mine from university. So I submitted my application, came to Berlin for an interview and then it was done, I got the job!
That all sounds very straightforward! How did you find the process of German job applications?
The process was quite convenient, because the company I work for posted jobs on their careers webpage, which people can search for. Then there is normally one telephone interview and one to three personal interviews.
What were your impressions of German workplace culture?
I work in the management team, which is probably the most international team in the company. All of management teams from the 14 countries sit in the same floor, and it is truly multicultural. All my colleagues have a lot of international experience prior to working here, so they are also very open-minded people and welcoming. We also recently started with something called 'random-lunch', an initiative we proposed to be able to meet other people in the team who we might not usually speak to.
Did you encounter any difficulties?
You always encounter difficulties in any workplace, but it has been working really well among the 14 different countries. We like to think as a team despite national differences, and share our ideas and best practices with each other and help each other out through that.
What does the future hold for you?
Well, it is pretty much open, everything can happen in Berlin!
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Interview conducted by Pippa Wentzel