From Galapagos to Germany: My workplace goal of 2020

From Galapagos to Germany: My workplace goal of 2020
A turtle in Baden-Würtemberg. Photo: DPA
Careers columnist Chris Pyak describes how the story of a motivated turtle presents all of us with a lesson about hard work and persistence.

Let me share a true story with you. This one will delight and inspire you for the rest of this week. I promise.

It is the story of one man, who through extraordinary commitment, saved the whole world. Well, his whole world.

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Diego was already 50-years-old when he was selected to save a rare species of tortoises from – what seemed inevitable – extinction.

The time was the 1960s, the place was one of the Galapagos Island and only 14 tortoises had survived. Only two of them were male.

Now it is 50 years later and, when you walk along the beaches of Santa Cruz Island, you feel the sand between your toes and you see over 2000 giant tortoises making their way towards the ocean.

About half of them are alive because of Diego. His contribution to the survival of the species: Sex.

Learning what gets the job done

You see, Diego was one of the only two male tortoises that were still alive in the 60s. He wholeheartedly embraced both his mission and the “Make Love Not War spirit of the era. Diego is believed to have fathered about 800 tortoises. His playboy lifestyle saved the whole species.

That is commitment. And commitment gets noticed. Nobody talks about the second male tortoise that lived on that Island.

This year I want you to be like Diego. Commit yourself completely to your job search. Learn what really gets the job done and then do only that. Do it like there is no tomorrow.

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I could stop here. I think you get the allegory. But real life requires one additional point, to help you move from understanding, to “doing it”, to victory.

As many people before me have pointed out: “It’s not the size that matters, but how you use it.” There are hidden rules in the German business culture. Ignore them and you will be trapped forever in the circle of “apply and good-bye”.

Adjust your approach just a little, invest a few hours of reading, learning and thinking: And you will go to job interviews, sweep employers of their feet and hopefully end up with not just one, but several job offers to choose from.

Here’s a little something that can help you.


Chris Pyak is the Author of “How To Win Jobs & Influence Germans“. The managing director of Immigrant Spirit GmbH has worked in four different cultures and lived in five different countries.

Chris returned to Germany in 2011. His mission: Bring the Immigrant Spirit to his home country. Chris introduces international professionals to employers in Germany.

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