Unless “mystery shopper” and “cat sitter” really count as grownup jobs, it is fair to admit that I never had a job before moving to Germany. I had a family, though, and that family was led by two proud members of your average Italian working class. They took pride in enduring through their working hours for me and my sister, embraced the suffering of it and its discouraging lack of prospects. As I witnessed my parents’ lives, I grew up preparing psychologically for the depressing start of my career, kind of like a criminal prepares for jail time.
After five years in Berlin and more than one tech company on my resume, I can say that working here has been mildly weird, consistently fun and nothing like I was expecting. These are six things that struck me about German tech startups.
1) Quirky Team Names
One thing I’ve learned from the German startup scene, is that descriptive names are so very passé. If you’re hired as an accountant in a tech company, for example, the chances you’ll end up working in the “finance team” are extremely slim. Your team will instead be referred to with the name of an animal/a famous scientist/a made-up native American tribe. You will attend serious meetings meant to address the concerning performance of the angora rabbits, to contemplate the possibility of new hires among the raccoons or to find a new leader for the alpacas. My scientific guess is that by the year 2025 all the animal names will be taken and startups will have to start exploring uncharted territories, naming their teams after things like sexually transmitted diseases, stripper nicknames, pokemons and toppings you can find on frozen yogurt.
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