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New York working culture shocks #1: How did I get here?

Moving across the Atlantic from Hamburg (Germany) to New York City (USA) in June 2019 was an adventure all in itself. Ahead of time, I was anticipating an adjustment period as well as some culture shocks.

Having lived in what feels like the capital of the world for about 1 year and 4 months now, it feels right to look back and record some of my experiences (especially in this turbulent year 2020). Let me start with the (for me) biggest change: Working in New York City.

How did I get here?

My move to the US was mainly made possible through my employer. Our headquarters are in Hamburg (Germany), but we have offices in London (UK), Singapore, Tokyo (Japan) and New York City. I had been working as a market researcher with my company for 3,5 years by that time, and when I told them that I wanted to move to our New York offices they decided to make it possible. So my personal journey toward a visa was easier than for most people (maybe more on that another time).

One of the things that I love about my company in Germany, is the work culture. As long as you wander those halls, you will be seen as part of the family (which consists of about 700+ people), you will be included in group activities, people will ask you to join them for lunch, cheer you on and consider your ideas and opinions… there is definitely a great sense of comradery and sense of ownership and self-initiative. The people and sense of togetherness is one of the big selling points of the company.

I was expecting something similar moving to the New York office. After all it is a subsidiary company running under the same name and with the same products. But I had to learn very quickly, that was not necessarily the case, even though it was initially hard to pinpoint.

The next couple of posts will be from my personal experience relating to my specific company in New York. I am not trying to make any generalizations or criticize New York or even the US in general. Instead of thinking in the terms of better or worse, I like to think of things being different without putting any connotation to it.

I truly believe that it is a privilege to have the opportunity to dive into a culture and learn more about how things are done in another country then my own. No country or culture is perfect. And by experiencing others, we get to learn and analyze what we personally admire, cherish and want to incorporate into our own way of life. If you stay open to it, there is so much potential for growth hidden right in front of you.

How about you?
Did you ever move to another country? What made you make that move?

Cover picture was taken in Brooklyn, New York (USA) in 2019


3 thoughts on “New York working culture shocks #1: How did I get here?

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  1. I used to live and work in France (I’m from the US, although from Los Angeles, not NYC). I had a good time, although it did have its challenges throughout the four years I lived and worked in Europe. All the same, it’s true that the European work ethic is very different from the American’s, and I’ve found it to be better! Can’t wait to read more of your thoughts on living in NYC soon. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I worked in the Normandy and Lyon regions! I would say that the French’s approach to work (35-hour work week) is a lot better for one’s work-life balance, as opposed to the 40-50 hour work week in the US. Americans are workaholics, that’s for sure, and we could do with a lesson from the French, let alone Europeans!

        Liked by 3 people

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