Jaroslav Plotnikov

QUESTIONS IT-professionals Advanced

Welcome to my questionnaire!

My name is Jaroslav, I’m self employed migration educator living in Berlin. I am working on the book with the working title: A Programmer’s Ultimate Guide – how to relocate to Germany.

These are deeper questions. The basic questions (which you’ve been probably already answered), are here. The table of contents is here.

I feel really honored to initiate and participate in this project. And I really appreciate that you share your experience with your buddy-programmers who are wishing to come to Germany but don’t know how to get through all that stuff.

Thank you very much!

Here is some key points again (sorry if you read it yet again):

It is very well possible that your case isn’t typical or your point of view significantly differs from the “norm”. Yes, I am aware that your opinion can be very subjective. That’s all right, because this is your experience, your life, your story. Answer as you think.

My suggestion: scroll down this page to watch the questions. Then go to this Google Doc and answer them. Fill the questionnaire as detailed as appropriate to you. If you don’t know what to answer to particular question, just leave the fields empty. After you are ready, we could agree about the date and time to briefly evaluate your answers.

Feel free to suggest me any questions or ask me a question or even just say hello – here in comments or per email at info@yarve.com

Jaroslav Plotnikov
Skype: swelldive Cell: 0159 – 030 72 498.

Anonymity
I would suggest that in your story you tell the real people names (feel free to hide family names). That’s more easy. If I would like to take your story into my next book, I guarantee, that I change all names and you will see the ready script before publishing anywhere.

 

QUESTIONS

2.6 Corporate culture and working situation in IT-branch
2.11 Recommended reading/watching

Practical knowledge
3.3 Western standards vs local standards
3.6 Immigration / Visa / Citizenship
3.7 Where to live (short-term and long-term)
3.8 Typical living arrangements
3.11 Food. Availability of products/services
3.12 Credit card? Cash? Check?
3.15 Differences in service standards
3.16 Expat community
3.17 Recommended resources

4. Corporate mindset
4.1 Business mindset
4.2 Understanding “German way”
4.3 Direct vs indirect communication
4.4 How to deal with direct communication and criticism

5. Corporate culture
5.1 Hierarchy
5.2 Who to speak with in organizations
5.3 Business attitudes towards foreigners
5.4 Signals of respect
5.5 How to build trust
5.6 Introductions
5.8 Negotiation
5.9 Signaling success
5.10 Innovation vs status quo


II – useful things about working and living in Germany

 

2.6 Corporate culture and working situation in IT-branch

  • What are, by your own experience, the 1-2 common misconceptions in your native country about IT-work abroad (western countries in common or particularly in Germany)?
  • Have you also had this or similar misconceptions in your mind? How did you deal with, when you revealed the real IT-work situation in Germany was different from your previous expectations? 
  • What are 2 things you need to know as foreigner if you wanna succeed while working with Germans??
  • Which 2 “German national qualities” (understand it as you wish) help personally you to to grow up professionally, work more productive?

 

2.11 Recommended reading/watching

  • What would you add concerning successful career in German companies?
  • Any topics / jokes which you better avoid talking with Germans? 
  • What books, magazines, newspapers, or websites would you recommend a foreign IT-specialist to better understand Germany and its professional environment?

 

Practical knowledge 

3.3 Western standards vs local standards

  • How does the general quality of life in Germany compare to America, Australia, or Europe? (Utilities, cleanliness, safety, amenities, physical comfort.) Compare it with your native country.
  • What safety precautions would you recommend for a foreigner?

 

3.6 Immigration / Visa / Citizenship

  • How can a non-EU citizen live and work in Germany for a few years? Do they need a work visa, investor visa, tourist visa, or something else?
  • How can someone get a visa to live in Germany long-term?
  • What are 2-4 visa types most appropriate for an IT-professional?

 

3.7 Where to live (short-term and long-term)

  • What are some apartments or housings in the urban areas that can be rented month-by-month, for short-term (say 3 month)? Give examples and prices.
  • Where should someone live to meet the most people from IT-environment (employers, colleagues)? What specific neighborhoods?
  • Where should someone live to be near to the action, but to be a little outside, in a neighborhood that’s better for children?
  • What are some places a foreigner should not stay, because of their lack of proximity, safety, or other reasons?

 

3.8 Typical living arrangements

  • What is a typical living arrangement in Germany? Do most of middle-class people live in houses or apartments?
  • Do families usually live together or close to parents, grandparents, kids, and siblings – or do they tend to live separately? How close are they in the daily life? 

 

3.11 Food. Availability of products/services

  • What’s the typical cuisine of Germany? What an “average German” eat in the week? At week-end?
  • Is it easy to find asian / oriental food (restaurants or food stores)? Asian / oriental food in supermarkets?
  • What’s the etiquette of using your hands or utensils for eating? Any inappropriate manners that foreigners often have?
  • What goods and services that people from Asia, Orient, South America are used to are not available in Germany?
  • What kinds of day-to-day necessary things people do online? (Meaning: not just fun/social, but like online banking, shopping, paying bills, using maps/location services, etc.)

 

3.12 Credit card? Cash? Check?

  • How do most people pay for things? Cash? Credit card? Check? Something else?
  • What is the easiest way to get cash in Germany? How expensive is ATM-withdrawals? What are the best options?

 

3.15 Differences in service standards

  • What’s the difference in customer service between US/Canada/Australia/Europe* and Germany? More service? Less service? 
  • Which services might be unexpected or even astonished for someone from Asia/Orient/Africa/South America*?

*- If you are not from one of those countries / regions, just ignore this question.

 

3.16 Expat community

  • Are there a lot of foreign expats in Germany?
  • Where do expats live in Germany?
  • Where do expats hang out in Germany?

 

3.17 Recommended resources

  • What are some good books that describe the life and culture of Germany?
  • What are some good internet resources that help describe life in Germany?

 

4. Corporate mindset

4.1 Business mindset

  • Summarize the business mindset of people in Germany. Ruthless? By-the-book? Improvisational? Considerate?
  • Are there any particular business types / branches that foreigners should not get involved in?

4.2 Understanding “German way”

  • Foreigners sometimes don’t understand the German concept of “justly (proper) behaviour”. How would you explain “German way of proper behaviour”?
  • How is “proper behaviour” (and dignity) a part of Germany corporate culture? Give examples.

4.3 Direct vs indirect communication

  • Give examples of direct (saying exactly what is meant) versus indirect (gestures, avoidance, vague language) communication style in Germany.
  • Is direct communication (saying exactly what is meant) considered rude?
  • How can someone understand the meaning behind communication messages, which are self-evident for native (but non-obvious for foreigners)? Any hints to help translate?

4.4 How to deal with direct communication and criticism

  • People used to very indirect communication find it hard to deal with “western” style of criticism. Give examples of some seemingly aggressive messages, which are meant not to attack but give an objective feedback or even improvement suggestion.

5. Corporate culture

5.1 Hierarchy

  • How important is hierarchy in business in Germany?
  • Is it disrespectful to deal the boss of your immediate superior?
  • Give an example of a business situation where the norms of hierarchy are not followed, (by a foreigner who doesn’t understand), and explain how they should be followed according to the norms of Germany.

5.2 Who to speak with in organizations

  • When a foreigner wants to work (as a regular employee or as a freelancer) with a Germany company, who should they contact? Go directly to the top? Start in the middle?
  • Are personal recommendations important in getting positions of employment (or getting project if you are freelancer) with new companies or can they be reached purely on a basis of your portfolio?

5.3 Business attitudes towards foreigners

  • What is the general attitude of employers in Germany towards foreigners coming to Germany to work in IT-branch? 
  • Skilled migrants from which countries are most welcome? (Skilled migrants in general and particularly IT-professionals.) Which foreigners are generally least welcome?

5.4 Signals of respect

  • What are some social etiquette actions that show respect for someone?
  • What are some social actions that would be taken as disrespectful?
  • How do people in Germany express anger? Do they usually stay quiet or express their feelings openly?
  • How do people view laughter in Germany? What kinds of jokes are not acceptable?

5.5 How to build trust

  • How can a foreigner (regular employee or freelancer/ small business owner willing do business in Germany) build trust with local businesses or people?
  • Is it important to make local friends in order to spread your service offers / business?

5.6 Introductions

  • What is the standard polite way of doing business introductions? (If someone asks you to introduce them to another business person you know.)

5.8 Negotiation

  • Give some insight and advice about business negotiations / interview for a job in Germany.

5.9 Signaling success

  • How can you tell that a person is successful? Clothing? Manners? Neighborhood? Events? Friends?

5.10 Innovation vs status quo

3.14 What’s not online

 

 

 

 

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