Posted in Europe, Germany, Leaving your job

Have a wonderful day

I got a strangely positive spam email the other day, and I thought, hmm, this deserves a blog post:

Hi Nonhlanhla

You Have to want more for yourself or you’ll always be stuck right where you’re at

If someone takes advantage of you because you’re a nice person, Don’t let that change you. Continue to be a good person. It’s still good to be a good person even though it’s hard to believe with the way people can treat you sometimes.

Have a wonderful day.

Insert example of a wonderful day

Those of you who keep up with my shenanigans on here know how spam is my favourite kind of entertainment. So when I got this email it made my day. The beauty of this one is that the sender didn’t seem to want anything from me in return. Their sole mission, it would seem, was to inspire me. Well now, I’m here, writing my first blog post in months, and feeling inspired. Can we call this a success?

It took me a while (it’s been at least 3 months) to figure out how I would write about this. I think I got into a space where I was overthinking it a little. After my last post on spam, I knew expectations would be high. Luckily, after these months of self-silencing, I have come to a place where I only care about creating something again. Now let’s dissect this email and maybe get an update on me and my life lately.

You Have to want more for yourself or you’ll always be stuck right where you’re at

The first line is a real stinger. For those of you who don’t know, I recently celebrated one year of living and working in Germany. Initially, I had received a year’s contract to work here, hoping to get an extension after. Of course, those hopes heavily depended on Germany’s work culture and general quality of life. For the first 6 months, I wasn’t sure at all about my next step. Work was nice because of the people and office vibe, but the day-to-day work itself felt a little too similar to what I had been doing in South Africa before I moved to Japan. I felt like I had taken a bit of a step back in my career and somehow took on the same responsibilities I had had already in the first half of my two years working as a UX copywriter. 

This wouldn’t be a problem, of course, considering I took a two-year career break and kind of needed to relearn how to engage my adult brain after spending too much time with 7-year-olds. But if I’m honest, when I signed up for this adventure, I expected more. This was an international company. Surely there would be new challenges! Nope. I can officially say the challenges were eerily too similar. When I left Absa, I had already built experience working with a large design team and delivering content for platforms across Africa. I was now reliving this, just with more countries and about 53 more languages in mind instead of 3 when writing. Sure, working with people from literally every corner of the world was fun, but as the mysterious spam lady pointed out, I had to want more!

And I did. Shortly after this email, an old recruiter of mine reached out about a great opportunity that would allow me to learn more and do more. I said yes and as they say; the rest is history. Or in this case, the future. I officially start my new role as a Content Designer in July. 

If someone takes advantage of you because you’re a nice person, Don’t let that change you. Continue to be a good person.

What about Germany? I won’t lie. It took me a long time to fall in love with Germany. Coming from Japan, it felt like a huge contrast from what I had become used to. From impeccably clean to unsettlingly filthy. From everything smelling like the forest to everything smelling like freshly sprinkled pee. From pristine and maintained historic architecture to graffiti-tagged historic architecture. This was not the Germany I had expected from watching all those WW2 and car documentaries. Also, the people. The Japanese are known for the friendly face they project to others, and in an almost comical and complete opposite way, Germans are known for the stone-cold face that they project. A harrowing fact for someone who thought the language barrier would be the only thing that could keep one apart from society.

If only it was love at first sight :/

So maybe the creepy email lady didn’t nail the second line exactly. No one has taken advantage of me being a good person yet but when you are quieter and less pushy, living in these loud overbearing conditions can become corrosive.

It’s still good to be a good person even though it’s hard to believe with the way people can treat you sometimes.

I have been so blessed. This line just made me realise that on a different level. As I’ve mentioned before. Life abroad can feel isolating for a million reasons. Most of them relate to the level of community you can build. In Japan, despite doing my best by trying to be part of my immediate community by joining table tennis at my school, hanging out with a few of my teacher friends outside of school, playing Taiko and being involved with the ALT community, there was always a level of depth missing. It’s possible that the lack of depth was my own fault. I tend to invest less of myself when I know I won’t be around for long. I managed to make some great friends that I still keep in touch with now though, but those friendships somehow transcended being Japan-specific and thus are not included in my thinking of being part of my Japan community. Perhaps the lesson here is that your relationships should aim to be above the limits of space and time.

In Germany, the language barrier still exists, but not in the same way. My coworkers and random people I’ve met here all form part of the English ex-pat community so I have been spoilt. But the barrier is still there. Always having to think about whether or not a place has staff that can deal with an English customer. Thinking about whether you can join an extra mural activity without worrying about language. Thinking about whether you can go back to taiko without a strong grasp of German or Japanese. So yes, a large part of building community is still being safely guarded by that language barrier, but luckily it hasn’t mattered. I’ve made good connections with people who truly treat me well here. So much so that the thought of moving away so soon did not appeal to me at all. So when the prospect of staying longer presented itself, I had to jump at it. I guess that’s the next part of my life update. I’m staying in Germany and in pursuit of my dream to stay connected to the English world, I’ll officially join those unicorns of the workforce and become a fully remote worker. So yes, it is good to be a good person so you can attract the right people into your life regardless of the obstacles. Spot on Internet lady!

Have a wonderful day

Perhaps the best part of this email was the closing. Short, sweet and to the point without being too demanding of petty things like my banking details or my identity documents. Have a wonderful day. It can sometimes be hard to do this naturally, but when a stranger from the internet asks you so nicely, who are you to say no?

Author:

I'm a writer with some stuff on my mind.

2 thoughts on “Have a wonderful day

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