As I was waiting for my core essential workout class today (I was the only person in the room- it was five minutes before the supposed beginning of the class and not even the trainer was there), I got to thinking about waiting. And German stereotypes. One of the interns at the office had brought an elaborate list of German stereotypes to work today – you can read them in detail here: Born and Raised in Germany
I strongly agreed with points 4 and 8. Number 4: Efficiency is your middle name. Absolutely. While I have my list of tasks in front of me every single day and truly enjoy checking off that list, I am capable of successfully fulfilling all tasks and checking off all points within two hours – maybe three if I had a slow day or a bad night. This has also always been a problem in school- not in all subjects, but in those I was good at. My teachers didn’t know what to do with me because I was done. I learned to just awkwardly sit there. At first, I was confused because I thought the point was to finish as quickly and efficiently as possible. Even if I have 2 out 10 wrong, I’m still faster and I’m done. No more test anxiety, get it over with. Done. At work, it’s no different… especially in the US. At this current particular job especially. Not that my colleagues are not doing anything, but I have to admit that there have been times when I have deliberately tried to work slower – just so that I wouldn’t be done too soon or before the boss comes in and I’m just twiddling my thumbs.
Point 8 is also very interesting – I strongly agree with this one in comparison to Spain. Probably every other country as well, but in Spain I especially noticed this huge difference. Before a party or a meet-up, I would literally leave a little later, and then panic when I missed the metro. Which was the entire point because I intentionally wanted to be late because being on time is just not a thing. Turns out that even when I leave late, miss a metro, get lost, take another street, a U-turn, a hop, skip, and a jump, I’m still gonna be earlier than anyone else. I gave up fighting it – if you invite me to a party, I’m gonna help you set up and drink! I may leave early for the same reason, but again – I will be using the excuse that it’s just my culture ;).
While I wait for my gym class to start (yes, I’m still waiting), I come to think of things I do while I prolong my earliness and try to downplay my German-ness. At the gym particularly, I would stretch, check my heart rate monitor, adjust my personal data, get up and get some water, stretch some more. That kills about a minute and a half.. Efficiency, you know… Other times, when I walk to a meet-up point and I know I’m more than 10 minutes early, I will walk around the block, explore different streets, or look at my phone and check my emails, facebook, instagram, sign up for groupon, check weather (I’m outside, I can see the sun). But that also only takes a minute.
In the end, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone with these (I don’t want to call them problems) “peculiarities”, or that I don’t have to be medically treated for them… yet. It’s just my culture. That’s not to say that all Germans are like that (trust me, I know plenty who are constantly late and some who are everything BUT efficient). However, if you agree to some or all of the stereotype points from the article, at least it’s justified :).
(#My500Words Day 18)