Sunday, April 6, 2008

First Day on the Job!

Wow, I remember so many emotions running through my mind as I spent my first day in the company's office here in Düsseldorf, Germany.

I was back in Germany, which we had waited so long to do. I was starting anew at the company I'd been working at for almost 10 years. And I was reminded of my first days on the job in Denver so many years before. I also recalled my first opportunity to live in Germany as an LDS Missionary just after the Fall of the Berlin Wall and during the first years of the German Reunification. The office building is to the west of Düsseldorf and overlooks the Rhine, reminding me of the great rivers I grew up with (the Missouri & Mississippi rivers). It was a beautiful day and wonderful to be back in Germany.

Wonderful, that is, until I had to enter my password to get on the network. I had entered the same password just days before in the U.S. But when I entered my password and got a failed response. I re-entered with the same result - failed. I quickly asked a colleague who to call as I knew I would be locked out on the third attempt. I hadn't forgotten that on the hop over the pond.

I Re-started the PC and tried again. Same result. The network support team then provided the following ingenious suggestion. They were talking with my colleague and said: have him type his "password" into a word document. The result was something like this:
Expected Password: ZhgPig#7 (i.e., what I thought I was typing)
What I actually typed: YhgPig§7

I was typing on the German keyboard, as if it were an American keyboard. I don't remember exactly what letters I swapped, but the above is a good example of differences in key location between the English and German keyboards.

I was back to reality and spent the next several hours battling the keyboard on my first assignment, updating my resume and skill set profile for the European office.

This first day has turned out to be typical of my experience in the international workplace over the last 18 months. I enjoy working in Germany in international business. I feel comfortable in the work environment and am glad we made the move. But, man I sure mess some things up because I don't always know the lay of the land. I don't always know the rules for handling certain situations. But I struggle through and learn and improve. I plan to continue sharing some of the experiences I've had. I hope others will enjoy.


The Ripley Porch said...

Welcome to the German typing world. It took me about two months to master the different keys and get back up to speed. Then I figured out how to change the Microsoft settings and arrange my life and keys back to normal. Good luck in the German world!

Lynda said...

Drives me insane and is the reason I don't blog much when I am in Germany - I am a touch typist so I constantly have to go back and correct all my Z's to Y's...

March 2007