5 things that are different at my work in Germany vs. my last work in Panama, a personal experience

After a month in my job, I quickly realised that I had to get used to the 8-5 routine again and at the same time adapt to this new work environment with a different work culture. For this reason and based in my personal experience, I decided to come up with 5 things that are different from what I had experienced in my last job as part of L’Oréal back in Panama and my first job in Germany.

  1. During the recruiting process, I was told that my future boss traveled a lot, which meant that he was not going to be in the office in Hamburg so often. For me that wasn’t a deal breaker because I prefer to work independently and I also know that I am not a fan of the type of boss who’s breathing in your neck all the time. Despite of this, I couldn’t avoid feeling strange during my first week at the company because my boss was still on holidays. Fortunately, in a month, I managed to figure my boss’ modus operandi and adjust accordingly. Communication and organisation were key here.
  2. Something that my last job and this one have in common is that we don’t have to punch when we arrive or leave the office. Yes, we do have access cards but they are not used to control when we arrive or leave work which in my opinion shouldn’t even be necessary because we are adults. We know what we have to do and when. I am not a kid anymore so these actually gives me a sense bigger sense of accountability towards my responsibilities.
  3. In my last job, we were pampered: a fancy coffee machine, normal milk, almond milk, cream and sugar for our coffees. In this office that pleasure doesn’t exist. There is black coffee, condensed milk and sugar. Consider yourself lucky with this assortment.
  4. In my previous work, the cleaning staff collected our cups every morning and afternoon, so that our cups were ready for the second round of coffee or tea of the day. In this company, that doesn’t happen. There’s a dishwasher at your disposal. Whenever you make something dirty you have to put your dirty plate, glass or cup inside the dishwasher and the cleaning staff will turn it on at the end of the day. This is not a problem for me, in L’Oréal, most of the times I washed my own cup.
  5. Germans are quite strict with their working hours so that in turn, the company, also respects your holidays and your leisure time which in my opinion is the “ideal” scenario. Exceptions, always! but this I have also adapted. I go to bed earlier so that I can manage to be earlier at work and then leave on time for my Feierabend.

This was a quick summary of those things that no one prepares you for but that have actually made my first work experience so far even more interesting. I am an endless learner so having this in my 8-5 job has been a source of motivation. The motivation to keep learning, to stay curious and to give my best, always.


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Acroyoga helped me survive my first team meeting

I don´t normally write a New Year´s resolutions list but this year I just wanted to.           

I didn´t do it to punish myself at the end of the year but rather to have this list as a reminder whenever I feel lost or demotivated. One of the things on that list was going back to practicing acroyoga. I took my first steps with this practice in the summer of 2015 in Hamburg and it was so amazing that I promised myself that whenever I found a job, I would get back.

It’s now my third week in class and I just feel that cliché and all, indeed, things happen for a reason. 

Acroyoga is a practice that combines yoga, acrobatics and therapeutic arts to give to the person that practices this discipline the opportunity to play, move and connect all at the same time.

What I didn’t expected is that Acroyoga would help me make the process of adapting to a new work environment with a remote-international team easier to adapt to. To sum it in one sentence Acroyoga is doing a mix of acrobatics and yoga practiced with strangers that in a short period of time you’ll have to trust, lose your fears and communicate with them, all at the same time.

Last week, all of these principles, helped me to successfully be part of my department’s first team meeting. During the course of three days, our team composed of colleagues from Poland, Namibia, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Panama, was able to develop an strategic plan that we intend to accomplish in 2018.

These were rough days where communication, trust and getting out of our comfort zones allowed us to work together in the development of this plan. Besides being able to map out what we want to achieve in 2018, it was the perfect opportunity to get to know each other better and how we can support and rely on one another to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves.

The Global Sales team, without knowing, practiced Acroyoga by listening, connecting and empowering each other to give our best by supporting and keeping one another accountable from this meeting onwards.

Everyday that goes by, despite of the overwhelming feeling that I sometimes have at work, I have came to realise that I really enjoy what I am doing and it just feels very good to be supporting my team.


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Life-Changing Experiences

When I received my residence permit I also received a letter that stated that if I wanted to increase my chances of obtaining a permanent residence permit I had to assist to an Integration Course. This Integration Course has two parts and when you complete both of them you have to do two tests to prove that you successfully completed this course.

When I received the letter that stated that I had to assist to this course, I was already taking german classes so I was able  to skip the german part of the course nevertheless, I did have to attend a 20-day Orientation Course.

Being the nerd that I am, I was excited to assist to the course because this course touches on different topics that in my opinion are very important to understand the society and the culture of the germans. If you don’t understand how the german society is structured the adaptation process can be a shock. I already lived here so I got that lesson with tough love.

In this class I spent the time with people from different countries something that made the course even more interesting. I had classmates from Afghanistan, Rumania, Spain, Brazil and Ukraine.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was being able to discuss a broad-range of subjects in a respectful manner while at the same time being able to share our experiences from each of our own countries and cultures. These days showed me that even though our cultures are deeply embedded in ourselves and also very different from one another being open and respectful are the key to each of us better integrating into the German society.

I can’t tell that I know everything about each of their cultures but the biggest lesson I got from this whole experience is that not knowing much about a person and a culture is not a reason to forget that this person is a human being. A human being that deserves my empathy and my respect and even more my admiration because moving to another country, for whatever the reason behind this big step and doing your best to integrate, to learn and to adapt is a big thing to admire and from me, to you, that ever took this big step I give you a big round of applause.

Living abroad changed my life. It will change yours if and only if you step out of your comfort zone. If you don’t , this experience won’t  have a meaningful impact on your life but if you do, how you see yourself and how you see life will change. Studying in Germany was an experience that did change my life and one of the reasons why I decided to pursue this project.

July 2013, Hamburg
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Did I discover my passion? Finally?

support: middle English (originally in the sense ‘tolerate’): from Old French supporter, from Latin supportare, from sub- ‘from below’ + portare ‘carry’.

Last week, I began working as Global Sales Assistant in a logistics company here in Hamburg.  Throughout this week I kept asking myself, can it be that I finally found my passion?

Actually I am not sure but I am certain that I am getting paid to do things that make me really happy. As Global Sales Assistant my duty is to read, write and learn so that the our Sales Team has the necessary tools to provide customers with a solution with the highest quality.

I have many times read if you do what you «love», you won’t work a day. It wasn’t so long ago when I didn’t have a clear idea of what it was that I liked doing and that’s basically  the reason why I don’t like when people compare the life of an entrepreneur to the life of a person that has a 8 to 5 job. Come on, being an entrepreneur is not a must in life. I actually did both, simultaneously and it wasn’t because I hated my job. I did it because I enjoyed both things. 

Right now I am just doing the 8 to 5 job and I feel comfortable with this because this is what I wanted. I wanted to work in an international company in a Logistics company specifically with a team composed of people from different countries and where I could experience another culture in a work setting. I am now a supporter for the Global Sales team and I am enjoying the learning curve this new challenge has brought.


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Are you open to diversity? Even if someone spat on your face?

We were invited to eat Filipino food at the house of our friends a couple from Australia who have been living in Hamburg for some months now. During this evening, Carlo told us a story that left me in shock. On his third week in Hamburg he went for a run and during his run he tripped with a woman. He said sorry and kept running further. Some minutes after, he happened to stop at a pedestrian traffic light and the husband of this woman started yelling at him because he had tripped with her, apparently it was the wife of this guy. Carlo apologized again and kept moving forward. Apparently someone saw this happening and as Carlo passed the pedestrian traffic light someone spit on his face.

When this happened of course Carlo was really mad. I can’t even think of how he should have felt. In this moment, he remembered that his friends back home had told him he had to get mentally prepared for Germany because things like this could happen.

Of course his story shocked me because I believe I have never been discriminated in Hamburg. Such an international city, how could this happen? What is wrong with people? was my thought.

But now, a few weeks after this episode, Carlo said something very surprising: you might think that because of this situation I would then put all germans in the same bag but I won’t. I refuse to give him a taste of his own medicine.

This is precisely what I will keep from this awful experience. 2018 and I can’t believe that we still have to be dealing with such issues. We are humans, period. That’s something we shouldn’t forget. Be a human to humans. You don’t necessarily have to agree with someone’s opinion, behaviour, sexual orientation or belief but what you have to do is respect everyone.

In moments like this is when I feel the most thankful. To have completed my high school studies in a school where a diversity of ethnicities peacefully coexisted. To know that my parents raised me to see humans, not boxes. To have been able to pursue master studies in another country which opened my mind and showed me that I don’t know everything and that I am constantly learning, evolving and experiencing.

I truly hope that one day our society realizes that we are all the same so that more people can get to have best friends from Croatia, Australia or Lebanon. Tina, Yvonne and Razan you are the friends that I selected to call my family in Hamburg .

With love,



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