Since this final blog post is focused around my perspective and cross-cultural experiences, I find it only fitting to write about my experience at Proctor & Gamble in Frankfurt. Based off anecdotes from other friends conducting internships elsewhere in Germany, I found it commonplace to have traditional and hierarchal work environments, with rigid systems and an inability to influence your superiors. I believe this dynamic is caused by the already-established culture of a company that has operated under more traditional industries such as automobile manufacturing. One would usually find exceptions to a traditional company organization by working with hip and trendy start-ups or with foreign companies. I noticed that relative to the United States, Germans have different expectations from their careers. It has come to my impression that in Germany, people work to live, and are content with having a more humble, comfortable, and stable lifestyle in return for a proper work/life balance. In the United States, at least in my environment back home, I knew many more people that lived to work, where their costs of living would catch up to them much more aggressively. As a result, I believe that my generation has (maybe out of necessity), developed a more entrepreneurial mindset, and actively seek out alternative means of income through the gig economy. I find that this dynamic, however cruel, can foster a more passion-driven mindset aiming to “break out” of their situation, versus working to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.
Of course, this might be more strongly influenced by the socioeconomic condition of those I have surrounded myself with in both the United States and Germany. Regardless of the reason, this internship has provided me with a better perspective of what it meant to work and live. It is always interesting to see what people make of their lives, and what people’s work conditions make out of them as well.