What is most important for you at work?

One of the aspects people use to value the most is work life balance. 40% out of 30.000 global workers interviewed by “The Future of Work and Cities” (a study from WeWork and The Aspen Institute) gave this feedback, comparing to 33% who mentioned salary or 28% who mentioned benefits as the most important aspects. These aspects were also mentioned more often then growth opportunity, business opportunities and leadership quality.

It’s always easy to be overcommitted and to work long hours or to check business e-mails prior to going to bed, but the truth is that a good balance between personal and business life is aimed by the vast majority of workers, interested to protect their personal life and mental health.

When does a work mean happiness?

Next week I will be taking part of a virtual classroom from a British philosopher, Alain de Botton. In his website, there are a lot of questions or considerations on subjects that might interest you as well, for example:

“We have moved from devising tools for simple aspects of survival to tools that address our aspirations to flourish. Along the way, we made a striking discovery: that coming up with and operating certain tools might at points be very pleasurable. This was a surprise.”

“Satisfying work begins with an insight into happiness. What later gets called an enterprise, a profession or a trade is – at the outset – just an idea about increasing pleasure or decreasing pain. We start the long journey towards work when we spot something that we would like others to enjoy – or a friction or discomfort we would want to remove from their lives.”

Read more about when could a work be meaningful and many other parts of life in tThe Book of Live here. “Life is only 700,000 hours long so we have to make sure the ideas we need don’t get lost – or take too long to find.”

Probation Period in a German Work Contract

How long is the probation period in Germany and what does it mean for the employer and the employee?

The probation period is regulated by law in Germany and can last for a maximum of six months. During this period the employee can finish the contract within two weeks.

If the employer wishes, he can shorten this period. This happens for example when someone has worked before for the company, or if the employer wants to offer better contractual conditions to the employee.

This regulation can be read in German here (point 3).

80,000 hours or 40 years

This is the amount of hours or the number of years you will be probably working during your entire life. Have you thought about these numbers that will define your work life until you will be able to retire? If so, how should these hours be spent? Probably with joy, isn’t it?

For some time ago I’ve found a really interesting website with a lot of insights with this regard. Some information really caught my attention as for example the following two:

  • Mental Health
  • Career Capital

“When thinking about career capital, most people focus on concrete credentials like the brand name of their employer or specific qualifications. However, career capital is anything that puts you in a better position to make a difference in the future, including general efforts at personal development.

The aim is to maximise your impact over an entire 40 year career, and many of the highest-impact positions take decades to reach. This means it’s vital to be on a path you can stick with. And that probably means doing something you enjoy, which lets you get enough sleep, exercise,  build up enough savings, have rewarding relationships, and fulfill other important personal priorities. It also means realising you’re not perfectly moral and treating yourself with some self-compassion. Neglecting to take care of yourself seems to be one of the more common ways for talented people to fail to live up to their potential.

One area we’d especially like to highlight is mental health. Depending on the definition you use, between 10% and 50% of people in their twenties are dealing with some kind of mental health problem. If you’re suffering from one – be it anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, depression or something else – then probably make dealing with or learning to work around it one of your top priorities. It’s one of the best investments you can ever make, both for your own sake and your ability to help others. (…) Many people who took the time to make mental health their top priority and who, having found treatments and techniques that reduced or even eliminated their symptoms, have gone on to perform at the highest levels.”

What have you been doing in order to grow as a person and as a professional and to develop or maintain your mental health?

Source: website 80.000 Hours, Key Ideas.

10 Ideas on What to Prepare to Talk About Change at the Workplace

Everybody has a special subject one is searched for advice … In my case, since over 10 years this has been Human Resources and all the subjects involved with it, and of course everything related to Germany, Switzerland, life and work in Europe as an expat and on the other hand also about life in Brazil, of course, as these are the countries deeply linked to my life history.  

Lately I was contacted by two persons who were invited to talk with their direct manager with regards to possible changes in the workplace and did not know how to react. Of course, every case is a different case, and if the conversation is towards firing you, there is no chance to negotiate anything. Otherwise, it could mean a change in your current tasks or a promotion for you, and in these cases I have gathered 10 ideas down below on what to prepare and how to best react to a conversation like that:

  1. Be confident and show your value for the company, show the areas where you are unique and play an important role. Recognize and highlight your areas of expertise.
  2. Remember to mention at least two major projects where your knowledge/your contribution was decisive (the ones which make you proud and were you have played an important role).
  3. Show you know your value in the market and what professionals are paid for in your area of expertise.
  4. If you think it is the right time, mention that sometimes you are contacted by Headhunters through LinkedIn, but you see some important future developments for you in the present company and you believe you can add a positive contribution to it.
  5. Put in a piece of paper all the important messages you want to discuss during this conversation. Write them down and take them with you. If it should be important to use this record for the future, use them as a memo or send an e-mail covering them to the participants of the discussion. When organizing what to talk about, remember to keep your message short and simple. Try to think a bit ahead on how the reaction of the other side could be and try to think about some suggestions on how the conversation could go on after that.
  6. Do not make any drama, do not speak about difficulties. Just be positive, bring ideas to improve your area, show confidence, ash how you can help grow the company and your area.
  7. Should you talk about current challenges, please remember to bring some suggestions on how to solve them.
  8. Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions (who/what/where/when/who)… The one who asks questions is the one who is guiding the conversation.
  9. If offered to add some more tasks to your current role, or asked to move to another department, ask questions about the tasks, the new role, the new environment, the new job description, your new stakeholders, who will you report to, with whom you are going to work with, what is the compensation package, etc.
  10. Even if you should not agree with what is being offered, do not react immediately. Try to stay positive, ask for some days to reflect and think later on deeply on the subject.

The truth is that we cannot predict life and changes may result into something better than what you have initially expected. Keep calm and be positive! Everything is going to be all right! And if not… there will be another place where your knowledge will be needed, and another place where you as a person will be valued and needed. Life is a roller coast and we need to be flexible to adapt to change.

Learn German for free with Deutsche Welle

There are many ways to learn a language nowadays. I know people who download apps and have a great experience with it. Others look for what is called in German “tandem” experiences (offering their language knowledge to another person and learning from him/her the other language as a conversation). There are really good face to face courses, one of them for sure is at the Goethe Institute, either in Germany or in any premises around the world. But for those who want to start right NOW are looking for an alternative which is good and for free, Deutsche Welle offers a German course from the beginner’s level up to B1. Check it here and go for it!