Since coming to Berlin I’ve been asked by multiple people in multiple situations why I chose to go with watching kids over finding something in the environmental field. There are several reasons and matching explanations. Here’s the short answer.
First, prior to our move I DID try to get an internal transfer within the MegaCorp I worked for back in Indiana as there was a location in Berlin. I had the requisite technical experience, but my level of German was not where it needed to be. If the position had been more office and less field-based I might have been able to make it work, but the whole language-barrier thing makes working with contractors just a BIT harder. Oh, and on a way it is similar to trying to break into the medical field in a foreign language because there are very specific terms for the field that I would not have been exposed to in your average German class. Looking into the long-term, I really should look into some more specialized classes for my field and the corporate world.
Now after getting boots on the ground once we arrived in Berlin I could have looked for something environmental-related, but again there was the whole vocabulary thing, then there is the fact that finding a job in Berlin is tough due to there being SO much completion, and the thought of not finding something when I could very easily get something kid-related due to being a native English speaker seemed dumb. So if you are planning on moving to Berlin in hopes to settle here, just count this as your warning that you’ll have a bit of an uphill battle.
Though, as I type this, I realized that I’m facing a very similar thing going back to Indiana… Oh the joys of looking for work :p I’ve put in 50 applications since February and haven’t heard back on any. Oy. That said, it’s not impossible, lots of people have managed to do it, but it will require you to do the leg work. Also be sure that you do all the research about what you will need visa, work permit and insurance-wise. I’ve been fortunate insofar as those are concerned with the accompanying spouse status I’ve had during the time we’ve spent in Germany.
So back to the topic at hand, Kid-wrangling. With the language thing in mind I figured that since I was successful in Hamburg that it would be fairly easy to find something in that area in Berlin. It turned out to be more or less that I was right, and through it I have met some wonderful people. In several cases it turned out that being a native English speaker from the States was an added bonus as my accent is preferred for some reason – though I’m not complaining about there being a preference!
I also chose to pursue kid-wrangling because it allowed me a little more flexibility — this turned out to be all-important with the health issues that I’ve encountered over the course of this last year. Of course I had planned to use the flexibility in pursuit of travel and strengthening my language skills instead of spending weekends in bed, but what happened happened.
Another reason that watching kiddos appealed to me is the relationship aspect — I still have a great relationship with Mrs. Munchkin and the boys, and both JP and I have become really good friends with Tex and his parents, and the Amigo family is awesome! We’ve given the invitation to all of these families to send their kiddos over for a year to study abroad in the States when the kids are the right age. Then there’s the fact that I really enjoy being around kids, and this helps keep the baby-bug away for just a touch longer. Also working with German kids means that I’ve picked up a LOT of vocabulary that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise — I often joked before that prior to Berlin that I could speak “kinderdeutsch” thanks to working with the Munchkins in Hamburg.
So there you have it. This isn’t anything earth shattering, but it is a few of my reasons.
Now if you’ll excuse me, we’re off to go do some vlogging around this crazy city and I need to get our coffee cooling for tomorrow ;)