What is Germany’s worst nightmare for both Germans and foreigners? Bürokratie. And who’s behind the insatiable bureaucratic monster? The Beamter.
To be honest, so far I’ve encountered a fair amount of decent government employees at the Ausländeramt (Immigration Office), the Bezirksamt (District Office) and even the Finanzamt (Tax and Revenue Office); but some months ago I started dealing with the LBV (the equivalent of the DMV) to have an American driver’s license transferred, and that’s when all the fun started. By fun I don’t necessarily mean the stack of official documents to be collected, but the fact that none of the many Beamte I’ve been dealing with seem to agree on the requirements and procedure for the transfer.
Also, I’ve started the series “the Anatomy of _______” to depict the different kinds of folks out and about. If you have cool ideas and want them cartoonized, leave a comment or send me an e-mail! : )
I have never been great at etiquette to begin with, whether it is social gatherings, dress code or celebratory events. The excruciating sea of unwritten norms and protocols becomes even more confusing when you have to factor in culture-specific practices.
The secret to blending in perfectly in the German workplace is addressing people in an utterly polite, highly apologetic, purely factual, emotionless manner. Too much trouble, you say? I agree. You can always opt for being your-expat-self ;D