Like a Fencing Match: Brevity vs. Detail

I recently noticed another subtle difference between the working culture here in Germany and North America.

I had to write an e-mail to all scholarship holders on a meeting in July, and coming from North America, it’s so easy to write very detailed instructions or next-steps. The reason is, frankly, North Americans want details; to the other extent, we’re kind of stupid or way too analytical of simple steps.

And when I presented the e-mail draft to Michaela, she was really surprised to see the length of it. We had to edit a lot, though in my mind I know there will be tons of unnecessary inquiries after mailing it.
It was the same when I edited my other colleague Martina, her friends’ daughter resume. It was short, and brief. Or rather, way too brief that I wanted to write one myself.

I later printed out my own resume and personal statement, and Martina was really shocked to see the length and details. “In Germany, we keep things short with job descriptions and application.”

And I think this cultural difference may have caused some difficulties and confusion between the administration here in Germany and the applicants from North America.

Though I have informed them of the administrative culture in North America regarding instructions and application, I think in the end it would be hard for the administrators here to accommodate that cultural aspect of North Americas, as they are used to brevity and precision.

And I guess if I applied for jobs in Germany, I may also encounter some difficulties as well. Probably employers would not be pleased to see my lengthy and detailed work experiences.


About Oliver

This is for my summer in Germany while working with Deutscher Akademischer Austauch Dienst (DAAD), or German Academic Exchange Service!
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