After one week, I would like to list my observations that I gathered in the last days at the Data School.
First, a little background about me: my name is Bogi, I'm 26, I come from Hungary. I worked at PwC Hungary as a consultant for 5 years, then I quit to apply to the Data School in Hamburg. I've been living and working in Hamburg for a week now.
So, let’s start about the company:
Providing to colleagues
I’m starting with this, because it’s one of the most surprising point for me. First, I’d like to mention that I can order any professional literature that I deem useful and the company will cover the costs (in fact they would be doing the ordering, so I wouldn’t have to deal with administration either). Then I hear that Christmas parties are usually abroad, in Southern Europe. Then I learn that if I’m sick only for 3 days or less, I don’t need a doctor’s notice. Also, I’m here since last week and they already covered two lunches and a dinner for me. First lunch was because it was our first day, second because it was a Lunch&Learn program and the dinner because there was a Meet&Greet event I participated in.
And it is not about free meals, it is about generosity and providing everything (both financial and non-financial things) to your people that you can without a second thought. Do you know what kind of leadership mindset it requires to have such things in a company? It’s incredible.
I can’t put my finger on it very precisely but there is something very special about how they go about their work. They are very confident (not by chance), very professional but at the same time they are somehow very cool about it all. In Hungary we have a saying: “it’s in my little finger” and it means that I’m very good at something and I can do it very effortlessly. Here, it’s like the whole data topic is in their little finger and they can do any kind of magic they want.
Language (as a foreigner)
I found out that I have to speak German literally when I clicked "Apply" - you can imagine the diameters of my eyes. (In retrospect it is kind of obvious that I need German in Germany, but I had my reasons to believe it was all English.) Luckily, I learned quite a lot of German in high-school so I started to do some intensive studying in August. As a result, I'm already around B2 - but not the strong kind of B2.
And then here is what happens at the office: every day, 9-18, is in German. I have to concentrate from the first moment until the last. My brain burns out sometimes (luckily less and less). But the interesting part is that no one ever gives any indication that they wished I spoke faster, better or that my accent even exists. Also, I can switch to English whenever I have a complicated question to ask or whenever I'm already too tired for German.
And it doesn't mean that I don't have to improve my German, it means that they give me the space, time and patience to do it.
Textbook exemplary culture. There is feedback, there is trust, there is flexibility, there is support, there are learning opportunities, there is inclusivity and openness. And these are not random words, if you ask me, I can give examples to all of them.
So far my biggest struggle is that I still haven’t got used to this keyboard and I always write “;” instead of “?”. And it also takes me forever to find the “ä” because I always look for it as some kind of special key (less special here than it was in HUngary :) ).
So, in summary, I have to say that I found an even better company and stronger community then I was expecting and I’ll be very very happy to spend my next years here!