Die Vorteile

Living in California and working for a team in Germany has advantages (Vorteile) and disadvantages (Nachteile). One of the obvious disadvantages is that with a 9-hour timezone difference, communications are difficult at best. Yesterday, though, I got to enjoy of one of the advantages.

Yesterday morning while getting ready for work, I twisted the wrong way and pinched a nerve in my shoulder. Ow. I rather immediately became unable to move. In a hopeful attempt at solving the problem, I popped an Advil and went back to bed. When my alarm went off an hour later, things were worse instead of better. I grabbed my cell phone, which was on the nightstand, and called my manager. (It was 7am here and 16:00 there.)

With an American manager, the conversation would have gone something like:

    Me: I pinched a nerve and can't come to work today.
    Him: Today you were supposed to working on important things. Are you sure you can't make it in?
    Me: I can't stand up or roll over. There's no way I can drive.
    Him: Can't your wife drive you? Could you at least work from home?
    Me: Movement of any kind is painful. Sitting up is out of the question.
    Him: Could you at least answer your email and forward your phone home?

I've had that conversation before.

In Germany, however, employees and employers both value personal happiness and well-being, and even if they don't the German laws make them be. When told my manager about my pinched nerve yesterday morning, he told me to take the day off. Worried that this might be a trick, I offered to have a teleconference with some co-workers from bed. He told me to take the day off; don't do work; just get better.

Sometimes the little things make all the difference.

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