Hypothetical - Work in L2?

Let’s run a hypothetical that could possibly be very close to my situation…

Your wife says you’re moving to Switzerland. You study German a lot for about a month, month in a half.

Then your wife says you’re NOT moving to Switzerland… and you go off and spend your freetime playing poker, drinking with friends, making iOS apps… that kind of stuff

Then… 2 months later your wife says “well actually we are moving to Switzerland”

You get to Switzerland in April with minimal German under you… but you start Memrise again and find it extremely boring. Then you go back to LingQ and learn on LingQ for several hours a day for about a month, maybe a bit more. Maybe you know 2500 words or so.

You and your wife decide (well, she decides actually) that you should take German classes together. You test above her level… but you decide to both take the Level 2 course together. It forces you to speak, class seems rather easy.

You find a Secret Weapon (a Geheimwaffe so to speak) – someone on LingQ who speaks German with you… and you in turn teach her a bit of English and some American slang.

You’re getting really bored waiting for your shipment from America to arrive so you start interviewing for jobs. You find a really awesome job… and they say

"We want to be a German speaking company. We can be English for ‘a while’ until you learn German. Can we make this part of the contract??’

You’re not entirely sure how long “a while” is… 6 months maybe?

Would you take this job?! Probably speaking is more important in the job… not so much writing

I would take it, although it sounds like you have a pretty good thing going there with your drinking and poker =p

It sounds like a good deal. Maybe the contract can be set so that perhaps in a year you have to get a certain score on the Goethe institute B2 test, or something like that.

To have worked in a foreign country, in a foreign language, ultimately won’t look too bad on your resumé, I think.

Although I know from experience that a contractual obligation to speak a language to a certain level by a certain date could - for me - be an ideal recipe for failure, this hypothetical job opportunity of yours sounds too good to miss. Just make sure to not let the must dominate your thoughts: do leave time for your wife, beer and poker.

Are you saying, hypothetically of course, that you have been offered a job in which you hypothetically have to learn German at a certain rate as part of the contract? Sounds like a great motivator! In such a situation, I guess it is important to be sure that the rate you are required to learn at is realistic.

Yes I need to find out what time frame they’re talking about. “Switching” the office to English is a huge move though… I’m surprised they even are considering the switch. Even stranger… the job posting said “Must be fluent in English” – no mention of German… hence why I applied

I think it would be very interesting to have a German speaking job. Do I remember correctly that you are a computer hacker of some sort?

1 Like

Yes, a hacker of some sorts with a very specific and useful skillset… that apparently is hard to come by in Switzerland. Rare enough they’re willing to speak English for some unknown amount of time

I know a Frenchman here in Vienna who got a job that was supposedly English speaking, but actually most of the meetings are in German. He doesn’t really understand well, so he sits through them and somebody explains them afterwards in English for him.

I would go or it. Like said above, it’s great motivation.

Yeah I think I’m going to. I replied to their email with essentially “how long do I have to learn”. If they say a few months… that’s bad

But what level do they want you to be at? I figure if you have 6 months, getting to a B1-B2 is a fair goal, as long as you work diligently.

What level are you at already Spatterson?

Well, I asked my German speaking friend… and she says “A2 Passive. A1 Active”

Is that your level now? Yeah, you can get a solid B2 in six months for sure, I think. See if the boss will pay for private German lessons, too.

I think B2 will probably be enough. I won’t be writing anything “user facing” or any documentation… I would need enough verbal skills to chit-chat and have German design discussions. Reading German emails probably won’t be too much of a problem after 6 months. I’m also being considered for a well-known search engine company… and they talk English. I may chicken out and take that job if they make me an offer. It seems like learning a new company, customs, software, AND a new language might stress me a bit much. Then again, I love a good challenge and like you guys said it’s a helluva motivator to learn German.

Sounds like a great challenge and a great way to be in a German speaking environment! Otherwise, it can be quite easy in a place like Switzerland to get by without speaking German. Plus with LingQ by your side, it will be a breeze! Not to mention you can import any correspondence to understand it and learn the vocab.

It really depends on how important learning German to a very high level is to you. If you take this job, it will be very difficult and you will get to a very high level in the language. It is up to you to decide if this is what you want. If learning German to a high level is not really important to you, then maybe it is not worth it. There is certainly a lot more to life than learning languages.

…and for saying that, my membership fee just doubled!

Hmm… got my “official” offer today. Essentially they want a “German-feel” in the office… side conversations are in German, lunch is in German, etc. So they gave me 6 months to learn German. After 6 months if I’m conversing in mostly German then I get a 10% raise. They also said that after that point if I need to dive into English if I need to (for some incredibly important detail) that would be fine. I think I can get to a point where I’m conversing on non-technical material in 6 months. That seems reasonable (I’m trying to convince myself to accept this offer)

I’d jump on it, but I’m also a language nerd.

If, during your learning period, conversations and lunches are in German, you’ll have even more of an advantage. Even if you stay quiet and just listen.

You might find that you’ll be able to talk about your field before you are able to talk about the mundane.