In the workplace in Germany there’s a distinct sense of hierarchy. Of course, there is a hierarchy wherever you work, but in Germany it seems much more prevalent.
Titles matter. Sometimes it seems that the title matters more than the person’s experience or ability. Opinions, when they come from someone with a better title, carry much more weight. Even if no one else agrees.
It seems that you should never contradict a superior here. I was used to working in companies where everyone’s opinion mattered, and people of all kinds of experience interacted as if they were on the same level.
I also felt that as an intern in London I had more responsibility than I did as a junior in Berlin. There it seemed that I was given more autonomy and had a much more valued input, whereas here, the juniors just work in to seniors.
The people at the top make the decisions and the people at the bottom do the work. Hierarchy rules, and people can’t wait to climb that ladder so that they can finally get a say.
This hierarchy can often be detrimental to a working process, with so much missed when only the opinions at the top are valued, but it’s not going to change anytime soon.
And apparently it’s important to stick to your own hierarchical level and not bat above your weight. A friend of mine was even told off for having lunches with more senior colleagues!