Difference #6: Mistakes and the Future

There is something about the Aussie mentality that took me a while to figure out. And I’m not even sure if I did it by now. When comparing Germany and Australia I always have to account for the fact that my lifestyles are completely different as well and that I get in contact with different people in different environments.

Some things still stick out and and one of those things are mistakes. The Aussie way of dealing with mistakes is simple: they deal with them. There is no prolonged search for who’s responsible, no blaming and no bucket-passing. Germans, by my experience, have a different approach. Firstly they spend an awful lot of time worrying about what could go wrong and take every possible measure to prevent mistakes. When things do go wrong the first action is usually to find someone or something to blame it on. Maybe it’s just like that in IT but I honestly don’t think so.

That doesn’t mean that Aussies are reckless slobs who balance a ladder on a chair to reach a higher point. On the farms I worked on, safety was a constant issue and in the beginning I was always told where not to put my fingers if I wanted to keep them. It simply seems to me that Aussies understood the fact that work is done by humans and humans inevitably err. Try to prevent mistakes, especially if they could cause physical harm, but don’t overdo it.

In most jobs that I did so far I was basically at the bottom end of the hierarchy. Yet I can’t remember a single occasion where somebody who acted as my supervisor tried to blame me for something they did wrong or where a mistake made by me was due to insufficient instructions. In Germany stuff like that happened more often, a mistake is like a personal flaw, a stain that is better put on somebody else rather than yourself.

In my opinion Aussies are less scared by the unknown, by the future and what it might bring. It seems they are in general more used to deal with the problems at hand instead of worrying about possibly upcoming trouble.

It is not uncommon in Australia for people to move every couple of years, change jobs or even pick up a different profession. At the vineyard I met people like Greg, he’s doing casual work all year long and creates enough income to raise two kids. During the months of the year where he doesn’t work he goes fishing and plays golf.

I’m pretty sure he’d have a harder time doing something like that in Germany. After all, how can he risk to raise children without a secure job? And how would he dare to have a good time on the boat while everybody else is sitting in an office?

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