Working in an international metropolis- My working experience in Hong Kong
As this is my first blog entry I will shortly introduce myself.
My name is Rüdiger and currently I am working as the Director of Key Account Management Germany for Lufthansa Cargo in Frankfurt. My main function in Frankfurt is leading our Key Account Management-Team which deals with our corporate clients such as Schenker, DHL etc.
In the following blog entry I want to share my cultural experiences during my stay abroad in Hong Kong where I worked for Lufthansa Cargo for 7 years. I was the team leader of a rather small team with fewer interfaces, compared to Germany. Being a team manager in a culturally multifaceted team was fun. It taught me how to operate self-dependently and how to act in concert.
Of course it is a big readjustment to move to Asia – being so far away from home and friends and exploring a different culture and a huge international metropolis. Especially the start in 2008 was not easy because I had to face tough times with my team when the Lehman crises arose.
But after a little “warm-up” stage of about 3 months, me and my wife started identifying with the country. My wife even took some Chinese classes. We really felt at home and me and my team grew together.
One thing I really appreciated working in Asia was that Chinese people work and communicate very efficiently.
Thinking of Hong Kong, everyone only imagines the big sky scrapers, too many people and too little space. But in fact, Hong Kong is very multifaceted. It is close to the ocean, the climate is very warm and you don’t have to drive too far to see beautiful landscapes as well as beautiful isles. I loved going hiking there and spending time at the beach with my family.
A funny anecdote I love looking back at was the Oktoberfest with our colleagues of Lufthansa Passage. I was positively surprised that everyone in my team came wearing a “Dirndl” or “Lederhosen”.
One can say, Chinese people really love Germany, especially the German football team. Experiencing the EM 2008 in Hong Kong was great -everyone was on the road, even if the games were broadcasted at nighttime. Moreover, many Hong Kongers cheered for the German team.
What I missed the most was German food, especially German bread and sausages and of course my family and friends.
One of my biggest highlights in Hong Kong, however, was my son’s birth in 2010. Now that we are back to Germany (since September 2014) he misses the beach and the warm climate in China. But generally, we are happy to be back at home, of course.
All in all, 7 years of working in Hong Kong was very life-enhancing. You really learn to appreciate things which seem to be self-evident in your home country.
In conclusion, I would warmly recommend working a few years abroad to everyone, because it is such a great experience you will never forget and which makes you grow.
My advice for everyone who wants to work abroad: Be flexible and open and don’t be prejudiced against a new culture.
I hope I was able to arouse your curiosity- maybe one day you will experience what it is like working in Hong Kong!