Starting with a startup

I’ve finally started my new job. The hold up was due to the fact that startups here seem to advertise a position, make someone jump through hoops to get it, and then realise that they don’t have any money to pay said someone. So, after a lot of faffing about and toing and froing, I’ve agreed to start on the money they’ve managed to scrape together, BUT with the condition that I work flexible hours to supplement this pittance salary with teaching hours. This is sensible as depending on whether or not they make any money this month, I might not have a job to go to next month.

Of course, this means that instead of just going to one place every morning and staying there for the day, I have to travel across the city to an English lesson at the crack of dawn, travel back across the city to put in the hours at the new job, and then sometimes travel all the way back across the city for an evening lesson. I actually feel guilty about the value for money I’m getting out of my monthly travel pass.

The main casualty in all of this – apart from my sleep – was poor old Dolf, who I had to ditch. This wasn’t really a bad thing though as it seemed like the man was actually learning backwards, something I wouldn’t have believed possible before.

Me: What time is it in this picture? 

Dolf: 1982. 

He also beat his cat in front of me – not a euphemism – so I wasn’t overly sorry to give him up.

It's 1982.
It’s 1982.

Aside from all of the faffing and travelling, the new job is going pretty well. My three male colleagues are charming and pretty easy on the eye but, of course, I’m too focused on work to notice…

The downside is that as the company needs money to stay afloat (and keep me in gainful employment), it’s much more sales than marketing at the moment. While pestering complete strangers on the phone all day isn’t how I want to spend the rest of my life, I’m gradually learning to throw my dignity to the wind and enjoy being a nuisance. Anyway, someone, some day, might actually think I’m doing them a favour. Hopefully that day comes sooner rather than later.

Our building is brand new and, at the moment, practically deserted. This is probably because all of the offices haven’t been rented yet, companies haven’t moved in yet, or startups have gone bust before they managed to gather together their shrapnel for the first month’s rent. We have a little office that’s just big enough for the four of us, but that could definitely do with a woman’s touch – no, not this woman.

Where are Hildeberta and Hildegard when you need them?
Where are Hildeberta and Hildegard when you need them?

As the building is almost empty, there’s never any problem calling the lift, which speaks to me in German I can understand whenever I push a button. The kitchen is a few doors from our office, but again, could do with a woman’s touch. Someone has, however, managed to find a kettle from the 60s which you have to plug out to turn off, as there is no on/off switch. This has already led to several adventures where I’ve overestimated the time it will take to boil and come back to a kitchen full of steam and water dripping down the walls.

Each company has a drawer and a cupboard to itself where you can keep your cups, spoons and other bits and pieces. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to bring a spoon so I have to rob another company’s sole spoon every time I want to make a cup of tea. When they hide it (which they sometimes do), I have to use the random knife that’s in our drawer. After rooting through most of the drawers, I’ve also discovered that nobody has brought a corkscrew which means that it probably won’t be that sort of building.

Spoonless kitchen.
Spoonless kitchen.

Apart from playing “Hunt the Spoon”, it’s also fun watching other companies move in. So far, as our neighbours, we have a company called “Electric Eyes” – probably not as exciting as it sounds – and another called “Sweet and Sticky” – hopefully not as horrible as it sounds. I’m already imagining that after I take a couple of months to get to know them and they start giving me stuff, I’ll be able to cut my sweet and sticky cake with my laser beam eyes. This may be about as realistic as me buying a pot plant for the office though…

107 thoughts on “Starting with a startup”

  1. Congratulations my dear. Welcome to the world of mystery kitchens and talking plants. Berlin is a haven for creativity, expression and work ethic although somebody forgot to talk about that teeny weeny thing called “paying the bills.”
    I’m glad you managed to negotiate and create some flexibility for yourself. I would still take uncertainly in Berlin over certainty in Washington. Emm. Probably not Washington. Emm. New York. Yuuuueeeeah!
    On second thoughts, I’d stick to Berlin. Living in New York iwould cost a pretty penny! At least in Germany you wouldn’t starve and be reduced to fighting through the dustbins AND the boys you work with are hot and good to look at. What’s a few bills when it’s at home!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I think I’ll stick with Berlin too – even if it isn’t making life particularly easy for me 🙂 Your lovely friends are lending me a tent for this weekend – 37 degrees on Sunday – WOOP! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you cleared up the German language question in the comments because I was wondering how on earth you were able to make business calls in German when I can barely purchase train tickets in Latvian! LOL

    Congrats on the new job! I hope to hear more about the accompanying German eye candy 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Let’s hope I still have a job next month 🙂 Then there might be some more stories! Made my first sale on Friday but there’s a long way to go and they don’t have the money to keep paying me if I don’t hit a certain target – startups… 😉


    1. Ha ha, God no! I have a German colleague who does that 🙂 I deal with all of the non-German speaking markets. Mainly calling the UK and Ireland at the moment. Some Scandinavian and Dutch companies cos their English is beyond ridiculously good 🙂 I asked one guy to spell his name for me yesterday and as he was spelling it, he said I for Ike Turner – cracked me up for around 5 minutes 🙂


      1. “I for Ike turner” FABULOUS! Well….I admit I was feeling a bit like a loser thinking: “Damn that girl is smart…already working in German and I can barely order dinner in Italian!” Anyway….I am excited for you….have a good weekend. I never made it to Dublin by the way. 😦 Thanks for your help though.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ha ha, no, don’t worry! My German is nowhere near good enough for that yet! It will be a long way off I fear!
          Shame you didn’t make it to Dublin this time round, but it will always be there 🙂


  3. In America we say (among other things): “You get what you pay for.” In other words, if these dear blokes pay you a pittance … . At the least, they should chip in some Linda-only utensils 😉 (And good riddance to Dolf … anyone who would beat a cat … )

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aw, I feel a bit sorry for Dolf. My Italian has also gone backwards, to the extent where I actually forgot how to say ‘good morning’. However, I’ve never beaten a cat, so screw Dolf. Good luck in the new job, definitely want some sneaky pics of any office eye candy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha! There are probably laws against that sort of thing in Germany 😉 I feel sorry for his new teacher – he was so excited to meet a 75-year-old who wanted to start two new languages from scratch. I give him a fortnight til that wears off 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Congrats on the new job! Great news and best of luck! And I really, really could related to this “startups here seem to advertise a position, make someone jump through hoops to get it, and then realise that they don’t have any money to pay said someone.” I am so tired with applications that demand you to work on average 5h (before even getting the job or call back) so everything is filled in and formatted the way they want on-line + the one’s that ask you to actually to a sample job + of course the crazy EU epso test that I had a “misfortune” to try to pass twice this spring 😦 So, thank you for bringing hope back that finding a job actually is possible 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, it’s possible alright – just not easy! I had to go through a lot to get this one – only to realise that the money wasn’t there! Let’s see how it works out 🙂 And best of luck in your search!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hopefully you’ll get round to bringing a spoon before the company goes bust 😉 The company I was at before,my current one let me go because they couldn’t afford to pay me, but it was quite lucky as the boss was horrible. The company still exists but as far as I know it’s back to being just the boss and his wife – he runs the company, she does the translations.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah, offices. They’re infinitely more interesting than classrooms, in my opinion. Because you intimately get to know one another. Even when you don’t want to.

    Also, very excited to hear more about Electric Eyes!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’d trade work kitchens with you in a heartbeat (ours is cluttered and tiny, shared by 30 people), but we have a corkscrew and pint glasses, so maybe I’ll just stick with what I’ve got. (But is that a coffee maker?)

    Who knows, you might be working for the next Apple. 🙂

    And good riddance, Dolf!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I feel the same way 🙂 Some other poor bloke has taken him over – good luck to him 😉 I think it is a coffee maker but I only use the kettle – I’m a tea girl. The cover has fallen off the kettle since yesterday afternoon…


  9. The neighbors sound promising… I came over from the Latvia blog. This sounds even better than the Latvian adventure. Have you thought about a comparison chart? For our benefit, of course..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did one comparing Latvian and German men – the Latvians were not amused 😉 The place is like a distant spot on my memory now 🙂 But I may do one at some point in the future haha!


  10. Sounds awesome. Are you not inclined to put weird things in the drawers. You could make it a game. An acorn, a fluffy dice, a luminous keyring. I challenge you to find free things and leave them in the drawers. Then change them each week.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Just be careful not let this slide into voodoo dolls and envelopes with anthrax.

      Although, if the term ‘domestic terrorism’ is in any way correct, the kitchen is where it should be happening!

      Liked by 3 people

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