Meet Zenjob - Pride Edition (English Version)

Stefanie Berger

Sales Operations

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What does Pride mean to you? 

 


For me, pride means honoring who you are. It means standing up for who you are, for what you believe in, and standing by this. It also means honoring others – those who came before you, celebrating others for their diversity and for the things that make each and every person so uniquely different. It means seeing the value in yourself and in others and not only celebrating but also fighting for our right to exist and coexist in an inclusive space.


It feels so liberating to be able to speak openly and honestly about yourself and to not have to hold back or hide a part of yourself from others. There is a great sense of relief and relaxation when you can be open about who you are and know you will be embraced with open arms.


How was your experience with diversity (as a white person in a white society) growing up? How does that differ to your more recent experiences?


Growing up in a small town, the things that really stood out, that kids saw as “diverse” were when someone had a different hair color or their parents were divorced. At my school you could e.g. count the non-white children on one hand. One person was rumored to be gay. Diversity in a class meant having a different home town, not having a different skin color or a second mother tongue besides German. 

I realised that diversity can also have clear negative consequences for the lives of those that are different than the norm. So I had to learn what diversity truly means and the freedom it can bring by moving to a bigger city – seeing different skin colors than my own, hearing people speak languages other than German was liberating for me and helped me to open my mind. 

Funnily enough, meeting my best friend (who was born in China) in university made me realize even more that it doesn’t matter how you look, what language you speak, or where you were born – the only thing that counts is your spirit, your mind, and your personality. She had to be so strong to be the “odd one” and helped me to see the value in being yourself, even if that means being different. Nowadays I embrace my own “oddness”.

Diversity for me has come to mean celebrating the uniqueness that everyone inherently possesses and embracing that as the one thing that could (and should) make all of our lives a little bit brighter and more colorful.

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Chris Dawson

Recruiter, People & Culture 

 

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 What does Pride mean to you?


Often when people talk about Pride, they talk about big marches and rainbow flags. It can be  small, personal things as well. At work, I am completely open with people about my sexuality. I always mention it when applying for jobs. In historical terms, this is a real luxury for LGBT+ people. In the UK, it was completely legal to fire someone for their sexual orientation until 2003. But you spend a considerable part of your waking life with your colleagues, and I never quite feel comfortable with someone if I can’t be open with them about being gay. I always feel like I’m holding something back. This in turn would have an impact on my work. So I am always open about who I am, and am much more creative and productive as a result!


What is it like to work between two different languages?


I am from the UK, but have had the good fortune to study German both at school and at university. I am proud of my German skills, and get to use my German every day in my work. This linguistic and cultural diversity is one of my favourite things about working at Zenjob. However this can also present some difficulties. 


No matter how fluent you are, no matter how often you practice your verb tables or memorise your cases, you will never be as eloquent in a foreign language as you are in your own. This can make certain situations a challenge- for instance, arguing a point, or getting your opinion across in a fast-paced conversation, especially with native speakers.

Nevertheless, there are ways to turn these limitations to your advantage. Having a limited vocabulary forces you to express your ideas in a simple way, which everyone can understand. You lose the ability to bullshit. I sometimes find that what I say is actually clearer in German than it is in English. 

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Arvind Arora

Senior Product Manager, Product

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What does Pride mean to you? 

I see Pride as staying true to yourself and being honest with yourself, believing in something and following through with it, as well as understanding and accepting that everyone is different. When thinking of Pride, I think of my job and our mission here at Zenjob. I take a lot of pride in being able to work with many colleagues from different nationalities and backgrounds, as well as being challenged with different ideas and ways of approaching problems on a daily basis. In addition, the impact we have on the lives of students, being able to build and release features which you can actively see are changing the future of work is something that is extremely rewarding and something I take pride in.

Tell us about your experience of moving to Germany.

Moving to Germany from London was extremely easy and smooth for me. Having already lived in Berlin twice before for internships, as well as growing up in the Netherlands, I felt very much at home here from the get-go.

The German bureaucracy was something that I did need to get used to, especially finding an apartment. During my first few months in Berlin I moved from AirBnB to AirBnB whilst looking for a place to live. In hindsight, this was a good way to explore the city, and the rest has been extremely easy since finding my current apartment. I made many new friends extremely quickly, and it was also an amazing way for me to learn German.

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Sinem Yilmaz

Intern - Content, Marketing

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What does Pride mean to you? 

To me, Pride means being proud of who you are! This includes accepting others and not judging them for having different beliefs, nationalities, appearance or sexual orientation. This shouldn’t even be an issue.

What is it like to be perceived as foreign in your own country?

My father came to Germany from Pakistan when he was 13 years old and my mother’s family is Turkish, though she was born and raised here in Germany. The problem with having a mixed background is that you don’t feel 100% at home anywhere, which is due not only to your roots and appearance but also to the prejudices people hold. I don’t really speak Urdu, nor am I fluent in Turkish. I feel most at home in Germany and yet I am still regularly asked where I’m from, or whether or not I even speak German (in case I am not just directly spoken to in Turkish, Arabic, or Farsi).

When I was a child my mom had to fight that I wasn’t put in a separate class for foreigners, since the school assumed due to my name that I wasn’t fluent in German and would thus need extra help. Even during high school (Gymnasium), they assumed that I wouldn’t be able to complete assignments as well as others, since I’m “not from Germany”.

Those are only some examples and there are many more where that came from. Many of those remarks were hurtful or made me angry but the older I get, the easier it is to deal with them.

It’s 2020 and I find it shocking that we still have to fight against discrimination due to someone’s appearance or nationality! My dream is to live in a world where everyone has a mixed background and where racism is not a topic anymore.







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