Monthly Archives: November 2016

17 years and already quite wise

“60 Years and no bit Wise” was—roughly translated—the name of a song that German actor Curd Jürgens sang at the time of his 60th birthday. While he sang about himself that he had not learned much from his life, youngsters of today have very clear and wise expectations about their future life. So in a way, the old song’s name in reverse says much about them.

By Jens Kügler

Chilling, having fun, just individual fulfilment?–and nothing more? Whoever believes that the “youth of today” have goals like that is obviously wrong. With regard to the subject of their own future, the school students of the higher grades and future employers deal with reasonable, conservative, or almost favorite-son-in-law-like thoughts. This is the result of the recently published “Jugendstudie #2” of the Statista data service and the digital youth magazine Celepedia. In this, 12,000 young germans aged 14 to 17 years gave information about their dreams, wishes and fears. They are the members of the so-called generation Z—and their ideas are astonishingly “wise” and realistic.

These teenagers do not dream of stardom or the next Justin Bieber concert. They dream of studying at the university or becoming apprentices. And later they want to start a family. 61 percent said that they definitely want to marry. 67 percent do not only want one but two children. But in one point, these youngsters are certainly more modern than their predecessors. 86 per cent let market researchers know that everyone should live and love in his own way without getting discriminated.

While generation Z dreams of studying and learning a job, another survey has dealt with the expectations of those who have already achieved this goal. In the “World of Work” study, the job portal Monster and the online community Yougov determined the wishes of generation Y in the working world. The 18- to 36-year-olds gave quite concrete ideas. 70 percent said they know exactly what they are looking for at the next job change. 53 percent are looking for something totally new and are convinced that they will succeed. During a change of job, about 25 percent wanted to decide not only for a new company, but also for a new branch and a different area of ​​responsibility. 13 per cent even play with the idea of ​​becoming self-employed as a business founder.

Who supports Generation Y employees, also called Millennials, in their job search? Monster and Yougov wanted to know that too. For 28 percent, it is the best friends, for 26 percent the partners. 23 per cent put their cross at current and former colleagues. Not much less chose the parents as consultants: 22 percent. This shows that many young adults still appreciate the advice of their mothers and fathers.

The conclusion is as clear as simple. Decades after the time of the 1968s, there is no rebellion against parents and establishment anymore. And there are no more “no future” graffitis on the walls or tenement halls. Young people of today have very realistic targets. And what comes after generations Y and Z? Probably a new generation A making its way to B on a well beaten track.

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The Rights of Apprentices

In modern German, the term for apprentice or trainee has changed from Lehrling (roughly “learner”) to Azubi, a made-up word described below which has a much friendlier meaning. Making that change has had a good reason. In the modern world of education, the young people are much more respected and recognized than in the so-called good old times.

Written by Jens Kügler

A newcomer to the German Major Soccer League concedes a high defeat against an established team. In a case like that, we use the metaphor: he had to pay “money for training” (Lehrgeld zahlen), meaning he still has to learn and pay dearly. Why do we say this? Well, in ancient times, apprentices actually had to pay for being trained by the “master”—just as if they had to compensate him for the supervision and the lost productive time. Fortunately, the situation has improved. Apprentices are seen as productive employees and skilled workers. They get motivated and rewarded for their commitment.

In addition to this metaphor, there is a proverb dealing with the period of apprenticeship, too: It says “years of apprenticeship are not master’s years”. However, that is still true today. But it can no longer be equated with lawlessness or slavish subservience as it was before. To illustrate this, we have replaced the negative word Lehrling/learner with the term “Azubi” (Azubi is the abbreviation of Auszubildender = roughly translated as “one to be educated”). It’s because the trainees of today have rights (one of which is the right and not only the duty to get educated). And the apprentices should know their rights before they leave the “sheltered space” of school and enter the unfamiliar world of working life.

For each state-recognized training program, there is a uniform national education standard. It not only prescribes what knowledge and skills must be taught and learned. Rather, it also establishes the framework conditions under which this must be done. These arrangements have to be detailed in the training contract.

The trainee has the right to go through all the departments necessary for his later career. The duration of the training must also be fixed. Usually it is two to three years. The remuneration is, of course, also fixed. And if the apprentice is employed at a location other than the established training firm, the employer must, of course, reimburse the travel expenses (and, if necessary, also the expenses and accommodation).

Which regulation will be regarded as most interesting by the trainees—in addition to the expertise to be conveyed? Of course it’s the working hours. And they, too, are not arbitrary at all! In Germany, trainees must not work longer than eight hours a day, at least in the medium-term average of six months. In individual cases, this may be extended up to ten working hours a day, for example because of seasonal or order situations. The absolute maximum, however, is 48 weeks.

Not yet an adult? Then there are more gentle conditions. Minors may only work from Monday to Friday and no longer than 40 hours per week. An exception are industries with shift services. There, the apprentices may also work at the weekend if they receive appropriate compensation. And then there is still the most important question left: How much holiday do they get? An adult can claim at least 24 days of annual leave. A 17-year-old gets at least 25 days, at the age of 16 these are 27 and under 16 years 30 days. Eventually, an apprentice must also be able to regenerate himself. For physical and mental recreation is just as necessary for trainees as for “masters”.

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No Missis President: On Tuesday Night also a Women’s Dream ended.

How sure we were—until last Tuesday. Didn’t we go to bed in the confident belief that a woman would soon be at the most powerful position in the world: The Presidential Office in the White House! We saw Hillary smiling and shining and thought: After Maggie Thatcher and Angela Merkel the Americans now, too, let a lady rule. And then? The unexpected awakening. “He” has won. One of those men who seem to do everything when it comes to putting themselves in the spotlight. They act like a fixed star and let the world revolve around them. It’s anyone’s guess whether this election brought a progress. Hillary, however, has not blown the famous “glass ceiling” which women often encounter, making them fail in their professional career.

Let’s turn the wheel of history back a bit. Something very advanced or progressive took place in January 1919. The Germans could vote completely free and democratic for the very first time in their history. The people agreed on the Constitutional Assembly, which met afterwards at the town of Weimar (hence the name of that era became Weimar Republic). The revolutionary thing about it: On that 19 January 1919, women were allowed to vote and get elected for the first time. Before that, only men went to the polls. And at least: almost 10 percent of all Weimar deputies were women. Today, the women occupy 36.5 percent of all Bundestag (German parliament) seats. That is more–but just a little more than three times as much as the parliament of almost 100 years ago. But at least: over here, the boss is female. Angela Merkel’s chancellorship is very much respected worldwide and is therefore an image gain for Germany.

Even worse than in politics is the situation of women in the economy. According to the statistical publishing service Statista, the proportion of women in management positions for companies with 10,000 employees in June 2016 was only 16.9 percent. In companies with 101 to 500 employees, only 12.5 percent of the superiors were female. The best share of female leadership persons was 25.3 percent at small businesses with up to 50 employees. By the way, the overall average is 22.5 percent. There is still a lot of space remaining for progress.

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