How I Work

How I Work #9: Christiane in Germany

Welcome to another installment of How I Work!

How I Work #9  introduces Christiane Scheller, 36, the Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Scherzinger Pumpen in Furtwangen, Germany. Chris writes, “I was responsible for all marketing activities including the organisation of trade shows and events, print media, online marketing, and corporate communication strategies.” She also loves to ride, train, and show horses and runs Simply in Motion, providing marketing and public relations solutions to small businesses.

Due to Germany’s generous parental leave law that subsidizes a percentage of her salary and protects reentry into her role, Chris has completed one year of her two-year maternity leave. She notes that, “My new boss is not only the youngest that I have had (one year), but also the loudest! :-)”

Chris is one of my oldest and dearest friends. She is always smiling and positive, and introduced me to the delights of Brotzeit and Orangina. Chris and I met when were in 1996, when we were in the seventh grade at Randolph School in Huntsville, Alabama. As then new German girl in our class, everyone was fascinated with Chris, and we became fast friends, bonding over the Spice Girls and Leonardo DiCaprio. Over the years, despite the distance, we’ve grown up but never apart, from high school to college, from first boyfriends to first jobs.

After Chris moved back to Germany in 1999, we stayed in touch by handwritten letter and email, with phone calls on most birthdays and Christmases. We have sent each other birthday and Christmas boxes every year for 20 years. I was able to visit Germany in 2000, 2008, and 2018; Chris came back to the States in 2001, 2005, and 2014, the last for my wedding in Chicago.

These days, we send each other written and voice messages through WhatsApp, and Skype once or twice a year (usually for a couple of hours!). Read on for Chris’ thoughts on how the coronavirus has affected how she works.

How has the pandemic changed your job and how you work?

Christiane’s workspace at the dining room table in her family’s apartment in Germany

The corona crisis hit me luckily at a very good point in time. I am currently on parental leave and have been looking after our little boy [who just turned one on May 14, 2020]. I have been working, however, from home every now and then [for Scherzinger Pumpen] – for special small projects or tasks. Now with a one-year-old around me all day long, I need to carefully choose when I try to get some work done because I cannot put him in someone else’s care.

What have you done to adjust?

The “creativity center” for Christian’es one-year-old son

I have tried to find slots to work, whether that included weekends or late evenings. Also, I kept creating new little games for my child to keep him entertained and happy. 🙂

How will these changes affect how you work in the future?

A space for “attentiveness and creating new ideas” in Christiane’s apartment

I really liked how digital everything has become during the last weeks. It is now easily possible to meet over Zoom, whereas before it was absolutely necessary to participate meetings in person. I do hope that these positive changes will remain even after we go back to a normal work situation.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned or encountered during this time?

It does take more discipline to stick to working routines, but it is easier to get work done when you are all by yourself and have no meetings or other encounters keeping you from work.

Many thanks to Christiane for sharing her experience and insights and for supporting the How I Work Project!

Merci for reading and please subscribe and share!

À votre santé,

Katie

About the How I Work Project

The How I Work series on Joie de Vivre highlights how women around the world are adjusting, coping, and working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. It features professionals living in Australia, Turkey, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, and the United States (from Detroit and Chicago to Alabama and Vermont).

Whether full-time or part-time, entry-level or retired, a student or a stay-at-home parent or an entrepreneur, we are working. And we all have something to share about how the pandemic effects our daily lives.

Sharing individual insights in a positive, constructive space creates a supportive digital community as we weather the storm of COVID-19 together. It also sheds light on the new normal of the collective lived experience of working during the time of coronavirus.

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