I discovered that the hardest thing is being placed between two cultures. Believe me, there are cultural differences between Switzerland and Serbia. Sometimes, it was harsh to negotiate between these two. It simply isn’t a question of right and wrong – the cultures are just different. After facing the situation between two cultures, I truly believe it would help us (not only at Merkle) if we would assume good intentions even more. All of us do want the same - more or less - and we do have so many similarities, only the details are different. Being a bit more tolerant (on all sides) would improve the common understanding between different cultures a lot.
A second lesson I learned the hard way was not to take everything personal, even though our Belgrade office was kind of my baby. It was very hard to see colleagues leaving. It still is, but in the beginning I took every single notice personal. I almost felt like someone is breaking up with me. It wasn’t only about people leaving. It was regarding everything related to Belgrade. Positive and negative stuff. After a while, I had to learn how to be a bit more distanced. It would have been a too emotional roller coaster otherwise. And I had to accept that it is just not possible to control everything and just to accept some things, whether I like them or not.
I’m quite sure that there wouldn't have been any job at Merkle which would have fulfilled me more. Here in Belgrade I had the full scope of running a location or even a company. The responsibility was very broad and I like that. Still the unit was small enough to be very close to our Belgrade employees. And that’s the part of my job I really loved. I tried to be there for each and everyone of my Belgrade colleagues. Whenever someone approached me, I was eager to support her or him. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but I really liked being there for them. That‘s quite a job with 50 employees in the office. It takes a lot of time but it is worth it. I am sure that our Belgrade office deserves only the best. We have so many great people, they are smart, open-minded, eager to learn, welcoming, supportive and positive. You can’t imagine how much I will miss them. :(
It was and still is tricky to keep balance between private and business life. The workload is huge and never ending. As soon as one task is done, two new ones pop up. And the time in Belgrade now ends how it started: with two jobs. The story repeats itself: One of our HR employees from Belgrade is on pregnancy leave and soon on maternity leave. But it’s not only about the workload. Some decisions - especially if employees are affected - are hard to take and bother you after working hours and during nights as well. Some decisions have been right, some wrong. It’s always easier to judge after you know the outcome of your decision. I definitely took every single decision to the best of my knowledge and belief at the time given. On top of these work related characteristics, Merkle is the only reason why my family and me are here in Belgrade. We became a Merkle-centred family. Merkle was everywhere and that fact made everything more intense. Don’t get me wrong, it was very cool, but I sometimes even forget there is a life besides Merkle. Most of our private relationships in Belgrade are Merkle-based which is great! But Merkle was very dominant. Despite of that, I really believe we found friendships here and I hope they’ll stay forever.