How to SPEAK about YOUR JOB in German

How to SPEAK about YOUR JOB in German

SAGA
Was ist dein Beruf?
(What is your occupation?)

MRS. SCHMIDT
Womit verdienen Sie Ihr Geld?
(What are you earning money with?)

MONIKA
Womit arbeiten Sie?
(What’s your work?)

KIM
Was hast du für eine Ausbildung?
(What is your education?)

ELSA
Was hast du studiert?
(What did you study?)

These are all questions aiming at one thing: To get an outline of you as a person.

Ich bin Spring German Lehrerin Brunhild und heute lernen wir verschiedene Berufe! (I am Spring German teacher Brunhild and today we’re learning different occupations!)

1. Was für Berufe gibt es? (Which jobs are there?)

I think it’s safe to say that there’s enough Berufe (jobs) for every skill, interest, and taste out there. Let me introduce eight of the most common German occupational fields to you:

  • Betriebswirtschaft (business administration), a job here could be Kaufmann und Kauffrau (merchant)
  • Erziehung (education), a job here could be Erzieher und Erzieherin (Kindergarten teacher)
  • Bauwesen (construction engineering), a job here could be Bauingenieur und Bauingenieurin (construction engineer)
  • Medizin (medicine), a job here could be Krankenpfleger und Krankenschwester (nurse)
  • Informationstechnologie (information technology), a job here could be Programmierer und Programmiererin (programmer)
  • Managementmethoden (management methods), a job here could be Personalvermittler und Personalvermittlerin (recruiter)
  • Landwirtschaft (agriculture), a job here could be Landwirt und Landwirtin (farmer)
  • Gastronomie (gastronomy), a job here could be Koch und Köchin (cook)

SAGA
Und, was studierst du?
(So, what do you study?)

ELSA
Ich studiere Betriebswirtschaftslehre, um Kauffrau zu werden. Leider nicht so aufregend.
(I’m studying business administration to become a merchant. Unfortunately not that exciting.)

SAGA
Doch klar, wieso nicht? Was möchtest du damit machen?
(Sure, why not? What do you want to do with it?)

ELSA
Ach, ich möchte ins Büromanagement. Da gibt es immer freie Stellen.
(Oh, I want to go into office management. There are always vacancies.)

SAGA
Was macht man als Kauffrau im Büromanagement?
(What do you do as a merchant in office management?)

ELSA
Naja, man erledigt z.B. den Schriftverkehr, entwirft Präsentationen, beschafft Büromaterial, bereitet Sitzungen vor oder organisiert Dienstreisen Hey, hörst du zu?
(Well, you deal with correspondence, draft presentations, procure office supplies, prepare meetings or organize business trips… Hey, are you listening?)

SAGA
Ja! Hört sich super spannend an!
(Yes! Sounds super exciting!)

Now, I am aware that this is a fluent conversation which may be hard to follow the first time. But through conversations like this, we learn sentences and chunks that get us to talk faster. Feel free to download our free essential chunking kit. Der Link ist in der Beschreibung (The link is in the description).

2. Wo kann man arbeiten? (Where can you work?)

An occupation is often linked to a certain work environment.

If somebody tells you Ich arbeite in einem Restaurant (I work at a restaurant), you will probably already have an idea of what their job could be. Possibly they are a:

  • Servicekraft (server), like a Kellner or Kellnerin (waiter / waitress)
  • Koch or Köchin (cook) or a
  • Küchenchef or Küchenchefin (head chef)

When someone says Ich arbeite an einer Schule (I work at a school), you know that possible jobs could be:

  • Lehrer / Lehrerin (teacher)
  • Rektor / Rektorin (headmaster) or
  • Schulpsychologe / Schulpsychologin (school psychologist)

Of course these are just some examples.

If someone says Ich arbeite für eine Fluggesellschaft (I work for an airline), you know that possible jobs here are:

  • Pilot / Pilotin (pilot)
  • Flugbegleiter / Flugbegleiterin (flight attendant)
  • Flugzeugingenieur / Flugzeugingenieurin (aircraft engineer)

When someone says: Ich arbeite in einem Krankenhaus (I work in a hospital), this person could be working as a:

  • Krankenpfleger / Krankenschwester (nurse)
  • Arzt / Ärztin (doctor)
  • Chirurg / Chirurgin (surgeon)

And when someone says: Ich arbeite am Theater (I work at a theater), possible jobs could be:

  • Maskenbildner / Maskenbildnerin (make-up artist)
  • Schauspieler / Schauspielerin (actor / actress)
  • Intendant / Intendantin (artistic director)

Wo arbeitest du? Schreibe es mir in die Kommentare. Aber natürlich auf Deutsch! (Where do you work? Leave me a comment below. But in German, of course!), and I will guess what your job is!

3. Warum arbeiten wir? (Why do we work?)

Work can make an important part of our Identität (identity). Or it could just be a way of making money, so that we can find Selbstverwirklichung (self-fulfillment) in our free time. Here are some reasons to work. For example Idealismus (idealism). One reason to work is that we believe in what we’re doing. Possible jobs here could be something with

  • Tierschutz (animal protection)
  • Umweltschutz (environment protection)
  • Soziale Arbeit (social work)

It could also be

  • Krankenpflege (healthcare)
  • Politik (politics) or
  • Lehramt (teaching)

I think it’s safe to say that these are wichtige Berufe (important jobs) that make our world a better place.

DANIA
Wie viel verdient man eigentlich mit Journalismus?
(How much do you actually earn with journalism?)

MONIKA
Kommt drauf an. Aber man macht es nicht für das Geld.
(That depends. But you don’t do it for the money.)

DANIA
Wofür dann?
(What for then?)

MONIKA
Eher aus Idealismus. Und um sich selbst zu verwirklichen. Womit willst du später mal arbeiten?
(More out of idealism. And to realize oneself. What do you want to work with later on?)

DANIA
Ich will im Tierschutz arbeiten. Tiere müssen artgerecht leben können.
(I want to work in animal protection. Animals must be able to live in a manner appropriate to their species.)

MONIKA
Da hast du recht. Das ist auch Idealismus.
(You’re right. That is also idealism.)

Apart from Idealismus (idealism), we could also work for

Selbstverwirklichung (self-fullfillment)

So the primary goal with our work would be to utilize a certain talent. With this motivation, we would work um unser Potential auszuschöpfen (to reach our potential). For example: With

  • Schönheit und Aura (beauty and aura) could lead us to become ein Model (a model)
  • Schreibtalent (writing talent) could lead us to become ein Journalist / eine Journalistin (a journalist)
  • Sportlichkeit (sportiness) could lead us to become ein Berufssportler / eine Berufssportlerin (a professional athlete)
  • Handwerklichem Geschick (manual skills) could lead us to become ein Handwerker / eine Handwerkerin
  • Schauspieltalent (acting talent) could lead us to becom ein Schauspieler / eine Schauspielerin (an actor / an actress)
  • Ehrgeiz (ambition) could lead us to becom ein Unternehmer / eine Unternehmerin (an entrepreneur)

KIM
Wow! Du hast fast in jedem Fach Einsen! Bist du hochintelligent?
(Wow! You have straight A’s in almost every subject! Are you highly intelligent?)

DANIA
Das vielleicht nicht, aber ich habe Ehrgeiz.
(Maybe not, but I have ambition.)

KIM
Willst du Raketenwissenschaftlerin werden?
(Do you want to become a rocket scientist?)

DANIA
Nein, Tierschutzanwältin.
(No, a lawyer for animal rights.)

Since we often enjoy what we are good at, it makes sense to pick a career based on talent. But many people pick a job based on first and foremost one criteria: Geld verdienen (making money).

Gut bezahlte Berufe in Deutschland sind: (Well paid jobs in Germany are:)

  • Pilot / Pilotin (pilot)
  • Anwalt / Anwältin (lawyer)
  • Physiker / Physikerin (physicist)
  • Opernsänger / Opernsängerin (opera singer)
  • Steuerberater / Steuerberaterin (tax accountant)
  • Projektmanager / Projektmanagerin (project manager)

MONIKA
Wie lange sind Sie schon Opernsängerin?
(How long have you been an opera singer?)

DAISY
Ich singe seit 2004.
(I sing since 2004.)

MONIKA
Womit arbeitet Ihr Mann?
(What does your husband work with?)

DAISY
Mein Mann ist Anwalt.
(My husband is a lawyer.)

MONIKA
Wow! Was für eine Villa!
(Wow! What a mansion!)

DAISY
Ach, das hier ist nur unsere Winterresidenz. Im Sommer haben wir eine Villa auf Mallorca.
(Oh, this is just our winter-residence. In summer, we live in a mansion on Mallorca.)

MONIKA
Okay …
(Okay…)

I think we can all agree that Geld verdienen (making money) has its perks. But how we want to make money and how much, is up to us. Unless we have a super ambitious parent who already has our career all worked out, which can be ein Fluch und ein Segen (a blessing and a curse).

CHUNK ALERT!

Ein Fluch und ein Segen (a curse and a blessing) literally means “a blessing and a curse”, so Ein Fluch und ein Segen zugleich (both a blessing and a curse) means “both a blessing and a curse”. It’s something you say when something is great and terrible at the same time.

For more direct and useful chunks like this, feel free to download our free essential (German) chunking kit, to which the link is in the description.

MOTHER
Na, meine kleine Tierärztin? Dann zeig mal dein Zeugnis.
(Well, my little veterinarian? Let’s see your school certificate.)

KIM
Ich will gar nicht mehr Tierärztin werden.
(I don’t want to be a veterinarian anymore.)

MOTHER
Ohje, Kim! Mit diesen Noten wirst du es auch nicht!
(Oh dear, Kim! With these grades you won’t be!)

KIM
Ja, passt.
(That’s fine.)

MOTHER
Passt? Passt? Willst du dein Potential verschwenden??
(That’s fine? Fine? Do you want to waste your potential??)

KIM
Ich will einfach nur glücklich sein.
(I just want to be happy.)

MOTHER
Du willst faul sein. Das ist es, was du willst!
(You want to be lazy, that is what you want!)

4. Zusammenfassung (Summary)

We went through the most common occupational fields, like:

  • Erziehung (education)
  • Medizin (medicine)
  • Informationstechnologie (information technology)
  • Managementmethoden (management methods)

Which leads to the most common jobs, like:

  • Erzieher / Erzieherin (Kindergarten teacher)
  • Krankenpfleger / Krankenschwester (nurse)
  • Programmierer / Programmiererin (programmer)
  • Personalvermittler / Personalvermittlerin (recruiter)

We also looked at some examples for Arbeitsplätze (work environments), like:

  • ein Restaurant (a restaurant)
  • eine Fluggesellschaft (an airline)
  • eine Schule (a school)
  • ein Theater (a theater)

We also looked at the most well paid jobs, like

  • Anwalt / Anwältin (lawyer)
  • Steuerberater / Steuerberaterin (tax accountant)
  • Opernsänger / Opernsängerin (opera singer)
  • Projektmanager / Projektmanagerin (project manager)

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