1st phase of my life: born & raised in Erlangen, Germany 19.12.1988 – 2010
In my hometown I had two jobs that taught me a lot. My first gig was selling tickets for 5,90 €/hr at the local cinema. December is the month of the year with the most guests in cinemas. December is also known as a time in which people are reaaally very stressed. So dealing with lots of cinema guests in that setting taught me patience and politeness, specifically in a hectic enviroment.
The other job I had was at the warehouse of a local supplier of electromechanical parts. I grew up in a nice, calm middle-class village with my brother being three years younger than me, my father working as an engineer and my mother as a nurse. My spare time I spent reading Kafka and Kerouac, listening to Springsteen and Dylan and skateboarding a lot with friends. Dealing with warehouse workers five days a week for a month was a culture shock to say the least. The tone was rough. The days felt endlessly long.
But by that time I began to notice a tendency: I developed a desire to learn more about the people and the world we live in. I found it infinitely interesting to deal with people from a very different part of society, people I would never meet would I have never stepped outside of my little village. That trend began at the cinema and the warehouse in my youth, developed well into my 20s working at the local food bank and as a student assistant at my alma mater. I also felt that desire abroad when I was an intern at a philosophical faculty in the southeast of Spain and as traveller at hostels in various European countries.
With the warehouse and cinema money I earned I went traveling to Hungary and the Czech Republic and bought better equipment for my skateboard. I can’t deny that Erlangen is a really nice city that culturally has lots to offer. I also can’t deny that I had a really good time there growing up. But … well, 20 years were enough for a young man that wanted to see more of the world than the little 100.000 people hometown he grew up in.
2nd phase: Philosophy in Germany & Spain, traveling & friendship
In Marburg as a student I felt so much freedom. I widened my intellectual horizon, dealt with the highs and hardships of friendship and love and suffered major personal setbacks. Those taught me more about myself and life than any academic success I had.
I absolved a B.A. and M.A in Philosophy with minors in Political Science and ‘more recent German Literatur’ at Philipps-Universität Marburg. I started as an underdog at my faculty because I noticed that many other students knew a whole lot more about Philosophy than I did. At least it seemed that way. The ‘alpha students’ were mocking my presentations and what I said in discussions. So I, with the confidence I was lacking in my subject, felt discouraged. But I soon found out that I could belong to the best of my faculty if I just put in the work and just focused on me and my goals. Besides soon getting very good grades I landed a popular job as Student Assistant with the faculty’s favourite Philosophy Professor and other students started to come to me for advice on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, on which my research focused. It was very flattering. I noticed how I’ve gotten more confident academically and earned the respect I didn’t get in the beginning by just being patient and putting in the work. That turned out to be one of the most valueable lessons of my professional life and maybe life in general: find out what you really want, put in the work to accomplish that and, if necessary, be very patient – our world of instant gratification is a blessing in disguise. Everything worthwile usually takes more time to get than expected.
In the summer of 2014 I travelled through Portugal for a month and then, at the 30th of August 2014 – I still remember this vividly, I arrived in the capital of Murcia, a comunidad in Southeastern Spain. I arrived at a cheap hotel barely speaking Spanish and one of the most exciting, overwhelming times of my life began.
Pictures from my road trip through the South-East of Spain in 2015:
What could happen if I just kept an open mind and engaged with the people around me I learned when I told my Erasmus tutor, who I got along with very well, that I wanted to do an internship in Spain. He just said, why don’t you do it here at the Centre for European Studies? So I stayed for two more months in Murcia and moved to a flat with a room mate that was stealing our money to buy more weed. He couldn’t steal my money because I never left any at home but living with a thief in your own home, even if only temporarily, really sucks. On a lighter note: I also travelled through the countryside of Murcia with some Italians that became my blood brothers and still are to this day. Shoutout to Matteo, Giacomo and Claudio from Tuscany!
3rd phase: since 2017: starting my 2nd career in Advertising
During the first week of my freelancer career I needed some current pictures of myself for my LinkedIn profile. So I just handed my girlfriend my phone and asked her to take some pictures of me (one picture of that photoshoot you can see right here). Consider that an early example of a motto I learned to value highly: “just do it and adjust along the way” (yes, I adopted this motto from entrepreneurs Reid Hoffman, Gary Vaynerchuk et al.). To stop pondering and debating things and just starting right away with whatever I wanted to do was the first and maybe still one of the most valuable lessons since starting out as Freelancer.