Music industry executive Patrick Joest shares his experience of being a German-Argentinian Jew in different cultures
For years he had been traveling back and forth for work between Germany and the United States. Dozens of times Patrick Joest had visited Los Angeles. When his company sent him and his family on an expatriate assignment to California, Patrick quickly realized there’s a bit of a difference between being a business traveler and someone who re-establishes himself in a new environment, a twelve-hour flight and nine time zones away from where he grew up.
In his more than eleven years at BMG Music, the German music rights company owned by the Bertelsmann Group, Patrick built and led a global team from scratch. In fact, in 2009 he became the company’s first hire when they launched the department that he would lead to a business with nine-digit US-$ in revenues and 100+ staff across twelve offices around the globe. From 2015 until 2018 he worked out of the company’s Los Angeles office.
During their conversation Patrick and The Culture Guy talk about what it was like to adjust to a new “normal” against the backdrop of having grown up with different cultures in his family. Born in the Frankfurt area, his mom was of Argentinian-German-Jewish descent and the first language Patrick spoke as a kid was Spanish. A fact he didn’t cherish much once he realized the other kids on the playground didn’t want to play with him – the foreigner boy.
Adjusting without becoming a chameleon
In this episode Patrick shares his experiences of becoming a “cultural translator” in his professional world and rediscovering his spiritual roots while living in one of the centers of Jewish life in the United States. He also reflects on the re-adjustment phase he and his family went through after they returned to Berlin. Not only did it take him almost a year to feel like he belonged again in his native culture, the way he lives his Jewish faith also changed after moving from West Hollywood to Germany’s capital.
Here are some of Patrick’s tips for fitting in abroad:
- Observe more, talk less.
- Ask more questions, make less blanket statements.
- Learn the language, become familiar with its nuances.
- Give people around you opportunities to shine.
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The music on this episode is provided courtesy of Sepalot.
“Duum Diip” – Artist: Sepalot – Label: Eskapaden – Copyright control
“Rainbows – Live” – Artist: Sepalot – Label: Eskapaden – Copyright control
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