Word of the Week: Quereinsteiger

Oct 27, 2017

Did you study biology and now work as an accountant? Or perhaps you majored in dance and now work for the government? Or maybe you studied law and now work as a movie producer?

Quereinsteiger Enlarge image (© www.colourbox.com) In German, there's a word for such people: Quereinsteiger.

The word Quereinsteiger comes from quer ("sideways") and Einsteiger ("someone who boards" - often in the context of boarding a bus, train or other vehicle). Thus, Quereinsteiger would mean something like "someone who boards sideways/diagonally".

What this word actually defines is a person whose chosen profession has nothing to do with their qualifications or area of study. This person enters their profession from an unconvential path, without ever having studied the skills required for that position or having worked in a different field.

This, however, is all too common these days - especially in the United States, where someone's major in college does not often relate to their job. In Germany, qualifications are often stricter and career paths not quite as flexible. Perhaps that is why Germans invented the word Quereinsteiger for people who don't follow the traditional path of employment. 

But being a Quersteiger is not necessarily a bad thing. You may even be much better at what you do than someone who went to school for your trade.

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany

© Germany.info

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