I really need some help here. I don't really know where to turn or who to talk to and this is chewing me up. Sorry if I go on a bit I'm trying to provide details but keep it brief at the same time.

I'm 44 soon 45 and I'm still at the bottom of the ladder when it comes to career. I live in Germany (I'm an English speaker) with good German, I'm married with one child. My wife is very insecure and we don't have a good marriage. It would really rock the boat if I tried talking to her about any of this. My daughter (12) is as good as gold, a real flyer at school.

I work for a large company in the IT Dept. Networks to be precise. My networking skills are not so sharp, I'm not too shabby either but I really need to shape up. That's where I am finding things so difficult. Setting up a small home or office network is no problem for me but now things have gotten very serious and I'm facing some seriously big hardware; I'm expected to be able to configure this stuff from a book. I'm having big issues understanding what is going on, I find it very confusing at the best of times.

I also don't have much time (or money) to do training in the evenings. I have tried doing online courses, have the books and have been to classes outside but it doesn't seem to gel, doesn't stay in my head or make sense...

I'm really frustrated and leave the office every day feeling like I'm wasting my time. I fully expect my manager to sack me at any moment. I'm too old now to start looking for another job.

When I was hired for the position I was sent to the interview by an agency. The managers who hired me didn't ask me any technical questions in the interview, they made their decision within one day. The agency told me the company were not looking for a genius but someone they could mold and train. To this day (2 years in) I have not had any training from the company, nobody has ever shown me what the day to day business is. I seem to be expected to absorb the ins and outs via osmosis.

The job pays well, the company is a very German company (it's a government post) plenty of time off, paid vacation, pension etc but it's getting on my nerves. my colleagues expect me to be able to do stuff, they know I have basic skills but because I speak English they think Its easy for me (IT is in English everywhere incl. Germany)

Germans are not renowned for their friendliness so getting help isn't easy. My managers have offered me courses outside of work but I am reluctant to do a 5day course in German because I find it too difficult to understand and keep up with the rest of the class.

Please please help me here, I want to find some sort of sensible solution without just walking off the job.

I would like suggestions on getting up to speed with Networking. I know I am out of my league but can I ever get to that league?

  • 2
    Step 1: Get more proficient in German. Step 2: Take those classes offered. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Nov 21 '16 at 14:10
  • 1
    Ugh, I hate rubbing salt into your wounds, but I have to vote to close this as "unclear what you're asking" because the huge wall of text makes your post incomprehensible. – Masked Man Nov 21 '16 at 14:13
  • If they try to sack you, pretend you can't understand them. – A. I. Breveleri Nov 21 '16 at 14:13
  • that's not really going to work is it? I have lived here nearly 20 years and speak the language quite well. I just sometimes get lost in an IT course and the teacher doesn't take the time to explain the concept three times. – neville_scollop Nov 21 '16 at 14:26
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    Final close vote cast, we're not a sounding board I'm afraid. We don't know your situation of course but you should be well beyond fluent if you've lived in Germany for 20 years and it's perfectly normal that a course teacher won't repeat himself that often for one student who can't keep up, whether that's because of insufficient familiarity with the language or lacking technical skills. All signs point to you being out of your league in your current job and it's time to brush up your resume. Age discrimination should not yet be a problem for you. – Lilienthal Nov 21 '16 at 14:42

Sorry to say, but it sounds like you made your bed, so to speak. Everything you're complaining about is within your area of control to fix.

Don't speak German well enough to take courses? Learn it. Technical German is quite different from the "everyday" language.

As far as your technical skills are concerned .. again .. you're the only one to blame for it. There's a lot of tutorials out there. Some might be difficult, but something ought to stick if you keep reading and studying.

It also sounds to me like you're ... unhappy. Stressed out, at the very least. You may want to talk to a therapist and try and build your confidence up a little bit.

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